Therapeutic Writing #1
So the other day, my wife and I had a meeting with our Pastor, J.D. King. It was a casual conversation about our life and future plans but what stuck out was my opportunity to finally tell him about my current work-in-progress book, Barely a Princess. And it wasn’t until now when I was writing in my book that I remembered our conversation and a point he brought up came to mind. I was getting through my protagonist’s struggle when J.D. interrupted with, “Sounds to me like this character’s struggle is very personal for you?” At the time it, I didn’t think much of it until now.
For those who don’t know, the protagonist of my book is Princess Anika and she has a deep secret that even she was prevented from learning. The only people who know this secret is her Mother, ladies in waiting, and handmaidens. Once she learned of the secret, she wanted to be angry at her mother for lying to her for so long but her mother’s sudden response of burying the secret and the associated emotional trauma deeper only brought Anika into a hole of depression and despair. I struggled with the direction I was writing her mother, as she was becoming more and more like the villain of the story, which was far from my intention for her character. And that’s when I realized something.
I was seriously struggling to make the mother the villain because how many similarities I created (intentionally and accidentally) between my own mother and Anika’s mother, most particularly the similarities I remember of my mother growing up. Even to this day, she repeats lines like “Women are gentle” and “Women are to be cherished and protected.” And sadly, those words have essentially given me some severe mommy issues. I can’t bring myself to make any mother a villain if my brain wholeheartedly believes women can’t-do wrong and those women can’t be villains. And to make matters worse, I also feel that if my mother was to learn I based my villainous mother on her, she would be disappointed in me.
But I have realized something else, for my own sanity, I need to just write Anika’s mother as the villain and put aside my worries doing so. It’s important I get over my fear of my mother’s opinions of my decision. If I don’t get over it now, then when will I? I have another book on the back burner and I’ve realized my character in that book will also have similar mother issues.