You’re not alone if you’ve ever felt you’re a square peg in a round hole or a round pomegranate on an apple tree and you didn’t fall far from that tree.
In “The Wisdom of Gifts” the first memoir I wrote, my journey begins with feeling out of place like I have no value or gifts to share on Christmas with the family I’ve acquired here in Australia through my Anglo-Saxon Australian partner.
The book begins right before Christmas Day in 2017 when my view of myself is negative to the extent that I don’t express much of who I am. I feel misunderstood and unable to communicate with the people I share meals with. Furthermore, I attract Christmas presents from others that make no sense to me. Do these people even know me? I wonder. I’d been with them around the same table for six years and yet no one seems to realise that there’s this serious and intense desire within me to develop into a writer and an author.
After speaking with people who report a sense of being out of place with their families, I know I’m not alone in my feelings of alienation. I also know that it’s not about my cultural and religious identity, which is Turkish and Muslim, in a predominantly Anglo-Saxon, Christian society. It goes deeper than that, back to my roots. My female ancestors had unlived lives, unrealised dreams which resulted in displaced and deeply damaging resentments and frustrations. In short, I inherited family trauma.
“You’re dreaming! Why can’t you be realistic? You’re past 40, isn’t it time to grow up?” my mother says out of concern when I tell her that I’m writing a memoir. Writing feels so good and natural like it’s what I was meant to do with my life all along.
Later that day, I lash out at my daughters who want my attention. My ego tells me they’re keeping me from realising the life I’d always dreamt about, that of a writer. How dare they want to play with me when I need to sit down and get all my ideas out of my head when the inspiration is hot?
It’s taken me a few years to find the link between my own discontent and my mother’s lack of empathy for my desire to advance my writing skills.
“No, you’re not valued enough for us to invest in your education and future.” was the message my mother had grown up with. It comes as no surprise that she isn’t capable of supporting any woman, not even her daughter, who wants recognition for her talents.
I started writing “The Wisdom of Gifts” after returning from a family trip to Istanbul, Turkey. There, I observed our family dynamics, both on my mother’s and father’s side and I decided then that I would go full steam ahead with my desire to heal through expressing myself in writing.
Just as a fruit, let’s say a pomegranate, keeps its seeds safe and confined under its layers of skin, many Turkish families, which have lived through so much unrest, war, and poverty, want their family members to stay forever within the bounds of their limiting thoughts where it is safe.
Seeds, of course, must get out onto the world, germinate and grow to bear fruit.
Even when one leaves the homeland, one can’t easily extricate themselves from the restrictions of their conditioning within the Turkish system. Some people remain fruitless and forever suspended in immaturity.
There comes a breaking point, at least it came for me, where I started pointing out the hypocrisy I saw around me in my family and did not always T.H.I.N.K (making sure what I had to say was 1. Thoughtful 2. Helpful 3. Inspiring 4. Necessary 5. Kind) before I expressed myself. I stood out for all the wrong reasons. Their anger replaced my family’s emotional neglect. Not a good outcome.
I had no choice but to separate myself from the mess I was a part of and one that I was trying to heal from. I put distance between myself and Mum too as I could recognise that interactions with her were shoving me into a black hole of depression and worthlessness.
When one consciously clears space and puts distance between themselves and dysfunction, it allows for better things to enter. This is true of whether you throw away old items that take up space and collect dust in your garage or put some distance between yourself and family members and friends who dump their personal drama on you.
I made the decision to become the mother I wanted for myself. I prioritised training and mentors over getting guilt-tripped and strong-armed to go against my best judgment. Things started flowing in my life. There was more writing, a nearly completed manuscript and joy! I found that I enjoyed being with my partner and my daughters. Far from limiting me, they inspired me in many ways.
When I reconnected with my childhood dream of becoming a writer I found other like-minded people who valued self-expression and could see my gift.
If you’re a writer, deliver articles, manuscripts, books, and scripts. The drama should be on the page, not in your life, wasting your precious time. I decided to take my own advice and am now nearly finished with the final copy of “The Wisdom of Gifts” which is available for pre-ordering.
My intention going forward is to deliver my creative joy to those around me. The healing starts with me.
If you’re curious about my journey, pre-order “The Wisdom of Gifts”. It’s available for $33.30AUD.
If you’re in Australia, you can make the payment to my bank account below:
Name: Eda Utku
For those outside of Australia, my PayPal account is firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you, my gifted friend.
Over to you…
What are some of your childhood dreams you’ve been told are too silly or impossible to accomplish? What steps are you taking towards them?
The Artwork titled “Royal Gifts” was created by a talented writer and artist, Anne Tavares. She is currently working on a futuristic novel about a heroine who breaks out of a dystopian society.