Let me see… I really am trying to think back and hard about my lived experiences, whether as a child or as an adult and can’t remember penning anything that was reflective. I have never! I always told stories without reflecting, at least not consciously. LOL!
I always thought that I had my lived experience’s answers at my fingertips. My thoughts, my opinions, my lessons, I thought all of that was at my fingertips. This Saturday taught me otherwise… I realized just how much I had to pause and think about it before writing. Or maybe I can tell my story in an interview style setup but just never knew that I could write my experience as an interpretation of what is going on between my learning and thinking.
Although this Module is short, I had so much to learn. Before Saturday’s workshop, the only reflection that I really could describe was the mirror reflection. You know, that obvious “What you see is what is looking right back at you”? I think that , if ever there were moments where I would reflect on my experience, those moments would most probably been triggered by heightened emotions , more than just telling my story from a deep but calm place.
Trying to unpack the term reflection, I learnt that it is a mental process, a contemplation or a long consideration of some sort. The thoughts and opinions that come to you while you are reflecting on your experience are called reflections.
It is like rewinding your life to a past event and then thinking about how it has affected your life, what you could have done differently to change the outcome, or what came out of the experience or event.
You ask what my point is or where I am going with this and I will tell you that as new as “Reflective Writing” is to me, I am finding it fascinating. It has opened my eyes into realizing that anyone can be a writer. All of us… We just need to find the writer in one of our voices.
The writing exercises that we did during the workshop where we had to test ourselves on four different writing styles, really helped in trying to find my voice. When I did the automatic writing, I wrote really slowly, almost like my thoughts were suddenly on hold and though I was meant to be free-styling, I had long pauses between sentences and managed to write one lousy paragraph. Imagine!
After that first exercise I thought to myself that maybe writing is not for me and I got nervous thinking about future writing exercises that I might be expected to do. What future exercise? *Rolling my Eyes* Immediately after that exercise, we had to write to our best friend. Well, I suddenly relaxed as I wrote to him, I found myself smiling through it. Guess what… Yeah, I was confused. How could I have hated the first writing exercise and less than 10 minutes later feel comfortable? I mean, I was still doing the same thing, right? I was writing. The exercise went on and I wrote to myself and to my lecturer.
The problem with being left brain dominant is that we want sequence, details, order and clearly expressed communication and free-styling showed me flames on Saturday. I am still traumatized.
Writing to myself was more like punishment and writing to lecturer was a bit slower, but unlike free-styling, I was forced to think deep about my experience, the words I chose, logic and structure of my essay. I enjoyed it too. So, my voice is lying somewhere between my best friend and my lecturer. I just need to find the balance.
Then there was Group four who facilitated on storytelling. The facilitation was light and fun and showed that telling stories does not have a fixed way of being delivered.
My highlight for the day was discovering that I actually can write and that I had a unique voice in which I tell my story. The activities that were introduced by group four showing that we all can achieve beyond our expectations if we put our minds to it. I really loved the picture frame exercise which really told a story about our personalities, it was really fascinating and interesting how or why they came up with that activity. All I can say is that I was never ready for the revelations.
In the next few days, I plan writing to a stranger, a matric student preparing for university and my colleagues to try and see if I will feel comfortable or not. I am just going to practice, practice, practice!
So far, we have facilitated change to honour difference in telling our stories and I am looking forward to learning from life.
It’s time to write my reflective essay, see you on the flip side!