Friday, February 25, 2011

Healing Through Typing

It occurs to me that my best therapists may be unaware of the importance of their role in my life.  Since I like to think of myself as a thoughtful person, as one who lets people know when I think that they have been wonderful, this concerns me.  Allow me to rectify the situation forthwith:

I cannot recover without you, denizens.
No way.
No how.
Without a doubt, you are my best therapy.

The media frenzy left me physically drained and mentally exhausted and strangely comforted.  Sometimes shocking, sometimes comforting, always provocative.... the process of explaining myself in soundbites led me to evaluate my situation in ways I might not have considered without the questioning.

Forced to be concise I became precise.  I thought about my words before I said them.  I talked to everyone, telling the same stories over and over again.  I was never alone and I hardly slept - there were always opportunities to think out loud.  By the time I left the hospital and was able to speak to reporters I had the teflon version down pat.

It was boring.  Almost immediately it felt static, as if I were going to be there forever.  Stuck.  

I freaked out.  I hurt and I was scared and I was on tv and in the newspapers but it was the same old same old and I didn't like it at all.  Not one tiny bit. Was this really me?

At the time I hadn't noticed that my recovery would not be linear, that it would be more like climbing a long flight of stairs.  The risers are of different heights and the steps are of different widths and woods.  Sometimes the transitions are easy and I don't even have to hold up my skirt as I move on.  Sometimes it hurts enough to make me cry. But I am always moving on.  At the time, though, I didn't know that.  I thought that this was my new normal.

And then I read your comments.  You were proud of me.  You were glad I was okay.  You were encouraging as you shared your personal experiences and your words of wisdom and I reveled in the love.  I thought I was whining, but you thought I was open and honest.  Someone thought I was wise.  I couldn't imagine a higher compliment. 

I didn't ask to be the face of the tragedy.  My focus was on my body, my perforated, punctuated, slit up the middle body. I came to Nellie-the-Notebook when I could, rarely meeting my self-imposed 6am deadline and you told me that it didn't matter.  You laughed and you cried and there were a lot of you, many many many more of you than there had been before Christina and Gabby and Gabe and Ron and Mr. Stoddard and the others and I were shot.  You weren't creepy stalkers; you were genuinely concerned.

And somewhere along about the end of January I realized that I was going to heal and that you were going to help me.  I recognized that your presence was forcing me to concentrate on the process.  The more you listened, the more I thought and the deeper I went, being honest and paying attention as my fingers told a story that my heart had yet to hear.

It's a funny thing, writing a personal blog which suddenly becomes intensely introspective and intensely public all at the same time.  Without readers, it's a diary.  With readers, it's a conversation, an experience shared among equals.

It's the least expensive and most intense therapy I've gotten.

And it seems to be working the best.

So, from my heart to your eyes, I say:

Thank you, denizens. Thank you for helping me to heal.


  1. so sweet, and from the heart. It makes me feel proud, like somehow I helped just a little bit. You are getting stronger and now you know you are going to make it all the way back! I often only have a few comments so yes, you are right it's just a diary of sorts...writing for myself mostly. That's enough most of the time, free therapy and it quiets the voices in my head. Do you know about
    They want stories about good people, I bet you know a few...

  2. Commenting here to support you is about all I can do from so far away. I am glad it helps. Still sending love and strength, Little Cheese xoxo

  3. I think blog writing is very therapeutic and helps a lot of people. It's not about people whining which some others might also fear they are but about being very honest about how life is and sometimes it's lovely and sometimes it's the pits. It's nice to have a place for those feelings-- either one. The blog world can be that place. It is good to hear that it is helping you as you go through something not many people ever will and not just the wounds but the whole experience.

  4. I sincerely enjoy & look forward to reading your blog daily. After today's entry, I decided to work up the courage to tell you personally that I think you are fabulous. I love your style and authenticity. You are my kind of gal. A total champion! Those who know you personally are very lucky to have you in their lives. What a gift it is that you have decided to share your journey through this blog. Wishing you all the very best life has to offer and especially though your recovery.

    Kindest Regards,
    Mesa, AZ

  5. Blogging is great therapy. Ask any good therapist. They will tell you to write down your thoughts and experiences. It will be interesting and an eye opening experience for you a year from now as you re-read your posts. I hope you'll write and tell us a year from now how you feel when you read these post from beginning to end regarding your shooting....debbie (I'm so glad you are making such wonderful progress)

  6. Glad that you few words are a comfort to you...and are wise! Heal on girlfriend!!

  7. Some people go for therapy, others talk to trees, but Bloggers use words for self healing and the ripples radiate to help others to grow. Thank you for inviting us join in your journey.

  8. Healing with community and support is a lot more than healing, isn't it? It's healing and evolving and growing and becoming all wrapped into one.
    Don't have to love the crashes along the way, but ya gotta love the journey.

    Blessings, AB!

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  10. Healing is a long road, but, a very walkable road. I too think sharing our thoughts, hopes, fears makes moving forward possible. I have been so amazed how close I have become with the few blogging friends I have. I have never been these women and yet they mean so much to me. I think about them during the day, the same as I do the friends I see. I hope for you continued strength to get stronger everyday!

  11. I hope you know that BlogHer would have syndicated The Burrow before long anyway, even if her author hadn't been perforated and punctured; they would have had to feature a blog of this quality...and The Burrow has always been quality blogging, long before Jan. 8th.

    May you feel as tall and strong and grounded as you sound.

  12. I agree with the others that blogging is therapeutic...I have felt the same way about my own blog. As a newer reader to your blog though, I wanted to mention that following you closely since January 8th has brought much healing my way too, and I thank you for that. Tucson is my hometown. I'm one of Tucson's "Bicentennial Babies." My husband and I moved here a few years ago after I'd been gone since high school because it meets many of the criteria we were looking for in the next stage of life with our boys. But the shooting happened too close to home--literally and figuratively--my husband heard the shots as he played outside with our boys. The weeks following were a roller coaster of emotion for both of us...hearts warmed by the spirit of Tucson rising up, but also lots of questioning about whether or not we have chosen the right spot for our family to settle. Your reflections have given me much to think about. Your praise for Tucson (our breathtaking sunsets and vistas, and the good people) make me proud to call Tucson home. I love the smell of rain in the desert, it reminds me of my childhood; of starting fresh. No other city in America smells so good when it rains.

    So thank you for sharing. I bet I'm not the only one who feels as thankful as I do that you are here, doing what you're doing. Be Well!

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  14. Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this entry of yours, especially the last line,"from my heart to your eyes." It feels strange to know of you and what you have shared only through the other side of my computer screen. It feels much more like what a good friend calls,"Biscuit time over the kitchen table." So good to hear you sound like this. Carol

  15. For gosh sakes, my apologies for deleting my other posts. I cannot spell today. I'm happy you are able to find healing in blogging. Keep doing it. I love reading your blog. It comforts me. I feel a sense of love and hope. So it's helping me too. :)

  16. The highlight of what you say in this post is that you are healing. You know it. You feel it. You live it. Good for you. Keep on keeping on.

  17. Oh, denizens new and old, it is so nice to have company along the road to health. Yes, I am healing and yes,the journey is fascinating. I wouldn't have chosen this path, but I've enjoyed sharing my travels with all of you. I'm not talking to myself; I'm talking to my friends. Yes, I've not set eyes on most of you but.... well, you know.....

    Thanks... thanks.... thanks....

  18. My friend, you are helping us too -- helping us to understand, to cope, and to wrap ourselves inside you so that we can heal as you do. You are our therapy too, even as you proclaim that we are your therapists. 'Cept we're thinking about going into business and charging. After all, we now have your recommendation.

  19. The antennae always go up when I read of fellow Cornellians, in the news. Of course, yours and Gabby's news is not the kind of notoriety one would want. Yet, it is through LINK, the Cornell College of Human Ecology newsletter, that I found your blog.

    I have now now eaten up an entire morning, reading your posts. They present a heartfelt and lucid presentation of the human condition and spirit.

    They say everything happens for a reason, but I agree, there can be no good reason why Christina is no longer with us. Yet, through your cogent musings, perhaps new vistas will be made available for Juan.

    It is good to know that your readers' support is helping you to heal. At the same time, perhaps the wider audience that your writing has found will help to heal and improve the world around you.


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