I was cleaning my studio a few days ago, tearing flagged pages from old notebooks, and found this note I’d written about Mara Wilson’s memoir, Where Am I Now?
“Wilson discovered she had OCD after reading the memoir, Kissing Doorknobs, by Terry Spencer. Spencer’s frank discussion of her OCD aligned with Wilson’s experience, which not only made her feel less alone, it led to her recovery.
When Mara gave Spencer’s book to her father so he would understand, he helped her find the treatment she needed.”
In case you don’t recognize the name, Mara Wilson was the adorable, preternaturally talented child who played the lead role in the film adaptation of the novel, Mathilde, written by the weird and wonderful, Roald Dahl.
She also played Nathalie Hillard, the daughter in Mrs. Doubtfire, and writes about her relationship with Robin Wilson in the memoir as well.
One of the aspects of Wilson’s book that I admired was the way she presented OCD as one aspect of her much larger life.
That said, I want to focus on this one point, and not only because I have a particular interest in OCD (I happen to be writing a book about it).
Wilson’s experience of discovering her disorder in someone else’s story makes the case for telling your own.
How many others might recognize themselves and see a way out of their darkness?
I’m not saying you have to publish a book about your darkness, by the way, especially if you are still digesting it.
But consider that in standing up and speaking your truth, you might reach someone who needs your story to survive.
You know for a fact that book can save a life.
I’m sure you can think of a few books that have saved yours.
According to my daughter, who has befriended Wilson through the OCD community, when she was getting ready to publish the memoir, she thought about eliminating the chapter on her mental illness, but her publisher encouraged her to keep it in.
It could help a lot of people, her editor told her. Just the way Kissing Doorknobs had helped Wilson. And so she let it go to print.
There is a lot stigma and shame around OCD and other mental illnesses. Rather than burying it, Wilson brought it into the light in order to serve (as has my girl, more on that in another post.)
What about your story might serve someone else?
What hard experiences are you ready to bring into the light?
PS: I am getting ready to launch a ten-month program for a small group of writers ready to get serious about bringing their work into the world. Let me know through my contact page if you want to be on the early notification list.