Monday, February 11, 2013

Memoir and Accepting The Past

The great courageous act that we must all do, is to have the courage to step out of our history and past so that we can live our dreams.  ~ Oprah Winfrey

Our About the Authors series continues with Diane Yannick who recalls the pain she felt for years after finding out her husband had cheated with her best friend.

There are certain scenes from my life that haunt me in the late hours of the night and try their best to define me. These stories work incredibly hard to hold onto their "real estate" in my brain. They refuse to allow me to release them and move forward with acceptance and forgiveness. They hold on decade after decade. They make me feel fragile and a little bit broken.
One of these life stories is the way my divorce played out. I had no idea that my husband was cheating on me with my best friend. The hints dropped by him and my teaching colleagues didn’t work. I had to be directly told what was going on before I understood; this revelation came, no less, at my 28th birthday party over a lopsided birthday cake and Thunderbird wine. Only then after being confronted by friends and colleagues with the truth could I put the pieces together that had long been staring me in the face.
My humiliation and anger battled in an attempt to destroy me. How could he? I asked this over and over until I had pushed myself into a place of self-pitying despair. Only my young daughter had the power to help me move forward with the tiny bit of grace that I could muster.
So I wrote "Last To Know" for our anthology Slants of Light.  Finally, I could begin to accept my past and learn to embrace the present and future. It took me almost forty years to get to this point but get there I did.
The publication of my story allows me to take back my power. It allows me to stand tall and say, “Here’s a story. It happened just like this. But it doesn’t define who I’ve become.”
For me,  writing this has not been a solitary venture. I have had the support of a group of wonderful women writers in a circle of sharing. Together we mine our lives to discover what makes each of us unique. We laugh and cry. Most of all we hold hands and find our courage. One little story at a time. Believe me, there’s more to come.
Diane is a graduate of the University of Delaware and received her master’s degree in reading education from Salisbury State University in Salisbury, MD. A former language arts teacher and elementary reading specialist for the West Chester Area School District in West Chester, PA, Diane is retired and lives in Chester County with her husband John, their rescued Yorkiepoo, and two cats. She enjoys spending time with her three young grandchildren, working out at the ‘Y’ and writing memoir.


Jan Backes said...

Dear Diane,

You give us all such strength and hope. To me you are a sort of mentor not to mention my best writer bud. The detailed description that you include in your work is unmatched. I look forward to when you are feeling much better and can return to the Circle. We miss you very much.

ep said...

Dear Diane,
Your presence and contributions to our Circle always - always - add to the encouragement and support to move forward and find the best word or phrase to tell our stories. Wanting you to get better - like now!

Susan G. Weidener said...

Diane, I posted the photo of you at the bottom of your guest post, remembering our weekend memoir retreat at Pendle Hill and how you found the strength in that idyllic Quaker setting to write down a defining life moment and then read it aloud. Although it has unbelievably been two years since that retreat - you continue as always writing about the inner life, your feelings and experiences with courage, all the while supporting others to do the same. Be well and hope to see you at Saturday's Circle! Best, Susan

Unknown said...

Diane - Your courageous example of "saying it how it is" truly is inspiring! It is such a powerful reminder about how speaking the truth sets us free, that telling your story allows events to assume their rightful place in a larger story which is still being lived and written! So looking forward to hearing more of your travels! With admiration, Ginger

Unknown said...

Diane - I'm so glad you found your voice and the courage to write, because your way of telling a story is unique and precious. It will touch many lives. Please get better soon!

Carol Bodensteiner said...

Diane - Congratulations on finding the courage to tell your story. And how blessed you are to find a supportive writing community to help you write it through and talk it through. - Carol

kathleen pooler said...

Diane, I admire your courage in sharing your heart wrenching story. I am happy you found the support and validation you needed to heal and share your experience with others. Brava and Blessings to you,

Candice said...

Your "hold nothing back" mode of storytelling is inspirational and encourages us to dig in and uncover our pain. The Women's Writing Circle wouldn't be the same without you. Get better so you can again link hands in our paper chained circle of unconditional friendship.