This weekend and upcoming week I’m designating time out of my day to do research for my literature review. As I quickly learned in Research and Methodologies, this is no easy feat. The literature review is the nucleus of our thesis project. I have a lot of work ahead of me but I’m looking forward to it. I actually enjoyed the literature review process last spring, it started out as a complete headache but ended up with me finding some amazing resources, that helped solidify my research and findings. My first step is to take Craig’s advice (how cool is he?) and play around with the Kean Library resources online. After that I plan to read some memoirs to help familiarize myself with the genre. I got a jumpstart in creative non fiction this past spring, which focused on the genre of memoir. Heartberries is one of my all time favorite memoirs. I love, love, love Terese Mailhot! Her writing speaks and breaths life into my soul! I hope and pray I can write as beautifully and as eloquently as she does one day. Her memoir was a scorcher, which dealt with so many important themes from: race, sexism, social injustice, substance abuse, violence and most of all the effects of mental illness. I could relate to this touching story of her life in so many ways. I also love that the ending is triumphant, as it is in my thesis project. She inspires me and I will read her book again, just for fun, and also find other works related to OCD in particular and see what I can learn and use as a resource from there. I’ve done extensive research on OCD as a disorder, especially when I was first diagnosed and in the throws of it. But I mostly focused on the medical, more clinical side, which is not what I want my thesis to focus on. So my next steps is to find more memoir based stories about people suffering from OCD. I’m excited and oh so ready to explore! Bring it on!
Lastly, I’ll say I’m planning on doing a lot of reflective writing to help generate more ideas and to re surge old memories of mine. My memoir is based largely on my memories. Some darker then others, all very important to my overall true story. The hardest part of this non fiction thesis journey for me, is to re live many experiences in my past that I wish to forget. But if I’ve learned anything throughout this long journey through my mental illness, is that burying the problems, the fears and the uncomfortable times, will only exacerbate my symptoms. I’ve learned through many years of blood, sweat and tears that embracing and surrendering (next tattoo in script) to the pain and anxiety is the only way to overcome it. So for me reflective writing proves to be both cathartic and informative for my thesis development. I enjoy this process because I’m a very introspective type of person. Always in my head, and in my feelings, as the kids say these days. So it feels natural for me to sit down in a quiet space, getting lost in my, imagination, in my writing and reflecting on what is and what is still to come. The actual process of adding more chapters to my thesis doesn’t intimidate me. This project is such a passion of mine, that the words just flow from my mind, to my heart, through my soul and onto the paper. I can’t even put into words, although I probably should, as to what it has been like to write the fifty plus pages I have so far, it’s been magical. Each section, which will soon be turned into small chapters, with one or two word titles, has been easy thus far. At first I questioned myself, why is it so easy? should it be? Then I soon realized the reason it felt so natural to tell my story, is because it is my story to tell. Xo