Marco Orlando

It’s been said that our lives are 20% what happens to us and 80% how we respond to what happens to us. To an extent, I would be inclined to agree. Life comes at us pretty fast sometimes, and for some of us, it takes us a little longer to process how we feel about past events, especially traumatic ones that we don’t really enjoy talking about much. I know I don’t always think so clearly when I’m angry or upset. It’s usually more helpful for me to talk things out with someone and “think out loud” when I need help processing something in my head. I find I get a lot more accomplished that way.

When I first thought about writing the story of my life a few years ago, I had an idea in my head of where I thought I wanted to go with it. I initially wanted my mother and I to work together to write my life story, and I wanted it written in such a way that we were inviting readers into a conversation she and I would normally have together. But this was before life started throwing us a few curveballs, and because of this, the trajectory of my life story went in a much different direction altogether.

I went through a bit of a rough patch in 2015 and 2016 for numerous reasons. Those closest to me could tell I had been through a lot during that time and it showed. Mentally, I was broken down, beaten, battered, and fried. I hardly recognized myself for a while. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really taking good care of myself. I wasn’t eating well or sleeping well. I felt like I had to be up and around doing something all the time, even in the middle of the night. I was often hesitant to go to bed at night because I was afraid I might not wake up the next morning. Yet at the same time, I had no real passion for anything I was doing, like I was on “autopilot,” just going through the motions day to day.

Thankfully, I discovered around that time that writing my life story had become important to me again, and I began 2017 jotting down anything and everything that came to mind. It was important for me to put my thoughts and feelings into words and not feel guilty about what I was thinking and feeling as I was writing. I went through periods of writing things down, putting my work away, then revisiting it and adding more to my story. This went on for about two years. In that time, I had about 95 pages written, totaling nearly 63,000 words. The thought of publishing my work definitely crossed my mind. At the same time, I felt like there was still more to add that I hadn’t written about yet.

After I was approached to contribute to the blog section of SUFU’s official website, I began to realize that most of what I had written took on a decidedly darker tone to reflect how I was feeling as I was writing in the beginning. That’s when I knew I needed to “rewrite the script” so I could appeal to my intended audience better. Raw emotion has its place, to be sure, and it was good for me to put my thoughts and feelings into words when I first started writing. But I’ve been in a much better frame of mind since then, and the tone of my writing needed to change to correspond with that. It wouldn’t be much fun if I complained all the time about all the unpleasant things that had happened to me. It’s more beneficial to my intended audience for me to talk about what I’ve learned about myself from experiencing those unpleasant things.



If you are self advocate and would like to share a blog post with us please email Laurie Coldwell at lcoldwell@sufumaine.org   


The Speaking Up For Us (SUFU) blog contains views and opinions of each individual writer. The views and opinions expressed through these channels are purely the bloggers’ own and does not reflect the opinion of SUFU as an organization or any SUFU staff member.

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