A Shift in Thought and a New Chapter to Share

I received a lot of great feedback and it is helping me very much to get some clarity. One friend who is not on this list but offered to take a look at the three chapters gave some advice that has been mentioned in the comments as well. This is that my transitions are too choppy, I write more as a journal rather than tell a story. She also did not think the title told enough of what the book is about to make her want to read it. I know that was mentioned a time or two in the comments.

She gave me five questions to ask myself before proceeding. I actually thought I had those questions covered but rethinking it I didn’t. So I percolated those questions over night and in the morning came up with a new sense of where I was going, who are the people I am writing to and what the purpose of the book is about.

This book is about my journey of self-discovery which I think is what most memoirs basically boil down to. One thing that has come out of my writing the last two chapters (four and five) was of my really poor coping skills. For most of my life I tended to cope with people and situations by being nice – even when being nice meant that I endangered myself. I did not know how or have the confidence in myself to say no or even to simply say what I was actually thinking and feeling.

One statement that got me into Guest House in the first place was a comment by one of the sisters that I had an anger problem. I did not think I did. I thought I was nice. The problem is one can only be nice so long before one explodes and is not so nice. When I was in drug rehab during the Navy one of the counselors told me that I had a volcano personality. I hold things in and hold things in and then explode. Apparently that did not get fixed in the first round of addiction counseling. It got better in the second round at Guest House but it is still something I know I still deal with.

So I want to change the book’s title. I won’t be surprised if a lot of you don’t like it – but this title punches me in tvolcano-test-bookcover1he middle of my stomach with its truth. It gives me direction as to the level of honesty I want to get with myself. And most of all I think it might actually help other religious sisters and other people who suffer from this same stuff. In many ways its common to a lot of women. We are taught if we can’t say something nice don’t say it. And the not saying it is sometimes a very bad thing! We don’t deal with things when they should be dealt with.

So here is my new title – and yes, it may change again and again before the book actually gets printed but here it is for today.

Title: Sister Patricia has an Anger Problem

Subtitle: A Catholic Journey of Recovery

A mock up of a cover – this is just an image I found that was too small to actually work with but it gives an idea.

Let me know what you think. I am benefiting so much from everyone’s insights and comments. I totally need the “You Go, Girl!” a lot but I also need the “this would make it better” stuff as well.

For those of you who would like I am sharing Chapter Four here.  4 Chapter Four I think it goes with my new direction even though I didn’t have that thought when writing it.

My friend suggested I start the book over with my new slant and focus and so after a day of much turmoil I bit the bullet and am doing that. Just know if you read these chapters and the previous ones the actual book will probably be quite different. Also I will not be leaving these chapters online forever – at this point I just need all the help and feedback I can get!

Thank you so much for staying on this journey with me. Please continue to share your comments and feedback.


26 thoughts on “A Shift in Thought and a New Chapter to Share”

  1. I don’t like the new title. You re not a Sister anymore. so it is kind of false advertising. It would have to deal with only that time period when you were a sister. It sounds more like a story than a Biography.
    I didn’t like the other title either so, I guess I’m not much help. Sorry

    1. Hi Linda – Good feedback. I don’t think the title is misleading – it was from a comment that was actually said that led to my deeper journey of self discovery. But maybe it does lead one to think I am still a sister – so that is not a good thing. Will think about it some more.

      I definitely don’t think it sounds like a story – but even if that is true – the sub title does expand that it is a journey. Perhaps a better title would be “Why I Left the Monastery” or something like that?

      Anyway this is why I threw the title out – to see if it would sink or swim! 🙂

  2. Wow I like the title and the Volcano. I hate hurting someones feelings so I didn’t comment this way. But since your friend was honest and that is a good thing. She is right it was somewhat jumpy.It’s just too hard for me to be critical. But now I will look forward to seeing what is new you wrote. In the end it will all be great. Keep on writing and just let the pen flow with your new perspective. Siochan Agus Maitheas Kathy OFS

    1. Kathy – Yes – jumpy – jumpy. And for a bit it was enough to stop me from proceeding – like gosh, can I write anything but jumpy?

      This morning I am determined to keep going. I put the quote that helped me to do the first rosary book. “If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing poorly.”

      Meaning that better a poor job than none at all. So I’m pushing forward poorly as it may be. What’s worse is to wait until something is perfect and never do it at all. A poor job can always be improved upon a no job but not attempting is a big zero.

      I love the scripture in the Old Testament in which God tells someone (forgot who) “Go with the strength provided by God.” You just do what you can do with what you have. Go for it!

    1. True. I was just playing around and grabbed the first picture I had. Don’t think anyone took a picture of me when I was upset and angry though! Probably would have killed them if they did. 🙂

      I did find a picture of a nun shooting a gun at someone – that might have worked. Anyway its all process – who knows where this will all end. Just hope it does have an ending, meaning that I don’t throw in the towel and walk away. That is always tempting.

      I just keep telling myself. Don’t quit. No matter what, just don’t quit.

  3. I don’t like the new title. I like your new insights…about your belief you have poor coping skills and that being nice was one of your chief ones which masked the ‘volcano’ beneath. But I think the title cold be different. Sister Patricia as others have pointed out, is no longer a ‘sister’. Also…it seems negative saying you have an anger problem. How about saying you’re on a journey to learn how to cope with anger? just an idea. This seems to be turning out to be a deep even transformation experience for you! Keep on! xxxx

    1. I know! It is turning out to be a deeper transformation – and this is great to get feedback before anything gets put into stone. I am so grateful to hear the different opinions.

      Sometimes one just has to throw out something and then I get new insights that lead to something better. Of course some people may think I am just wishy-washy and there is probably an element of that in there as well.

      So right now it seems to be finding that happy medium that shares the story of my 28 year journey in a monastery but still be true to who I am today – out of it. Hmmm? Any ideas?

  4. Patricia, you are a very courageous lady to put your life journey out there for everyone to pick it to pieces. Please don’t throw in the towel. It’s your life as you lived it. No one can walk in your shoes. I look forward to reading about your life in the Monastery. That has been the longest part of your life and I know the Holy Spirit will guide you as will your Guardian Angel. Even though you’re not a Nun anymore it was good to see your smiling picture of you in your Holy Habit on the book. If there is room add the other pretty picture of you that was on the other book cover.

    No other suggestions from me. You inspire me with everything you write. Hugs to you, Pudge and Buddy!

    Love you and God Bless!

  5. HI,

    I don’t care for the title.

    Wow, so much to take in, so interesting. You have been on a major journey your whole life !

    OMG, so much stuff.

    The book is captivating. Amazing !

    Still think a collage of pictures , from childhood, Navy, convent to now is a good idea for the book cover, it shows the different career paths and your complex journey.

    Maybe something like , “My Journey With Anger” for the book title and all the pictures on the cover of you at different stages in your life.

    Wow ! This book will help so many people.

  6. Patricia, I just read Chapter 4 and cried right along with you. It’s not hard to see why God called you into His Monastery. Granted, you’re not there anymore, but my guess is it was exactly what you needed at that time of your life journey.

    My heart aches for you and with you. I pray for you, Pudge and Buddy everyday.

    God Bless and hugs to you, Pudge and Buddy!

  7. Chapter 4 is perfect!!!! It’s like a whole new book. I love it! I loved the ‘running’. Truly God inspired! Love! Love! Love! (yes there’s sp/word mixups: ‘one’ where you meant ‘won’ etc.) Those you will catch or anyone can edit, but NOW you’re really being honest. Now I can see direction towards a goal of a true introspection of how did I travel that brought me here. And now I feel I can be a little bit more brutally honest about the 1st 3 chapters. I wasn’t thrilled. Sorry. They were nice and bad memories of things that happened in your childhood; interesting yes, but there was no connecting thread between them, no hint of where is this leading. I also felt you were not being honest with even yourself about the rage, fear and helplessness you must’ve felt during your father’s ‘outbursts’ to put it nicely. I have known children that are abused and they love their parents. As Christian adults, we also are taught to forgive and also to be charitable. I can understand how you would love them and not want people to dislike them. But at the same time I feel that the real suppressed rage that explodes has at least some of its biggest roots in that. Perhaps so many of us felt those chapters ‘rushed’ because you were still running from facing something very painful? Of course these are just conjectures on my part. Just 5 weeks ago I had to give a talk at a retreat on forgiveness and I know how painful and repulsive it is to dredge up all those ‘nasties’ from our past and lay them bare before strangers. It’s worse than being asked to stand naked for inspection and criticism in the midst of a group of strangers. It took me about 5 rewrites for a half hour talk. So please don’t be disheartened, especially now that you’ve really got the spark. Now it really is reading like an inspired work (Holy Spirit inspired dare I say). I will tell you one last thing and here I may just be projecting unto you: I recognize that I have OC behavior and addictive personality, so when you were still at the monastery working on the book of the power of prayer AND in charge of the St. Anthony card website, AND your JoyNotes, AND blog in the newspaper AND had taken on the radio station I did think you were ‘running’ to get away from ? and I recognized that I do the same, or did at that time, fill my days and nights with so much activity so as not to really think. I wonder if you’ve ever read the “Hound of Heaven”? http://oblatesosbbelmont.org/the-hound-of-heaven/ Much Love and May the Holy Spirit continue to inspire you. Tonie Tellander

  8. Patricia,

    It seems everything is coming to a better solution and other people have different suggestions
    which is very helpful.
    Love and Prayer’s,

  9. Chapter 4 reads like a new book. Such an explosion of feelings. Now you’ll have to redo the first three chapters!!! As a reader, I can hear more of your “voice” now. As a previous comment noted, I also felt that you were trying to sugar coat some of your early experiences. You’ll need to take a trip back to those early days and visit the young Patricia in order to tell her experiences with your heart. That is why I previously mentioned (and suggest again) books by Jeannette Walls…”The Glass Castle” “Half Broke Horses” or “The Silver Star”. Good books, not lengthy, and with plenty of ” voice”. I am also not wild about the new title – although it is better than the original. The “anger” title sounds like a funny story – although it does grab one’s attention. I would leave the title until after the book is done. A short phrase may come to you as a recurring theme. Best of luck.

  10. Oh, Patricia!
    I can tell that this one is spot on!
    Immediately catches my mind….you are doing sooooo very well with this book! It is an intimate project!
    We are with you and love you and love that you care to share with us!

  11. The smile AND the volcano …exactly the point. I don’t know if they make the perfect cover, but they describe the situation! Keep writing….It’s as though you are being Inspired!

  12. I couldn’t get past the title. It reads to me like you are still in the monastery. I don’t think the story ends at the monastery but where you are now.

  13. You are a REAL PERSON not just a kid growing up in what some would think a dysfunctional family not just a woman in the Navy not just a Nun not just a lay person trying to find the way. You are every man so to speak. We are all the same with different twists and turns in our life but we have to be true to our selves and find our own way and I think that may be the gist of your book. I don’t like the new title or the picture. I like the original “If I’m Not Me Who Will Be?” Nobody will be YOU if you are NOT! You and all of us are unique creatures of God. I like the different pictures on the cover but I do think you should use one while you were still in the convent. Maybe the year at the bottom of the pictures. We are all a work in progress as is your book. Keep plugging at it Patricia. You are doing good. Take care and God bless.

  14. Just got done reading your 4th chapter. WOW! I knew you were in the Navy but didn’t know what rate. I worked in supply for 34 years as a civilian with the Navy in Phila., PA, San Diego CA, and in New Orleans, LA. I also didn’t know all you had been through. I have something else I would like to mention and maybe have you thin about but I would rather do it in a PM. I feel a little uncomfortable mentioning
    it here.

  15. Just read Chapter 4. Reading it, I can see a little more consistency. Very interesting, can wait to read the rest. A quote from Joseph Conrad: One writes only half the book; the other half is with the reader.

  16. Hi Patricia, I’m a little slow, but I just got done reading the third chapter of your book…I don’t know about all the things others have said about your writing, but I found it very interesting and I loved reading it….it was such an “adventure”….I really enjoyed reading it…sad that it came to an end…it would make a good movie…Would love to read the rest you will write….:-)

  17. Hi Patricia, I just got done reading chapter 4…you said you “got out of the Navy Aug. 2008 at the age of 22″…that would make you 28 years old today….about the age of my daughter….I’m thinking you are much older than that..just saying…I really enjoyed reading this chapter also…it really speaks of the grace of God in your journey to where you are right now…can’t wait to read more!! Thanks for sharing….

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