Poetry, Prose and Journaling Can Soothe the Soul
writer Charde Vera Healed Herself through Writing, Now Aims to Help Others Do the Same
Mental health is defined as a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.
I, along with many other people, have been affected by the weight of dealing with the negative effects of poor mental health. As a writer, I decided to speak about mental health, emotional traumas and how I have continuously been working through it and overcoming it.
In my new book, “Radical Woman: 1 in a Million,” which I co-authored with 10 other authors, we speak of our transformation stories and overcoming depression and finding success.
Photo provided. Local author Charde Vera provided a chapter for this compilation.
When I began my writing journey, children’s books were the only books I was focusing on at the time. When I was presented the opportunity to be a part of Radical Woman, as much as I wanted to do it and be part of this amazing journey, fear was crippling me and trying to hold me back. The thought of being completely vulnerable and sharing parts of my life, my trauma, and struggles that not many people knew about felt very
uncomfortable and strange. There were many things that concerned me. How much of my life do I share? How much do I say about people involved in my journey? Where do I even begin?
Being part of this book meant putting parts of myself out there that are now open to being criticized and judged. On the other hand, it meant sharing my story for other people who can relate and might have felt alone or may have been afraid to share their own personal story but wanted to. I believed this would open the door for many people to talk about things that most of us shy away from. To see what other people have experienced and have overcome or are still overcoming makes it real and shows us that it is possible to prevail over certain circumstances and take back control of our lives.
My chapter in “Radical Woman” is called “From Instability to Stability,” where I speak about going from an unstable girl to a stable woman. I speak about bad decisions I’ve made in life due to the lack of knowledge and the state of my mental health. I speak about my time in the military and many relationships I have been in – romantic, casual, family and friends.
This book explores the pain and suffering, but also the triumph, of the women who were brave enough to tell their stories. It took a lot of bravery for me to write my children’s book because I knew how I wanted the children to feel while reading it and what I wanted them to get out of it. However, writing Radical Woman took me to a whole new level of vulnerability and faith. I grew as a writer and jumped many hurdles I never thought I could. I came face-to-face with myself and my overall well-being, and was finally able to see myself completely. It felt scary, but it was an amazing experience.
I hope that whoever reads these stories can see the hearts of the writers and understand that transformation is possible for everyone stepping out of fear, past hurts, trauma, self-doubt, and into freedom and peace.
I have been learning that what you say about yourself has a powerful impact on your mental health, which is why I also have created a guided Journal called “I AM,” which can be a companion to my children’s book, “She Is,” or a stand-alone journal.
Photo provided. Author Charde Vera, center, wrote "She Is" and the companion journal, "I Am" to help readers build self love and confidence.
“I AM” is a place to write down the things that you feel about yourself or want to feel. It is a simple enough journal for beginners that might find journaling intimidating or have never journaled. However, it is powerful enough to help people as a reminder of who they truly are and what they feel about themselves.
It starts with an affirmation (for example, “I am Unique because … ”) and leaves space for the writer to explain and pour out why they believe they are what the affirmation is for that page. My goal is, that whenever they forget or need a reminder, they can always go back to the journal and read what they themselves wrote and keep on reading until they believe.
The journal is small enough to take anywhere with you but has enough space to write out everything in your heart. There are twelve written affirmations for the writer to begin with, and after there are blank spaces that say “I AM (blank) because … ”, which provides a place for the writer to put whichever affirmation they want, with space under it to write out what they feel. My favorite part of the journal is in the beginning where I dedicate a few pages to writing a love letter to yourself.
I have been journaling for over 20 years and still have all my journals to date. In each stage of my life, every few years or so, I write myself a love letter. I use them to see how I felt about myself at the time and how much I have grown since. It really is an amazing thing to look back at the things you wrote about yourself as self-reflection. You can use this as a chance to grow or to see what you need to work on, or just to remind yourself of how amazing you are. Either reason is great!
As far as mental health goes, I believe creating and writing or expressing yourself in a positive, productive and non-harmful way is good. Journaling can help with mindfulness and remaining present while keeping perspective. This guided journaling will help you to focus on exactly what you need.
I grew up not believing or truly loving myself. It took me a long time to feel comfortable in my own skin and about my life. I began writing to help other people, especially children and women but, in doing this, I was helping myself. I have had the chance to use my own work to heal and overcome many fears and self-doubt.
Becoming a writer was not an easy journey, especially a published author because the thought of being vulnerable was something I wasn’t comfortable with. All the work that I create is about trusting, believing, and loving ourselves.
My children’s book, “She Is,” is an affirmation poetry book. “Radical Woman” is a collection of transformational stories reminding women of their strength, empowering them, and giving them the freedom to open the door to love, trust, and belief. “I Am” is a place to write out all the things you love and believe about yourself.
My next book will be “He Is,” a positive affirmation poetry book just like “She Is," for boys.
Boys and girls, women and men – no matter how different we are we still go through hardships. We still have doubts and fears. We still need to learn to love ourselves and to believe in our own strength and power, and know we are worthy to be here. We still need to learn about our mental health and overall well-being, and begin to create a healthy, safe, and loving life for ourselves.
It is ok to ask for help and to seek guidance professionally, or through people you trust. I hope the books and journal I have created, and all my future work, will lead someone to their truth and be a help and guide for anyone looking for a positive outlet and reminder.
About the Author
Charde Vera is a U.S. Navy veteran, passionate writer, and a loving wife and mother, who lives in Elmira. She has pursued her passion for writing to become a published author with a journal and several books, which are valuable for anyone who seeks well-contemplated guidance to self-love.
Learn more about Charde at www.chardevera.com.