Nowadays, I am a writer, a wife, sister, mother, grandmother, and a great-grandmother, but when the internal desire to put pen to paper, to write and express myself first occurred, I was a young mother. I had recently given birth to my third son and deemed it necessary for my mental health to organize a group of mothers with similar needs. We poetically named our group The Young Mothers. To close our meetings, each of us would share a personal-growth goal for that month. Mine was always the same: write.

When the next meeting rolled around, I would always sheepishly admit that, once again, I had not written a word aside from a grocery list. This went on for years.  I wasn’t yet aware how important it was to take writing seriously. Thankfully, the yearning persisted. As Freud was fond of saying, “Desire presses ever forward unsubdued.” I am relieved experience has proven this to be true.

Nicky Mendenhall

But I am getting ahead of myself.

After the group disbanded, I did finally develop a journaling habit and have filled at least six plastic storage bins with journals of all sizes and shapes. My desk is home to a fifteen-inch stack of black Moleskine notebooks. So technically, I was writing. But I still didn’t feel like a writer.

I had plenty of paper, a favorite fountain pen. I had the yearning. But it wasn’t until I had spent nearly a decade on the couch in Freudian psychoanalytic treatment that I discovered the wealth of material waiting inside me. Material that I had been blocking. Material that was stored in my unconscious. Details that made me, me.