The Source of Truth is a Fragile Place
Writing has always been sacred to me. I wrote my first short story in the first grade…and my mother was promptly called to the guidance counselor’s office. What does a seemingly cheerful six year old know about physical abuse? The brutal death of a mother at the hands of her husband. Two orphaned daughters. Tragic. My parents were alive and well, as was my brother. But according to my story, I moved in with my friend and lived with her until I grew up and “bought me a house.”
Maybe it was the fight I had witnessed between my parents that spiraled into this graphic, tall tale. My imagination was and still is a dark runaway train, and until now, private writings have been my outlet — until I scare myself (or someone else) and opt to keep it all inside. Then “it” manifests itself as anxiety, depression, insomnia or the three-piece combo. Still, writing is sacred because when I write, it is me you’ll see, and past events have shown that it is often too much to handle for those who love me. It’s stressful and unsettling for them, but it’s catharsis for me.
I wonder how many of us are hiding our true selves for fear of being seen. For me, it’s writing. For others it could be painting, singing, saying “I need you.” Anything that you hold sacred, anything that is true, it is the window to who you truly are. And if you, like me, are fearful of rejection, abandonment, ridicule or simply being misunderstood, sharing who you really are can be frightening.
This is why I have three different email addresses, countless notes on my phone and a running word document of nearly 400 writings that no one will see. My soul laid bare on the bed of my keyboard: my hopes, disappointments, grief, yearnings and longings. The angry conversations I’ll never have, the confessions of unrequited love; my desperate prayers to God. It’s all there, the most honest part of me that bares little resemblance to who I am trying so hard to be. “I’ve been white-knuckling life since I was seven years old,” I often jest. Then I repeat the joke hoping someone will stop and inquire as to what I mean by that statement. Maybe it’s best they don’t ask. Verbally explaining it would be messy, chaotic, unclear.
It looks much better on paper…