Healing Through Writing

Girl - Alone 12

Ever since I was a little girl, I found a bounty of beauty and learning in the simple art of writing. I was one of those trouble-making children who would write on her mother’s walls, on the new shoes her dad bought, and all over desks at school. Writing is and always has been the best outlet for my creative self. From writing stories at the age of six, to completing an unpublished manuscript at the age of 21, to my current job where I write for a living and love everything about it. Writing has been a blessing and an effective tool in my growth. I believe in words and the power they have not just on others, but ourselves.

Words have a way of opening us up, stirring our souls and bringing people from around the world together. When thinking back to one of my favorite books by Aldous Huxley, it’s interesting to note that though writing can be an elusive career, writers mostly live in a voluntary solitude where we are surrounded, but ultimately alone. In many ways, we speak to everyone around us and no one.

As humans, we all have feelings, thoughts and experiences of our own that make us who we are today. As we move through life, we forge relationships and along the way, get hurt.  Sometimes we get hurt so badly, that the only strength left is enough to hold up a pen and continue writing.

“Write hard and clear about what hurts,” Hemingway once said. As an esteemed author and writing hero, it’s clear he knew the power writing had on those who write or value the art. It also goes back to activist and author, Alice Walker who understands the value writing has in the healing process, saying, “I think writing really helps you heal yourself. I think if you write long enough, you will be a healthy person.”

I’ve never agreed more. All these journal entries are evident of that too. Especially in these past few weeks which have been extremely hard on my heart. With the support of an amazing sister and close-knit circle of best friends who are always looking out for me, love me sincerely and have guarded my feelings to ensure my process runs smoothly, I have turned to writing as a great healer. People say time heals all wounds, I like to think writing does too. In all its meaning though, writing would feel like the scars we bear have an odd power in reminding us that our past is real. Perhaps that’s hard for some people to read back and even acknowledge.

As someone who feels it necessary to educate myself through the various religions, even the Bible finds healing in “pleasant words” as honeycomb that are “sweet to the soul and health to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24). Communication is essential not just to aid others, but to gain a better understanding of our circumstances. Besides being a method of healing, my heartache is someone else’s hope. If I can make it through with a library of words noting the process in a blog of all places, I know someone else who has been in my shoes is going to make it through too.

Unfortunately, there will be people in life who constantly try and suppress your writing, unaware of the battle you’re fighting with every word written. They will want you to stop because they feel that dwelling on an event is not helpful to anyone. That said, they’re the type of person who confuses happiness for comfort, and in this case, healing with dwelling. But that is where they are fundamentally wrong because no one on this planet should ever tell you how to feel, and when to stop feeling it.

Not only is such an action idiotic and illustrating the portrait of inadequate minds, but these individuals have committed a boundary violation to which cannot be respected. Boundaries define who you are, inside and out. There’s no other way around it. Your feelings are your own and you get to decide what to let in and what to keep out. This simply means, you get to determine who you are at the end of the day through your experience, not someone else. After all, it’s your internal world that reflects in your external actions. Unless they’re a best friend or a true confidante, no one can possibly know what you’re going through. As Dr. Seuss says, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind, don’t matter; and those who matter, don’t mind.”

Two months ago I had the opportunity to interview comedian, Michael Kosta who shared that people will always try to get you out of something you love doing, adding further, “When you decide to fully commit to something that isn’t traditional, it really scares a lot of people.” It’s true and something that greatly resonates with me, especially in this case.

And yes, these blogs are basically memoirs of my own life as I move forward, but in no way are they portraits of a dweller. The thing is, in life we don’t heal the past by dwelling there and devoting time to a memory and confusing our realities. No, that’s where healing often times gets confusing for the misunderstood who want to suppress because we only heal the past by living fully in the present; understanding or accepting the loss and moving forward in the best way we know how.

Of course, the best way I know how is through writing, because words are life and not only hold great power in our well-being, but are incredibly cathartic. What many don’t realize is the very sentiment that can break your own heart, is often times the same one that can heal it.

“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow,
but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.”

– Leo Tolstoy

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