Writing saved me when I couldn’t save myself. Because sometimes you can’t understand the feelings you experience when you experience them. Sometimes the pain hurts so bad it makes you numb, numb to any other feeling but pain. Because as much as I hate to quote teen fiction, I guess John Green put it best, “That’s the thing about pain, it demands to be felt.”
And pain was the only feeling I knew and yet couldn’t understand. I knew how it felt, but I didn’t know what it meant or why. Why I felt the way I did. Why I couldn’t just cure myself, be happy.
It seemed so easy for everyone else. Happiness was something that just happened. Laughter was genuine, smiles were authentic. But when I laughed it was for others, and when I smiled it was to fool others, fool them into thinking happiness was something that came easily for me too, to hide my sadness in order to make them feel more comfortable.
Because while going through this pain, it wasn’t myself I was concerned with, it was everyone around me and whether or not I was hiding it well enough.
Because every little thing I did was with motive to conceal, conceal the thoughts I didn’t want others to know existed. And eventually these negative thoughts had sunken so deeply that they became normal, that they became habitual, and it became habitual to hide them. And this pattern of thinking, hiding, thinking, hiding, and hiding some more was actually destroying me, and it almost completely did, until writing saved me.
Writing saved me from the thoughts I felt I had to hide. Because even if I couldn’t speak these thoughts aloud in fear that others would hear, the paper and pen were the one thing in my life that could listen and not judge. And sometimes I didn’t even know the thoughts existed until I saw them written on the page, and when I’d read them back it allowed me to see the bigger picture, to hear my thoughts and try to understand them.
And even when I couldn’t understand them, I could at least acknowledge that they were there. Writing allowed me to see that something was wrong. It allowed me to admit my unhappiness, first to myself, and eventually to others. Writing saved me when I didn’t know I needed saving. Writing made me realize I no longer needed to live my life unhealthily, unhappily, unfulfilled.
Writing gave me the real release I needed. With writing there was no hiding, no concealing, it was the one place I could fully be myself, because the act of writing was a place for me.
It was a retreat I could escape to, it was a home where I could acknowledge that I didn’t like the person who I was, and it was the home where I learned how to become a person I was proud of, how to be the self I used to love, it was where I learned how to love myself again.
For any human struggling with whatever secret hides beneath the surface, find the one thing that allows you to acknowledge it and face it, to overcome it, and finally begin to heal. Love yourself, for yourself.