“You haven’t fully stepped into your role as a writer.” she gently prodded, “I encourage you to take your writing more seriously.” I know she’s right. “There’s a book or more inside of you.” Said another. All the while I can hear my mom’s smile and it says, “I told you!!!” It’s as if I am dipping my big toe into a familiar and yet unfamiliar pool of pure, beautiful, cleansing water. I write as therapy. I love to write. I process things by writing about them. I have huge epiphanies that come out as I’m writing. As an elementary age child I won awards for writing contests. I once submitted an essay for a contest the Arabian Horse Association was hosting in hopes of winning the grand prize, a horse! Lol! My parents would have died if they’d known! Fortunately for them I didn’t win!
My wasband didn’t understand that I needed time to process through things. Honestly, I don’t imagine he would have cared even if he had known that introverts do all their processing internally. It was his way or the highway (in all things). He was sure that if he demanded I talk and put a ton of pressure on me, then he’d get what he wanted. It never did work that way. I journaled, sometimes multiple times a day trying to get out what felt so stuck inside of me, as if by writing I was twisting on the pressure relief valve so the steam could release. I kept my journal tucked away. Not hidden by any means however it wasn’t out in the open begging to be snooped in either. I poured out intimate pieces of my heart onto the paper in that book. He’d helped himself to it in the past craftily using words I’d written against me every opportunity he had. I’d made it clear that it was to be left alone. I didn’t appreciate being told that what I had written on those pages wasn’t true or that the dreams I scribbled about would never be possible.
I stepped out of the shower one morning and wrapped myself up in a towel stepping into our bedroom to get the clothes I’d laid on the bed and forgotten to take into the bathroom with me. There he stood scrambling to put my journal back on the shelf pretending he’d not been reading it. “What do you think you’re doing!?!” I asked angrily! He stammered around trying to find the words (rare for him) and finally told me that since I wouldn’t talk to him about what was bothering me, he had every right to read what I had been writing. I had no business writing anyway, he stated. He told me nothing was private in marriage (what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine … grrrrr! And oh, how this played out in every aspect). I remember various emotions flooding over me including feeling violated. It was as if someone had ripped the towel from me and stood scrutinizing and criticizing my naked body. I took the journal and threw it in the dumpster that afternoon. I swore off writing, locking that part of my soul up and tossing the key away.
Several years later I was given a journal by a church member for Mother’s Day. She had no idea I was trying not to be a writer. I thanked her for the thoughtful gift, went home and shelved the thing swearing I wouldn’t write in it. The pen and paper kept whispering to me. I decided I’d use it to write daily gratitudes. I wouldn’t be pouring out pieces of my heart onto the pages, just little one liners, “I’m grateful for the sun’s warmth, I’m grateful for a roof over my head, I’m grateful for books to read…blah, blah, blah.” Seemed like a fair compromise to me. Each day I would pick five to ten things I was grateful for and write them in that book. Even if they weren’t true, I wrote them in hopes that by putting them on paper, much like an affirmation, they would become my reality … and then that gratitude journal showed up in court. My wasband hid it, using it as his evidence that our marriage was a good, solid one, abuse was nonexistent, I was just crying wolf in an attempt to gain the courts sympathy, after all, I’d written pages of all the things I was grateful for. My credibility came in to question over it. I was so angry. Once again, my writing, my hopes, dreams, those things I was grateful for on a particular day at a particular moment were on display for complete strangers to shred apart and twist into little resemblance of what they were written to mean. Damn that journal! And yet, the pen kept calling……
It’s risky to write. I consider that what I write could be rejected. It could be used against me in a court of law, those pieces of my heart being shredded until nothing remains. Gives me the hebe gee-bees! Been there! And yet here I am, sharing intimate pieces of my heart … publicly. I laugh at the irony of it! What I am learning, or maybe it’s more what I am accepting, is that what I have to say begs to be shared. I don’t think this gifting was offered to me to be kept to myself. The gifts and talents we are born with are not meant to be selfishly stowed away for our own gain. They are meant to be used for the greater good of all.
My experiences demand my attention, begging to be shared. There are countless women and men who have traversed the same twisted, rough, almost impassable road I have and feel utterly alone, just like I did. Their ravaged hearts beg the same questions, “What the hell was I thinking!?!”, “I knew better!!!”, “Maybe I’m the crazy one! Am I the crazy one!?!”, “I feel like I am losing my mind!”, “No one is going to believe me!”. These people meet with their lawyers, have lunch with “friends” and stand before magistrates and judges feeling unheard and recognizing that most don’t care about their plight. I remember feeling like I was being buried alive. I was kicking, punching, screaming and raising holy hell only to have it fall upon deaf ears. It felt hopeless to say the least. There is nothing more defeating than confiding in someone, sharing a tidbit about the wretched abuse you’ve suffered, only to have them shrug their shoulders and tell you it’s alleged, it’s hearsay, you never called for help. Unless there is “proof” then essentially the nightmare you’ve suffered and survived didn’t exist.
And so, I write. I am learning to step into my gift as a writer. It feels a little strange, a little odd. The more encouragement I receive, the more confident I begin to feel and the more brave and bold I become in sharing my experiences in hopes that someone, somewhere out there will be able to take a deep breath, sigh and understand they aren’t alone. Life is short, it should be sweet too!
“You are powerful, beautiful, brilliant & brave”