Writing, for me, has always been a form of therapy. Through spilling out my words on paper or on a screen, I find meaning, answers, and often the space to think that is outside my own head. I read other writers and find that I am not alone in how I am feeling, that others have been there before me and spilled out their soul onto the pages of a journal. Sometimes, through writing, I find peace. Sometimes I find clarity. And sometimes, every so often, I find healing.
I recently took part in a reading of monologues to fight violence against women and girls. The monologues were beautiful, heartbreaking, confronting, empowering, challenging, and complete in their honesty, brutal or otherwise. Reading and performing these monologues brought the power of writing home to me again and reminded me of the incredible healing exercise that took place for each person in their story being told – finally.
I was reminded of the power of my own story and the healing that took place when I finally unpacked that box in my head that I had locked up, and shared my experience both by speaking it out loud and, when the words wouldn’t come from my mouth, by writing it down. Every confronting, brutal, heartbreaking detail. While only a few people ever heard it spoken or read it, in finally telling my story, I found a sense of peace.
I remember being sent the following piece of writing around this time and I had it pinned to my wall for months…
“As you walk the road to recovery you may find yourself getting tired. At times your life may feel too difficult. I wish it was possible to make the landscape of your life brighter, smoother, and filled with more flowers. If I could make the terrain you walk on gentler, I would in a moment. You are a beautiful soul who does not deserve to be in such agony. You deserve to have all the glistening things in life.
Hold on to the fact that there is light, even when you cannot see it. Hold on to the fact that it is possible to lead a full life, even though your own may feel empty at this moment. Not knowing what to do at times, and struggling and trying to figure out what to do is the very thing that will lead you to freedom.
If you look inside your heart, really look, you will see a beautiful person with a kind and gentle soul. You will see a person who needs comfort, a person who needs you. As you search around in your heart, you will find the warrior spirit and courage that you need to win this battle. You will find the courage to face your demons and triumph over them. You will walk through your pain.
Remember that you bless this world and make it a more beautiful place to live in.
These are things you must tuck away and remember from time to time when the pain feels too unbearable. It is possible to have hope and soul shattering pain at the same time.
Keep fighting and never give up. You are too valuable, too special.
Know that you are not alone: there are other warrior sisters who are walking with you in spirit.”
This came to mind vividly following our performances of the monologues – “There are other warrior sisters who are walking with you in spirit.” – I felt such an affinity with each writer who had poured out their soul in their monologues.
I felt like I had become a part of their story through giving a voice to their writing.
Maybe it’s time to add my story to theirs.