Writing as therapy
I don’t know if everyone is like this, but I feel like a river in the wild.
On the surface, it’s just water. Ripples here and there, reacting to the wind and to the pebbles that are skipped across its surface. And in certain lighting from the sun, the water glows with a beauty that seems otherworldly.
That’s all nice and normal.
But beneath the surface an entire universe within a universe within a universe plays out. Tiny wars, huge losses, gambles, hopes, dreams, there’s an entire world within a million worlds hidden beneath a veneer of normalcy.
I am not the kind of person who most people remember. I’m quiet, Black, and below average in most of the departments that make a person stand out.
But beneath a bland surface, there are a million worlds, heavy with energy, unfurling and functioning in a sort of interdependent unity.
And some of those worlds are emotions that I don’t quite understand or know what to do with. I just feel them creep into existence and all I can do is let them go.
I think most people are like this and we all find different ways of dealing with those untamed emotional responses to trauma.
Some of the "band-aids" we use are healthy and others, not so healthy.
Generally, we prefer the simple "domesticated" feelings that were explained to us when we were children.
"You are happy," "You are excited," "You are sad." Even those emotions can get hairy.
But when trauma triggers the release of some nameless, wild feeling into our heart, we react as if we've come home to find a coyote in our living room.
Scared and hoping to find some kind of peace, we seek out ways to release these raw emotions back into the wilds of our subconscious where they'll leave us be, except for the odd nightmare or two.
For me, the "release" is either cooking or writing.
On the occasions that I choose writing, even if I’m following an outline that has nothing to do with me or my reality, the main character almost always begins to struggle with whatever underlying emotions I’m trying to work through. This includes subconscious issues that I don't even know I'm battling. Somehow, these issues creep into the story without me even noticing.
For example, when I started writing the South Louisiana High Series, I just wanted to write about a mysterious superhero and how the super got their abilities.
But it turned into so much more. And it wasn’t until after I went back and read the books that I noticed the entire 6-part series had an underlying theme of, "prejudice sucks." That was completely unintentional, and it made me realize how deeply my own experiences with prejudice have affected me.
After I'd taken a beat and separated myself from the work, I was able to read it with fresh eyes and see that I’m incredibly sensitive to prejudice of any kind, and that it comes from years of pretending that remarks about my skin color didn’t bother me.
While writing about the feelings I’d tried to hide for long was therapeutic, reading about it was painful because it forced me to see how traumatized and messy I really am.
That said, I’m grateful for writing as therapy, because I want to see myself as I really am. Even if that means accepting the fact that I'm pretty broken.
I've also come to realize that one of the beautiful things about writing is that it allows readers to truly see their favorite authors, from the inside out.
Well, that's all for now.
If you're reading this, **big hug** because who doesn't need a hug these days? And thanks for stopping by : )
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