Oh the blank page…
It’s such a catch 22. I see the potential for all my thoughts to come coalescing onto the page, but I also see the very bane of my writer’s existence: What to put there?
Throughout the years I’ve tried to begin numerous projects; from poetry books, (which I still have and would LOVE to publish) to short stories, (which have been published) and even some notebooks that are literally just full of random words and doodles. I’m sure this is what every writer’s portfolio looks like. Every idea they’ve ever had just waiting to be developed and turned into a masterpiece.
I’ve been told that every writer has a story, one story that was meant for them to write. I’ve struggled with that for most of my life thinking that this pertained to me specifically, what with my horrendous childhood and the need to put the entire story on paper. So in every notebook, in every computer, in every writing medium I could get my hands on, I would start my life story.
I almost think writing about a true situation is ten times more difficult that creating a fictional world in your head (though the latter will never cease to impress me!). There are so many emotions, and one-sided perspectives that it’s difficult to encompass the true capacity of the story. It’s been incredibly important for me to remind myself that not every story has a villain, and not every villain is necessarily evil. And it is with this basis that I know my story will take precedence.
For me though, writing has never been about recognition, or communication. It’s been about escape and release. Writing became a huge part of how I survived my childhood. It became the only thing that I could control and the only thing that in reality could not hurt me. So I latched on to reading and writing with a vengeance.
In the beginning it was just a journal, a random outpouring of my daily woes, my inner thoughts. As I began to discover that I was actually fairly fluent in getting my thoughts on paper these “journals” morphed into cohesive poetry. Not always a rhyming scheme, but always with the same themes: darkness, despair and abuse. These were the emotions that I had buried so deep down inside of me so as not to deal with them, and suddenly here they all were coming out onto the pages in front of me.
At first I was incredibly nervous, some of it was so dark. I shared one of the originals with my mother and to my surprise she wasn’t horrified at my morbidity. In fact she was surprised more by the fact that I felt these emotions, that I had these perspectives on my life and the things that had happened to me. She encouraged me to continue, which I avidly did, it seemed this was the only way I could really make sense of the swirling emotions and anxiety in my head.
And thus, the Author in me was born. Don’t get me wrong, this was not my first experience with writing, just maybe the most meaningful for me. I began to carry notebooks everywhere and I would literally write every thought that came out of my head. I had pages and pages filled with poems, random conclusions, the spoken words of those around me. If anyone besides me tried to read them it would just a big jumbled mess of words and sentences, but to me, they were like my bible. The words I lived by, the emotions I felt on a day to day basis.
As the abuse got worse, my writing got darker and more frequent. It was fueling my writing habits so much I almost relished in the darkness that constantly seemed to run my life. I was terrified that if terrible things quit happening to me I would no longer be able to write. Funny thing, I allowed that notion to actually cause me to quit writing.
When I was 16 I was technically adopted by an amazing family, and I came to them at probably my darkest of times. I was a cutter, incredibly depressed, desperately trying to escape the demons of my past. The family I found ended up being the most supportive, amazing people I have ever met, and as I healed under their guidance my writing began to subside some, but also began to take a turn. Instead of writing meaningful thoughts about the serious situations I had been involved in and their leftover emotions, I began to focus on superficial things, arguments with friends and boyfriends. I began to feel happier and more solid with my place in the world, and as that happened my desire to write about dark depressing things went away.
It was around this time that I came to the conclusion that I could not write about happy things and therefore could not effectively continue to write. In the years after this I constantly feel the yearning to write but I could never really get what I wanted out onto the page. Before it was like I was reaching into some deep part of me that just needed to be released on occasion, but in my early adult years I felt like the emotions I experienced about day to day life were shameful and not worthy of writing. I regret this now, I feel the continued therapy would have been so helpful.
These days I still use writing as a form of therapy, but I also have a huge desire to take it somewhere and be successful with it. I suppose my writing habits have matured along with my personality, which I suppose goes without saying. I still desperately want to get my story out there for the world to see, but I don’t feel as if it is so important for me anymore.
It’s important for the thousands of people who have been through traumatic situations and either can relate and have overcome as well, or momentarily find it impossible to ever move forward and need to know that someone, somewhere out there was able to. It’s important to the children who are so engrossed in surviving their own personal hell that the idea of being a successful adult doesn’t even begin to cross their minds. For the parents that have been through so much and are now raising children and want desperately to know that their parenting behaviors are defined by how THEIR parents dealt with things. And for the strangers out there who have never know suffering, so that maybe they can understand that childhood trauma can literally cripple your very being and inhibit your every way of life.
I write so no one ever has to feel like I did: alone, broken and confused. I write so that people will understand myself and my past. But mostly, I write so that I know that there is life after Trauma, and I’m a living example of it.