In case anyone has the impression that my daughter or I thought life was always pretty, over the past week I had a couple of opportunities to show the other side. Although I continue to seek and experience beauty in life and want others to also, my message is not to convince you everything will eventually be pretty again.
One opportunity came from writing about a hot mess of vulnerability I experienced recently. The second one came through my decision to post about domestic spousal abuse. Lena had written about being scared in her dark short Death is in My House. Most definitely not pretty.
Life won't ever be quite the rosy, bright days I think it was before devastation hit simply because a decade or two has transpired. Reliving these experiences can bring me to my knees in a heartbeat as if it happened yesterday. Why revisit and then write about them one may wonder. I am pretty successful at pushing the pain down for extended periods of time, but I can't sit on my hands forever.
My dad always "talked with his hands" as they say. I inherited that behavior and later discovered, if I tucked my hands, palm down, under my thighs, it helped keep my mouth shut. Much of my career was spent sitting rather than standing, and that probably saved me from getting fired more than once! But I digress.
Writing helps me problem solve and to understand and integrate my feelings. It helps make sense of why a particular thing cracked open my vulnerability or why it brought my hardened heart joy or laughter. Those reactions are signposts of my emotional health, directing my prognosis.
It's like having a painful knee or a bad hip which will only get worse when ignored. When I'm writing, I can't sit on my hands. I have infinite opportunity to edit, to repeatedly work on the parts that hurt or where it is not quite right. Writing is physical therapy for my soul.
My hope is for my readers to use the "life is a pretty word" writings, whether pretty or dark, to honor their emotional lives.
How do you honor your emotional life? Are there everyday "therapies" that work for you? When you can't find words to say, does writing help?
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