Saturday, August 08, 2009

Catharsis

It has been some time since I have written anything simply for the sake of writing. Although it is true that I have been relatively busy, compared to the not so distant past and what the short-term future holds, I am certainly not overwhelmed. That is, I still have an abundance of free time to relax and, for the most part, I have done just that. And it’s not as though the urge to commit my thoughts to this ongoing record is lacking; indeed, just the opposite is true. But it is always initially frustrating when I contemplate just what I want to say… just prior to the writing process. I know that once I initiate the flow of words, they will flow. Starting, however, is always the hard part and I never really know where it will take me.

I write about writing often. It is far more than just taking the thoughts in my head and converting them into symbols. For me it is cathartic; it does more than just solidify and clarify what my ideas are – it discovers them. It is, in a way, a process of self-examination and assessment… part of the ongoing process that helps me define just who I am. I guess some inherently know and perhaps some others don’t care, but I am not one of those people. I am not content unless I open the hood and take a peak inside on a regular basis, a tune-up, as it were, and I do it by expressing my creativity through writing.

It was not always this way. Recently I celebrated a milestone that marked the beginning of a transformational period in my life. Five years and two days ago, my life was a shambles and did not even remotely resemble what it is today. The beginning of the process was actually almost nine years ago, but I was trying to hold onto my own ideas of what I was entitled to for some time. That day in October 2000, however, is equally significant and one that affords me equally profound reflection. It always surprises me not that I discover new insights every time, but rather the nature of what those insights are. This time is no different. Within the past few words, it occurs to me that the sporadic writing I have created throughout my life has provided me with a degree of clarity; I just didn’t realize it.

But I do now and I am able to see some of those long lost creations in a different light. I don’t recall the exact words I used in the hand-written letters I wrote about five years ago, but I do recall that they were nothing nice. They were attacks that blamed my problems on others, primarily my father. I could not or would not take responsibility for my predicament and I misdirected the anger and hatred I had for myself at those who cared about me the most. It is not anything I am proud of, but it was part of my path toward acceptance. It was a monumental struggle… I was at war with my own head. By the time the worst was over, my perspective started to change and as a result, I have found peace in my world and in my head. I don’t have to fight anymore.

But those words committed to paper helped me see what I felt. It slowed my head down just enough to process the conflict between my reality and real reality. As the days and weeks passed, clarity started to replace chaos and although I didn’t know it at the time, the writing, as nasty as it was, was cathartic. Those letters I wrote to my father were designed to make him feel just as much pain as I was. It was all I had the capacity to do. He sent every one of them back to me in one large envelope and I had the opportunity to read what I had written. I didn’t like what I saw. It was as though I was reading it for the first time and… it wasn’t me. What my dad did was brilliant and probably the best thing he could have done for me.

Five years and two days later, writing is my job, my passion and my savior. Writing keeps me centered and all this reflection produces the kind of gratitude that I was never able to attain before. Ever. I know how quickly life can turn and in recent weeks it has thrown me some unexpected challenges, yet I am still grateful. Furthermore, I am meeting those challenges without spinning into a chaotic frenzy, and I don’t have to do it alone. My life is my responsibility and with regular (written) maintenance, it can remain peaceful and serene… even when it’s not.

1 comment:

Kim Williams said...

it is critical that we remember where we arrive from. i'm glad you are here.