These last 4 months have been filled with pain, anger, and the shit that is the universe sometimes. I solve one problem and two more pop up in its place. And that’s just the day to day stuff that we all deal with. Under that has been a constant current of hurt.
I cried a lot in the beginning, wrote my big feelings down in a little journal. Then I got tired of being the sad girl all the time. I wanted to be happy so I started pretending like everything was okay. I’m great. My life is great. Sure, things are tough right now but it’ll turn around. Any day now, I’ll find a great job that pays well. Soon I’ll sleep through the night and won’t wake suddenly from a nightmare. Just gotta keep on trucking along.
You know what I mean. The fake shit we tell people because we don’t want them to know when we’re broken. People don’t want to hang around broken people. It uncomfortable and awkward.
Sometimes I make glib comments about bad things that have happened to me. I’m trying to make it light and funny. Let people know that yeah, I’ve seen some stuff but it’s cool. I’m fine. But almost every time, it stops the conversation dead in it’s tracks. People aren’t stupid. They sense the actual hurt there. They’ve felt it too.
Recently my wise little sister reminded me that we’re all a little broken. We all have our own things going on. Our own messes to clean up. My dad reminds me that my life is messy, my mom tells me that everything is going to be okay.
I wanted it to be okay now. To skip the pain part and be fine again. But I wasn’t dealing with it. I was ignoring it and all that pain and anger festered until it came pouring out. I dissolved into a mess of tears and snot and rage. Luckily there were no witnesses.
Then it hit me. I’d been thinking there was no where for all of that emotion to go. How wrong I was. I’m a writer. Duh. There’s plenty of places for it to go.
Pick up the book closest to you and thumb through it. What’s it about? Pain is going to factor in somewhere. Even in Harry Potter, books written for children, Harry is an orphan sent to live with relatives that treat him like a servant. He spends his childhood trying to defeat the biggest, baddest wizard of all time. My heart breaks for Harry over and over every time I read those books. Lots of pain but happiness on the flipside.
If books were nothing but a solid 300 pages of pain and misery, no one would read them. But why is there pain at all in them? Why aren’t they 300 pages of nothing but happiness and love? Well, mostly because that’s boring, but also because it’s pain that changes us. We fear it, we avoid it, but ultimately, we need it.
They say that books should be about the reader and not the writer. But I disagree. At first they should be about no one but the writer. Bad things in life aren’t pointless. There is meaning. And when you can’t find it, use your writing to look for the answers.
I’m constantly looking for ideas that are new and different, something that hasn’t been done before. I’ll never find it. Everything has been done before. But I can do it my way.
When I write through the pain, when I use it instead of ignore it, the writing is better. It’s raw and honest. There’s feeling and confidence because I’ve lived it and I know what I’m talking about. When I’m done writing I feel lighter. And sometimes exhausted. It takes a lot out of you to go through that. But I understand myself better. Life makes more sense again. I don’t feel quite so alone.
Using your pain in your writing gives you a voice. It’s a chance to get your ideas and opinions out there. Not everyone will agree but you can’t worry about everyone. Just worry about those people you’ll connect with. Maybe you’ll even help them. If nothing else, they won’t feel alone anymore either.
Don’t hide from pain. Writers are all supposed to be tortured souls anyway, right? Might as well embrace your destiny.