once upon a time after a free write during which I wrote a new thought about an old subject, i paused and put my pencil down. I showered, dressed and headed out the door to meet a friend for a movie. the new, enlightened thought stayed on my shoulder, whispering in my ear the whole ride to midtown. over and over, new thought was like, “you’ve been angry at your dad for more than his absence. you blamed him for your inability to love yourself. you thought if he’d been there, you’d have grown into someone different. someone you could love. not only did he leave but he took the best parts of you with him and you think that ruined you.”
on the way from the theater, my friend says, the thing that sucks about being human is that it’s hard to see ourselves.
writing helps us see ourselves. It sharpens our ability to bear witness to (and grow through) all things haphazard and necessary and triumphant and tragic. i’d experienced that clarity with my new thought that morning. that thought was unearthing. although it hurt to realize i felt that way, it was also progress.
not everyone can or desires to do such things, but writers give a gift to others when mining our lives, searching for answers, asking questions others might let lie beneath the dirt. folks are more alike than different. my story always belongs to someone else no matter how isolated i may feel in the experience or the writing.
truth speaks to the seekers of it. share the stories because they aren’t solely ours. We “get” them, to give them…and, ideally, we all become more beautiful in the process.