When I was younger, I had no voice. Literally. After my parents violent divorce, I was mute for a year. I was in shock and so I stopped speaking.
I had many, many thoughts. I had no interest in using my words. I was scared that all I would do is scream in horror from all the hurt I was holding onto.
During this time I was an avid reader. So basically, I didn’t use my words but I absorbed anything I could read or hear. And I found words so meaningful and pleasing, internally.
Eventually, when I went to 1st grade, little by little I talked. Mostly to adults. I was intrigued by adult dialogue and interactions. I had very little time for kids my age.
Then one day, I wrote a poem for myself in the corner of the dining room, in my Mom’s tiny 1 bedroom apartment just off 80th and Racine. I had a little chair and desk where I did my homework, read books and there I started to write.
It was a small poem, about 3 stanzas. I can’t remember exactly what it was about. I just remember it was cathartic. It was as though those sad feelings I had were transferable. Instead of filling up with sadness that day… I pushed my sadness through the pencil on to the paper and I felt better.
I would go on to write love letters to my high school best friends, wayward teenage adoration letters to boys, songs, bad haiku, short stories about my failed trysts in New York… for all these years… I always find a way to write. It’s never consistent, but the love of writing and words is unconditional and ever present. I write to balance out the tears. I write to push the pain out of my body.
And yes, there were times when my pain was so enormous and overwhelming that I didn’t write.
After my Mother died, from April 1994 to Feb 1998, I stopped writing and became a functional alcoholic. Every time I started to write, I burst out into tears. And then by March 1998 when I knew I would leave Chicago and never return, I started writing like crazy. It was like a curse had been lifted.
Then, for the 3+ years I lived in England, I tried to write and I remember I just gave up. I suffered a horrific writer’s block. To the point writing made me cry. So I would put on music and cry. I thought I would never write again. As soon as I returned to my home soil, I began many a failed blog attempt as such.
My life is encompassed in words, feelings, emotions, memory, pain, joy, reading, drawing, dancing and …. WRITING.
And this is why I keep writing.