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I’m going to be honest and say that everything I have written for this week feels not good enough. I wrote several posts, all at least three pages in length, and none of them felt adequate. There is a whole Mother’s Day post that may never get published, or that I may post when we are far away from the holiday.
My writing feels clunky and unwieldy these days, and I am not at all certain that what I am offering is of value to you, dear readers. I want to give you something you can use, something that helps, something you can relate to, and I don’t know if I’m accomplishing that.
This uncertainty is not new, and it could be a reflection of what I’m going through right now in life, or it could be actual facts—I don’t know.
I do know that the question What do I have to offer? has always been a source of anxiety. As if just being is not enough. As if the humanness of me requires justification. Some sort of official papers attesting to the permissibility of me.
Writing is where I legitimize myself. When I write something down, it becomes real and then I’m not wondering anymore if I am, in fact, here.
That may sound strange, and in psychospeak it might be referred to as a trauma response, and…perhaps it is. But it’s also an unrelenting urge to be. To exist and be seen. To defy the requirement for some sort of validity.
Writing was my grappling hook as a child, as I looked for ways to be alive without being punished for the things I was born as. Writing allowed me to shape myself in ink, indelible, fashioned by my own hand and from my own imagination.
My parents weren’t big readers of English, so I had the freedom to write myself, uncensored. It was the only space I could allow anger to erupt onto pages. It was messy and uncategorized, nonlinear and inappropriate and disobedient.
It was where I could grieve, fall apart, wonder, and hope for entitlements that those around me found laughable for girls like me to wish for. It was a way for me to metabolize what little girls should never have to metabolize.
This body is that body and it is also not. It has digested many things with the sole purpose of continuing. Because the brutal beauty of life is that there isn’t an arrival spot. No destination. Even death is not a destination. It is a fact and a moment, but not a culmination.
Can you pinpoint the deaths you have had to resurrect yourself from? What were those moments when there was a death, either within you or in the outside world, and you knew nothing would ever be the same? What did you do to move through that?
Because you knew you had to. There was something – unseen, unexplainable, undefined – that demanded you recreate yourself. And if you didn’t, if you allowed what broke you apart to take over, it would be a different kind of death. The truest part of you would be swallowed whole, barely aware of its own existence.
That’s what addictions are. A different kind of death, a swallowing-up of the most alive part of you. They catch you up in a cycle, a spiral, and won’t let go until you summon up superhuman strength to break free.
But when you are blind and in agony, and you follow the nudges, there is some grace that deposits you on a ledge, shaken, confused, not sure if you are alive. But you are, and you begin to put yourself together from memory, finding ways to incorporate the new parts.
And then it happens again. And again and again.