30 Days Of Writing That Taught Me How To Save Myself.
2015 began with brokenness.
At its inception, I found myself faced with circumstances that seemed insurmountable.
I was depressed. I was angry. I was emotionally and physically exhausted, and I was alone. I felt victimized by my situation, and was certain my quality of life was forever diminished. I caved to fear and sadness, and let them dictate my self-worth.
I traded hope and future for despair and regret. I mourned the person I felt I could never again be, and in doing so, stopped loving myself as I was.
The details of what happened aren’t what matters. They are only one part of the story. The inciting incident, if you will. What happened in the weeks that followed — that’s what is important.
Sitting here now, mere months after my self-image seemed to crumble before my eyes, I can say that the road to healing and acceptance stretches far, and I have only just begun to walk its path. But I am moving forward. And that is, I think, the part that matters most.
In the midst of my suffering, I learned of a 30-day writing course being offered by one of my favorite poets, Tyler Knott Gregson. It’s called Write Yourself Alive, and its premise is simple: carve out at least an hour of your time every day, for thirty days, to write.
I signed up, reasoning that if nothing else, I was bound to walk away with some good habits.
While I majored in writing in college, I grew lazy about practicing it once I graduated. It had been years since I had written consistently, and I needed something to hold me accountable.
Never did I imagine that my enrollment would be integral in taking the most painful thing that has ever happened to me and transforming it into one of the most empowering parts of myself.
So I committed. I set a daily alarm for 4:50 AM. And I started to write.
By the end of Week One, the tradition of waking before sunrise and beginning my day on paper became my most sacred and anticipated ritual. It taught me to practice healing intentionally — to make it an act that I could measure and monitor and record.
I was often surprised by the shape my writing took. While inside I felt bruised and disfigured, what emerged in prose was almost always something hopeful and transformative.
Writing takes my scar tissue and spins it into art. It forces bravery by amplifying the quietest parts of me. It gives me confidence and continues to help restore my self-image. It offers me community, solidarity.
It tells me that my words matter, that my feelings and experiences bear a thread of universality, and that I am not alone. It compels me to stop waiting to be saved by some external force or act or person. It teaches me, every day, how to save myself.
Healing is an ongoing process. It is a journey, and often a struggle.
And as someone who still fights each day to move toward it, if I may leave you with one thought, let it be this:
You are not your circumstances. You are a person. You are deserving. Lean into your sadness as if it is a hurricane force, as if you have no choice at all. Allow it to bend you, to shape you. Allow it to change you. Record your moments of deepest despair. There is beauty there, I promise.
And after a while, straighten your spine. Dry your eyes and marvel at how your wounds slowly stitch themselves back together. Do not resort to irreparable brokenness. Do not shatter. You are a resilient being. And while it may never fully pass, it will grow lighter, fainter, smaller.
Be brave in the darkness and learn to shoulder its heaviness. Embrace the fractures, the cracks, the holes.
They are, after all, what let in the light.
Madeleine Hart is an early morning writer, hobbyist baker, and compulsive day-dreamer. She is a self-proclaimed expert shower singer, avid tea drinker, and avocado enthusiast. She works at Author Launch in Nashville, where she helps hundreds of aspiring writers complete their dream of publishing a book. In her free time, she blogs at Madeleine Jinah and E Before I. Above all, Madeleine is still just a work a progress.