We Write To Heal.
“Medicines and surgery may cure, but only reading and writing poetry can heal.” ~ J. Arroyo
I used to write when I was a little girl. At that time, I would also sing when I started to feel uncomfortable. Expressing myself through words and music had always been my thing. But I had put that away.
I believed that expressing myself through art wouldn’t allow me to fit in.
The first time I started to write as an adult was a few months ago. It was the anniversary day of my grandmother’s death. I had a pen and a notebook in my purse, as I always do. All of a sudden, I was drawn to those and I started to write. My soul was expressing that I was required to write — a need from which I couldn’t escape.
It could have been a sorrowful piece. But I decided that I would have a look at our memories differently and with gratitude that time. Not with the desire to dive into sadness but with the wish to remember the most beautiful. Writing has been the vessel allowing that process to take place.
After that, I kept asking myself, why do we write? Why do I write? The more I went on the words’ road, the more I felt that we write to heal.
I know that some believe that we write to escape reality. I don’t.
On the contrary, I feel that we are only able to write what we know. It’s almost impossible to write clearly about something that we haven’t experienced.
Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Many times, I’ve written about what I couldn’t speak out loud. About life’s ups and downs that I couldn’t share because they had been too intense in some ways — either too sad, or too beautiful.
I would remain silent because I was scared that nobody would understand what I had gone through. I was keeping the rawness of my feelings to myself, to make sure that I would be normal enough to be accepted.
Rational enough, moderated enough. A thinker who uses her brain, and lays aside her heart.
But I’m a sensitive woman. And I needed to let my feelings soar.
By writing, I’ve started to speak.
Writing has also helped me to get a clearer understanding of my past.
We all have had some sh*tty moments. Especially if those occurred when we were children, we have a tendency to bury them deep down. We believed that they would never come back from these abysmal recesses.
But it works exactly the other way round. As long as we keep our demons locked up in their hiding places, our dark memories will keep on haunting us insidiously. While we devote all of our energy to avoid seeing our own sh*t, it doesn’t die or go away. It’s only waiting for us to be directly and bravely faced.
Facing our past, even if it was harmful, is the key for moving forward.
According to energy healers, allowing our own demons to resurface is the first step to freedom. They say that we need to feel the pain from our past once again in a conscious way and to fully embrace the sadness that comes up.
Seeing our demons, face-to-face and eyes-to eyes, allows a deeper understanding of what feels wrong in our present life. It’s not about staying stuck there and reliving it forever. It’s about figuring out how this has impacted us, and proceed therefrom in a healthy way.
I would add that an enemy is always stronger till it hasn’t been fought. And the more we postpone those unavoidable encounters, the more we get scared and fogy, and the weaker we feel. We need to make all of our parts reach the surface, if we want to be fully alive and to understand entirely how we work.
“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth in uglier ways.” ~ Sigmund Freud
So, how does writing help?
Firstly, when we write about our own selves, we can’t escape from finding the right words to describe precisely what was felt. We need to come back to what has really happened, with all its craziness or intensity.
Writing is diving deep, to reach these hiding places and to dig up the raw feelings we had buried.
Writing is a way to speak our truth and to embrace all of our parts. Both the shadows and the light. When I write, I’m always true. I don’t invent, I don’t escape. I let myself speak.
Secondly, writing creates an intimate space between the writer and the writing tools — pen, notebook, computer, whatever each of us feels closest to.
This intimacy sets up a sacred space where it feels safe to share.
This space finds a beautiful expansion with the readers with whom our words resonate. With them and their support, this sacred space gets bigger and addresses a larger part of the humankind than ourselves.
Feelings don’t make us feel alone anymore. On the contrary, feelings become our most favorite key to reach connected hearts.
Thirdly, writing has its own language. With its poetic and metaphoric words, it’s a perfect outlet for emotions.
Writing articles and poetry can both be powerful therapeutic tools because their language allows us to experiment all the facets of feeling, of being hurt or loved.
They provide ourselves with a new language, where normal words would fail to express the intensity of emotions.
It’s now fine to say that being in love was a little bit like being carried away under the pulse of rousing music. It’s now okay to say that good sex is a majestic symbiosis of the souls. Losses are at last related without forgetting any of the mess they had fostered. All of our fears are named, colored and tamed again, before being released.
Things can be expressed as powerfully as they have actually been lived. The related episodes can therefore be examined without any distortion and the writer/poet feels empowered to move on.
Also, writing enhances individual self-esteem, and the belief that one’s thoughts and feelings have value and are worth expressing.
Consequently, writing is being used more and more by professionals to heal wounded people.
Writing as a healing process can be used for both individual and collective traumas.
Rithy Panh, a Cambodian writer and filmmaker, has decided to go through arts to heal himself and his countrymen after the Khmer Rouge genocide (1975-1979). He once said: “Creation is the only real thing showing that you haven’t been destroyed. That you’re still alive. It’s vital for a society that comes from such a deep trauma.”
Anyway, no matter what the story is from which you need to heal, once it’s written, things are seen from a different perspective.
While you still continue to carry feelings in your heart, it’s done in a different and lighter way.
Sorrows end up being transformed, and aren’t a burden any more.
In a way, you set yourself free.
Sophie Gregoire is a thinker. You may often find her with a new idea or a new concept to explain, holding a notebook and pencil. Also found reading and writing, she is more than anything an independent soul. She enjoys traveling and getting lost in new places, namely in Asia. She says it helps understanding our worlds, its people and the humankind. She loves writing to transform her endless thoughts into some kind of reality, and to keep the little piece of sanity she still has. She savors coffee, encounters, Yoga and meditation, and cats… while her own cat is her greatest muse! You could contact Sophie via Facebook and on her writing page.