Paper Is My Safest Friend

Oct 14th, 2010 | By | Category: All Posts, Steps Toward Healing

by Jennifer Stuck

I have come to believe that secrets are the enemy. They are the parasites that eat away at the human soul. We are meant to be social creatures, to share and express our complex emotions. Yet generation after generation of conditioning has taught us to repress our thoughts and feelings—to monitor every word that comes out of our mouths. We constantly worry about what we say, how we say it, and most of all, how others might react to it. So with all the influences keeping us from expressing ourselves, what are we supposed to do? How can we get it all out and clear our minds? For me, and many others like me, the solution has been writing.

What I love the most about writing is that it is always there for me. When I can’t talk to my family, when my friends aren’t as supportive as I would like them to be, or when it’s 3:00 am and no sane person worth talking to would be awake, I have writing to turn to. I can always grab a pen and paper and start pouring out my soul about whatever it is that’s on my mind. Writing always lets me say what I need to say. The paper never interrupts me to tell me something trivial about its own life. The sole purpose of the paper is to bare the weight of whatever I chose to write on it. No matter how shocking, no piece of information will be too overwhelming for it to hold. It will never throw my thoughts back in my face or use them against me. It doesn’t push me beyond my limits. It never puts its nose where it doesn’t belong, or try to direct the conversation where it wants it to go. The paper is my safest friend.

Most times when I begin writing it is not because I have a clear-cut image in my mind of what I want to say. Normally I only know that there is SOMETHING that needs to come out—some emotion that has been long trapped inside of me that is finally ready to surface. I can feel a voice deep down inside of me screaming, begging to be heard. When I write I provide a platform for that voice (my inner child) to speak out, to say all the things she was never allowed to say while being abused. After all these years she finally gets her chance to express the hurt, pain and anger that has burdened her for so long.

When I write down my thoughts I take what was a slippery, illusive memory and translate it into clear, undeniable fact. It’s right there on record in black and white. I can no longer forget it or push it to the back of my mind. Seeing my story on paper makes it feel more real to me. I’m able to separate myself from all the lies that I was told about myself during my abuse. I can see that what happened to me wasn’t nothing; it was something terrible. It wasn’t my fault; it was 100% the fault of my abusers. I was obviously the victim, and they were obviously the aggressors. Those basic facts that had eluded me in my thoughts became blatantly apparent to me once I wrote them out on paper.

One thing that I am particularly fond of is writing poetry. Now that I am farther along in my recovery process I find it fulfilling to look back at the things that I have written and the progress that they reflect. I recently started putting a date on every poem that I write. By doing this, I am making what I call a recovery timeline. I will always be able to look back and see what I was feeling last week, last year, or ten years ago. It’s amazing for me to be able to see how much I have changed in such a short period of time. Having that record of my progress makes me want to work even harder to move forward. It’s something concrete to show how far I’ve come and how hard I have worked. Every poem is like a trophy sitting on a shelf, a small reward for my efforts. Each one is something that I can look at and be proud of.

Writing has had many positive affects on my life. It helps me connect with my emotions. It allows me to express those emotions. It helps me remember new details about my past and to make sense of the things I already remember. Writing is freeing and empowering. Nobody can control what I write. I don’t have to second-guess myself, or worry that I might be saying the wrong things. I can just put pen to paper and let my thoughts flow wherever they take me. Sometimes I use my writing to express repressed grief. Sometimes I use it to share newly found joys. The important thing is that I never stop expressing myself.

Jennifer’s Poetry Collection

Related Posts:
If I Didn’t Write, I’d Have Died a Long Time Ago
Writing Is My Friend
Writing: My Power Tool for Rebuilding After Abuse

Jennifer Stuck is whole-heartedly pursuing physical and emotional health and is determined to heal the wounds of her childhood sexual abuse. She loves to write, especially poetry.  She is currently studying for a career in Physical Therapy. When she isn’t in school Jennifer is at home spending time with her two beautiful daughters.

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  1. Jennifer,
    Even though I consider writing such a valuable healing tool already, the way you write about its power makes me want to get my pen out! I agree that the secrets are so damaging and sometimes writing things out reveals secrets that we’re even keeping from ourselves. Thank you so much for sharing this. I love your writing style and look forward to reading more.
    Hugs, Christina

  2. Jennifer,

    What a wonderful way you described the power and the friendship of writing. I have always believed it to be my friend but to know how someone else feels about it as a friend is so refreshing to me. Thank you for another outlook.


  3. Patty, writing was my friend when I had no others to turn to, and now that I have plenty of suportive friends, writing is still the first thing I turn to. It is my comfort, my outlet, my means to communicate…so many things to me. You know I have always had people ask me that silly question “Would you rather be blind or deaf?” I never had an answer to that. But I was thinking about it the other day, and decided that I would far rather be deaf, because I could not live without reading and writing. I just can’t imagine being without those things.

  4. Dear J,

    I am a vicitm of child sexual abuse myself and it has taken me more than 20 years to start writing about it. I admire your courage to write. I t is also difficult for me to read at times, but I take it slow and read slowly especially stories of sexual abuse because I have such great fear of the unknown (that what will unfold next). It is like physiotherapy for me, one step at a time, I have started writing about my life and it has opened many blocks and at the same time it has healed me….. keep writing as I send you strength and courage


  5. WOW – lookin at things from this prospective is more of a WOW. I never thought of Paper as bein my friend when I was abused, but it makes awesome sinse b/c I write poetry and articles pertainin to my life so paper IS and CAN BE a friend to ANY who have been abused’ …Thank ya for this insight

  6. Sathya, I have taken it pretty slow with my reading/writing, and recovery in general. I started writing about 10 years ago with mostly metaphors. I would talk about thunder crashing to the ground as a way to represent panic attacks I was having, and different things like that were I didn’t feel as overwhelmed writing it. Over time I have gotten more comfortable and now I am ok to write about even the more disturbing details of my abuse. I’m sure with time you will get more comfortable writing about you past. Just remember to go at your own pace. If something is bothering you and you feel ready to express it then writing is a great option.

  7. Jackie, I am so glad that you enjoy using writing in your healing. It’s an amazing thing, isn’t it. I never used to think of it as a healing tool either. It was just something that I always did. However recently, over this last summer, I have become aware of exactly how much I use writing in my life. I don’t believe I would be doing nearly as well as I am if I didn’t have this as a way to express myself. Thanks for commenting Jackie, hugs!

  8. Hi Jennifer!
    Love your blog post about writing! I have used writing for a long time, I still journal almost daily. I love the breakthroughs that come from letting my thoughts flow on paper and as you say, the healing benefits too. I love the freedom and the privacy and the “me-ness” of it.
    Thank you for reminding me of all these things! (and congrats on your first solo blog post!)
    Hugs, Darlene

  9. I always thought about writing something fictional. I thought about writing a story of the childhood I wished I had. I even thought about writing a fictional story of what I wanted to happen to my stepdad and life after the abuse stopped. This blog has definitely sparked something in me to start writing again. A few years ago, you couldn’t find a blank piece of paper in my room except the anticipating pages in my journal. But, I stopped writing after some things this past year. After reading this blog, I feel that motivation kicking in to pick up my pen and journal and get back at it. Writing definitely helps. Writing has always been my best tool of communication, even with myself. Thanks for sharing Jenn.

  10. Jennifer, I just want to say thank you. I want to say more and somehow have it express all the emotion I felt when I read this I’m not sure that’s possible. My inner child is screaming and I keep shutting her down. I let little bits and pieces escape here and there but its never quite enough. Sometimes I suppose the road to healing is just to know that there isn’t one way to be free. I don’t know that writing is truly the best thing for me. Something is though and I hope to find it. I know that reading your words made me smile. Thanks for sharing. Your awesome.

  11. Writing is what’s kept me alive and is a huge outlet for me to express my thought processes, pain, anger, helplessness etc. It gets stuff out of my system safely. Without being able to write and be creative I’d be really stuck and I probably wouldn’t still be alive. It is such a blessing to be able to write, whether it’s poems or anything really. Now I have my blog sites they give me an even greater outlet. I find so much strength and encouragement from writing and sharing honestly with myself and with others. Writing is should a helpful tool.

  12. Oops I just noticed the typo on my above comment – * WRITING IS SUCH A HELPFUL TOOL*

  13. ‘SOMETHING that needs to come out—some emotion that has been long trapped inside of me that is finally ready to surface. I can feel a voice deep down inside of me screaming, begging to be heard. When I write I provide a platform for that voice (my inner child) to speak out, to say all the things she was never allowed to say while being abused’
    I’m having a difficult time allowing this without judging. I can hear all these angry voices and they’re in me. So the details that I am remembering aren’t coming out, just surfacing in my mind. I want to write/tell them. I’ve been able to say ‘this happened and that happened’ in regards to the events of my life. But everything before I was 9 is all metaphor still -‘thunder crashing’ like you say. I can’t seem to say, well I can’t seem to say what it is I’ve remembered. I don’t want to, I don’t understand and I don’t like it

  14. Wow Louise! You just wrote what I probably never would have thought of writing! You put words to exactly what I feel. I can also relate to what Chalet said. For me, it’s always been, “I was sexually abused.” and that was it. It never went any further than that. sorry, I don’t know what else to say here.

  15. I have a question that I hope isn’t going to sound off-kilter, but why do some people get to write a whole blog while others only get to write in the Response section?
    I’m only asking, b/c I took professional writing courses, in both poetry and short story writing, which means I like writing. Before I took the courses though, I’d already written reams of poems and a few short stories.
    My editor, who was a man, didn’t like my accounts of abuse though-didn’t believe them is a better description-so he told me it was “inappropriate” to write about sexual abuse.
    I told him to tell Stephen King that, in Gerald’s Game he writes 300 flippin’ PAGES about the same type of abuse I was trying to write about, and the conversation degenerated from there into hostile feelings. Then I stopped writing about all of it, and haven’t written a thing since that event occurred.

  16. Vicki,
    We have a submissions tab for those who would like to submit blogs. We have certain requirements, but very little of it has to do with writing skills. You can find the info in that section. Let me know if you have any questions.

  17. Luise & Mindy – I started telling people I was abused in no detail about 10 years before I was ready to really talk about it. The first bit of opening up I did was like planting a seed, and I had to wait until all the conditions were right before it grew. Healing is a process and we are all at different stages, The great part is that you are starting the journey tp getting better and you know there is hope.

  18. Unfortunately, I don’t understand what a Submissions tab is, or at least I couldn’t find it when I did a full search of the site by titles.
    They used to call me User Error when I worked at Microsoft’s Help Desk (answering phones and giving the questions to qualified computer techs.) They were right as far as internet is concerned. I taught to myself and don’t even remember what a tab is. But I searched every title and couldn’t find one that said submissions.
    I have very few poems about the pain. I keep trying to write a positive outcome, b/c that’s what everyone has always told me to focus on.
    They’ve been so rabid about forcing the idea into me that, when I even try to write something negative, I feel like I’m being the world’s most horrendous person.

  19. Vicki you can post your poems in the discussion board any time. I would love to read them. I think its fine if they don’t have a happy ending. Abuse is a terrible thing and you don’t have to sugar coat it. If you ever WANT to write a happy ending I would love to hear that to, but it isn’t needed.

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