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 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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