Recently, my eldest sister mentioned that I have a knack for putting my emotions into words without retelling the story behind them. I was glad that she noticed this — particularly in my writing — as it is intentional and necessary at the present time. Her comment came after she caught up on my latest posts in the This Is 31 series, which admittedly has been mentally and emotionally draining for me at times.
As some of you may know, when I set out to complete this series, my aim was twofold: to unearth hidden parts of my story and to work towards the possibility of complete healing. All things considered, I knew that without some level of censorship in the former, the latter would be near impossible. Allow me to explain . . .
The Power Struggle
I shared with my sister that I purposely try not to include too many details about my experiences in my writing for one very important reason: to win the power struggle. This struggle is found in my will to share my experiences (particularly hurtful ones) without being overtaken by the details of them. Re-hashing the details always has the potential to stir up too many emotions that make me feel as though I’m reliving the moments where I first felt them all over again. Given my history, this can be unhealthy and unproductive. Thus, when I sit down to write, I do several things:
- First, I assess my present state — If I’m in a bad head space, I choose not to write. Period.
- Second, I remind myself of the big picture — Once I have it in view, I can better posture my heart as I prepare to write.
- Third, I choose my words carefully to: (1) maintain some level of privacy, (2) guard against anger, bitterness, and slander, and (3) help my readers get to the heart of the matter sooner as they walk through this journey with me
I haven’t perfected these steps, but like most things in life, it’s a work in progress. Regardless of the amount of time these steps take away from the actual writing process, I make them a priority because my healing is a priority. Words have so much power and I run the risk of relinquishing my own power if I fail to censor my words in my writing . . . if I choose to reanimate painful experiences.
In essence, I share just enough to get whatever it is that I need to get off my chest, then I move forward.
How do you prepare to write about difficult topics? Let me know in the comments.