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April 4, 2021

How I Get through the Messy, Painful, Broken Times.

What made you want to be a writer?

Whenever someone asks me this question, I wish there was a simple, compact answer.

But that wouldn’t be real. So here’s the long, raw, and complicated truth.

Writing is not something I dreamed about when I was young. I rarely wrote—and when I did, teachers said my creations were “too passionate,” which makes me laugh now. If you told me in my youth that I’d spill my guts in blogs online, I would have never believed you.

Writing found me, not in the best of times, not in joy or perfection or contentment.

Writing found me, smack-dab in the middle of a panic attack on a crowded train in New York City.

Back then, life was hard. Each day left traces of battle scars and pushing myself harshly to get through the hours was all I knew how to do. It was utterly exhausting—pushing down so many feelings and holding it all in. Back then, though, I was seeking something.

Even in the lost-at-sea dizziness of it all, I found a way back home.

One day, during a particularly crowded, sweaty train ride back to my tiny apartment in Queens, I was having the spinning-out-of-control sensation of my familiar foe, panic. Yet, I felt oddly inspired to try something other than my usual descent into a pit of misery.

I started frantically jotting words on my phone’s notepad as my heart pounded and my fingers shook like thin leaves in a howling wind. My writing was nonsensical; it wasn’t anything particularly pretty or poetic. But it helped me. 

It brought a sense of calm. And clarity.

Suddenly, from the tornado-like twists of panic, unruly enough to give anyone whiplash, I could hear myself.

There was a profound sense of spaciousness.

For the first time ever, I could hear my voice. What I needed. What I liked. What hurt. What felt good.

I never knew any of that before, oh no—I was used to disappearing into others and becoming what I thought they wanted me to be.

But this ritual of writing—even just to ease my panic on the train—changed everything. So I kept at it. I kept honing and practicing and failing and loving and bleeding onto the page. And I still practice—to this day. Sometimes the writing turns out polished and publishable and sometimes it doesn’t, but I don’t care either way.

Honestly, I love that writing found me in the worst of times, in the broken times, in pain and agony, in trauma, in heartbreak.

Creativity showed me something the earth knows so well through the expression of seasons, something about transformation I still live and breathe.

You can make art from anything. Even panic. Even pain. Especially darkness.

In the fertile soil of just getting those goddamn words onto the page, we write spells to free ourselves from the chains that once bound us.

We write revelations and revolutions.

We write our freedom, word by word, even when the ink swirls with tears.

We cast out bullsh*t expectations and banish who we are not. 

We become brave to sit with the most tender, powerful parts of our being.

We learn that it’s okay to feel whatever we f*cking feel.

We learn that it is beautiful to fall apart sometimes. As those tender threads unravel, they lead us to the ancient heartbeat within us, the thing that is soft and wild and wise. The thing that speaks to mountains and hears the secrets of trees. Yes, it’s vulnerable and shaky at times. But it’s so strong. It’s like the core of the earth. Hot. Molten. Resilient as hell.

We write our healing. We write ourselves back to life.

I’m not perfect or one hundred percent healed now; I’m still human, after all. But I will never stop exploring the landscapes of a creative life. It is rich and baffling at times; it is enchanting, messy, and deeply refreshing. There is never a dull moment.

And I will never forget the way words embraced me when I was not at my best. I will never forget the love writing gave me—the ability to see myself for more than a broken woman.

It gave me the ability to process pain through story. The chance to connect with hearts of others who were also hurting—as though we whispered to each other across oceans with a resounding chorus of, “You are not alone.” 

~

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