Writing is Our Therapy
By Karen Ballum on October 06, 2011
"Writing has always been my way to absorb things; I often write out my troubles. It even crosses my mind that maybe this will be the time in my life when I finally have a chance to write for a living." p. 17
I spent a long time pretending I didn't want to write. Even when I created my first blog I only did it because my friend Cat had a blog and having one made it easier to make comments on her posts. I didn't feel like I had anything to say. At the time, I wasn't a particularly happy camper. I was bored by my first post-college job and taking a writing courses. I started to think about making changes -- big changes. I talked about them a little on blog and it helped me work through it in my head. A few months later I took the leap. When offered a voluntary layoff at work I jumped on it. A few weeks later found me in a new city looking for a new job.
I blogged about the things I was doing and my roommates, whom I found online and probably never would have lived with had I met them before agreeing to the lease. I started my book blog because there was nothing near our apartment building but the library. I was spending all my time in my room, reading books, looking for jobs and hiding from my roommates. I read. I wrote. I found a new job. It had "writer" in the title, something that was both thrilling and terrifying. I moved out. I spent my days immersed in words both professionally and recreationally.
Writing content for my blog has been a journey for me, even if I don't hit "publish" on half of the content I create. Reading about Dominique's first year after her job loss reminded me we're all on a journey. Maybe we're stuck in a relationship that's more a hedge maze than anything else, with dead ends and steps that need to be retraced as we try to find our way out of it. Writing can help us define a new identity. The act of writing down words can help us figure out what is holding us back from doing the things we want to do.
At times during that first year Dominique couldn't write. She tried. When she typed she'd miss letters. She couldn't force it to work. It was a heart wrenching experience and she distracted herself by getting things organized and digging in her garden. As her new life began to take form around her, she found her words returning.
"Miraculously, as soon as my books are organized and my desk is polished, as soon as my shovel hits the dirt, I begin to write again. Without missing keys. It is a pleasure to be reunited with words." p.165
I think for people like Dominique, and myself, to be disconnected from words is to be disconnected from ourselves. It's not just how we absorb our world, it's how to connect to it. Writing is our therapy and reading our meditation.
Maybe it's writing for you. Maybe it's gardening or baking or singing. What activity connects you to and helps you absorb your world?
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