Writing is a way to get something that is in you, out of you.
There once was a time, thirty-five years ago, when I went to work every day and marveled at how possible it was to do virtually nothing all day and have it go unnoticed. What I did instead of working was sit at my desk trying to get rid of my extreme feelings and still act normal, because I guess I didn’t feel awful enough to not care about appearances anymore. I just sat at my desk writing. Writing is a way to get a thing that is not exactly concrete, from inside your body to outside your body. Apparently the act of putting a representation of it on a piece of paper feels cathartic. Writing is a way to unload feelings and express them because they no longer reside in your body and mind, but instead on a piece of paper where they can be seen by someone else. You are no longer alone if you put it on a piece of paper. So that’s what I did. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote.
The weird thing is though, that I was so miserable, and so insecure, that I dared not write anything anyone would ever see lest they judge it or be upset by it or react. I couldn’t risk letting anyone know what I was thinking, or feeling because who knew what terrible thing would happen then. But yet I kept writing and writing because I had to. I had to get it out. So instead of writing words and stringing sentences together that might mean something, I wrote only the first letter of each word that I was thinking at the time. No kidding, just pages and pages of pure gibberish made up of the first letter of each word I would have written if I’d had the nerve to say out loud on paper my thoughts. Instead they were kind of encrypted. To protect the innocent.
I was guilty of nothing more than having extreme feelings I couldn’t manage without some way to cope. So writing it was. I coped through writing. I probably ate or burned the potentially crackable coded pages I wrote endlessly before I found more productive ways to carry on.
So all of this is to say that I feel better now. The proof of that is in the idea that I am working on a book about my life where I write down and share all kinds of things I once felt sure were too secret to say.