What It Means
Updated: Sep 27, 2022
What it means to commit pen to paper, to type, to see my words on the page: Something has been excised, cut out of me, at least momentarily.
I've always been devoted to the discipline of keeping a journal, not because I am disciplined (though most people would attest that I am), but because writing loosens a valve on my anxiety, my confusion, my overwhelm.
"You have a lot of mental energy," someone once observed of me, and in a way, I'm proud of that: Ooh, mental energy! That means I'm smart! But we all know quantity does not always equal quantity. Sometimes, this "mental energy" prevents me from attaining clarity.
Someone in one of my Facebook writing groups submitted a vulnerable post today. She said that she was once a prolific writer but that she hasn't been able to write and that the joy of the act has been wrung out for her. She asked if others had suffered. I thought to answer. I mean, so much of writing and reading has been about that shared, intimate experience, the idea that we're not alone, even (or especially) in our most vulnerable moments.
But I didn't write back; so far, no one has. I wanted to have an answer. I wanted to say, "Me, too, and this is what I did. This is the bromide." And yet, I often despise that kind of realty tucked-in and buttoned-up approach to life, to writing. I don't respect its childishness. I could have shared. I could have said, "Yes! Me too! We all go through these times."
But I didn't. Sometimes, I stretch myself so far for people that I must retract and becomes stingy. I understand, I accommodate, I Gumby myself for the stranger, the colleague, the friend.
And then I can't see to leave a kind word on a Facebook post.