I’ve had this mug with the most excellent quote from Dear Sugar (also known as Cheryl Strayed) for a few years now. This morning I woke up with the motivation to take this quote to heart and make a public commitment to write like a mother fucker as I navigate a great loss and make my way to meaning and healing.
I’ve been feeling this crazy strong urge to write and write and write some more the last few days and weeks, which is strange after three of the quietest years I can remember in 15 years of blogging. I have several notes on my phone written on my train commte and 20+ googledocs with pieces in various states of completion.
I am at a major turning point as I face a heart shattering betrayal and figure out how to live a completely different life than the one I had planned when I moved to Portland. My heart is a mess of questions and emotions, some days peaceful in the acceptance of letting go, other days raging like a hurricane behind my eyes.
I am broken. I am picking up the pieces. And I decided to document the process as its happening, because I’m tired of hearing narratives of triumph that are wrapped up in a pretty package long after the mess is cleaned up and shaped into a tidy book or TEDTalk or web community.
What does it feel like when I’m sitting in the dark, questioning everything I believed in? What does it feel like when the craving to self medicate is so strong that I can’t stop thinking about the thing I want no matter how I try to distract myself from it, whether it’s an ice cream bar or a glass of wine? What would happen if I came here and wrote when the moments of grief or rage or craving become too much?
What does it take to overcome betrayal? What does my heart need in order to stay open and vulnerable? What does learning to set boundaries for the first time look and feel like?
What will the unraveling of blood lines and lineage tell me about the choices that led me here? What will they tell me about my incredible capacity for resilience posttraumatic growth?
What tools, teachers, and storytellers will accompany on my journey to wholeness?
Though I have taken similar journeys many times before, this is the first time that I am making a map of my healing as it happens, documenting the steps from fractured to wholeness.
The first step: write like a mother fucker.
Why publicly? I think I need to write for public consumption because it’s an antidote to my natural tendency to withdraw and hide away when life is painful (I am a Cancer Crab after all). It keeps the Invisible Girl from taking over when she’s afraid, and sharing here keeps me open and vulnerable when I almost believe the lie that isolation will bring comfort. I need to use my voice. I need to wrestle with my thoughts through composition, which is always different when it’s intended for others than it is when it is for myself. Journal writing is not the same as blogging, at least not for me. I try to combine my emotional vulnerability with writing as a craft, telling my story and seeking out the universal story to help me make meaning.
After recently making a terrible, necessary, and life altering choice in response to the betrayal, I desperately need to find meaning. I need to find the way that I will transform my extraordinary loss into something beautiful, like I always have before. This time my soul is telling me I need to do that here, on the digital page, as it’s unfolding. Maybe mapping my healing is the meaning, fated or created doesn’t really matter. What matters is finding my way to a vibrant, emotionally healthy, and deep engaged life.