Some stories don’t fit inside
a person’s mouth. Some stories
just have to tell themselves.
– mightwar: Unspoken
At the age of fourteen, I made a promise to myself.
I promised that I would never lie to myself about what I feel – even if I lied to others.
It was a significant moment in my life.
I had spent the afternoon perched on a windowsill, weighing the pros and cons of committing suicide.
That promise was a culmination of hours of processing: a decision about how I chose to face the trials that tested my spirit and left me mute.
More recently, I have met people who have read this blog, and have received feedback about what they think of my writing. Over and again, people have described my writing as ‘frank’ and ‘shocking’; and people have been applauding how ‘honest’ it is.
I’ve come away feeling a little startled.
It’s not that this perception of my work is new to me: many of you who have left comments (thank you kindly) have raised similar points. It’s just that being able to see people’s facial expressions whilst they make such comments has provided me with an opportunity to view how others are impacted by my – prior to this blog – private words.
I am here.
This is me.
I am presenting my self.
– mightwar: distinguishing Miles from Coltrane
And yes, people’s reactions to my words have startled me. I just wanted to share what I had written and get feedback if any was forthcoming.
But people’s expressions, they have chased my thoughts these last few weeks. Mainly because I’ve come to realise that the way I write impacts people as much as the words I put together.
And I realise that though I have written about the process of writing and why I do, I have never explained why it is that I write the way I do.
If I did not voice them,
my thoughts, my curses, my insecurities all,
they would drown me.
– mightwar: Nightmare Scenario
Words are important. And words have power: for by its very definition, a ‘word’ is “the smallest isolable meaningful element of the language”*.
And I am the smallest isolable meaningful element of my experience.
Therefore I use words to communicate the intricacies of what it is like to be me.
I use my words to describe and define my world and my self.
I write to process the anger and resentment that arise from offences, flaws and mistakes.
I write to celebrate all the occurrences that baffle and astound me; and those that send me out seeking.
I use my words to assemble my imaginings and emotions … until it is possible to read the shape of my thoughts.
It is an untidy and often ugly process. And for those of you who share my life, it can be a difficult exercise to view. But this is a necessary undertaking.
I made a promise you see; to a broken and weeping little girl.
I promised that I would not look away.
That I would bear witness to her existence.
That I would help her re-build herself when circumstances left her stripped and shivering and so frightened, that the pain erased her voice.
I promised that I would look at everything she showed of herself and not be shamed by her efforts to build herself into the person she wanted to be.
And so I continue to write: in the hope that in time, my words will bring me to that point where everything is forgiven.
My words are what I use to gift forgiveness to myself.
* Source: Collins English Dictionary
Image: Masks by humbleches © 2005
- Opening Chapter to My Autobiography
- Letter to My 14-Year Old Self
- Recovering With Grace
- Weekly Photo Challenge: The Hue of You
- Poetry Techniques
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AUTHOR: I am might war. I have a love of music, the written word, travel, Anime, polar bears, people and “sticking and colouring”.