Why writing feels dangerous
How do I write when life is still a numbed-out muddle?
Last night I read about a woman who couldn’t get in touch with sensations in her body because she felt disconnected. Numb.
I relate to her. All my life I’ve experienced numbing out—sometimes on purpose; other times as the general go-to mode of my body. That means I feel out-of-place, lost, or just not interested in the vulnerability of connecting.
Years of neglect also hang out in my body. No wonder I get weary and can’t always stay awake emotionally. Perhaps some part of me has lost its memory or its ability to function with and for me.
And so I move on to something else instead of sitting with it. Or wondering about it, loving or even soothing it. Or welcoming it as a major part of the woman I’ve been and have become.
I’m a writer. I want to connect with what’s going on inside me, not just with thoughts running through my mind. I want to listen to myself, speak from within myself. Yet I’ve guarded so much for so long.
Can numbness lead to death? I don’t know. Perhaps I’m hiding from my voice. Sometimes I’m apprehensive about what I might discover or write and then let go. Even before I understand it fully.
From the moment I became a living human being, You’ve been there. Even when I was too terrified to be there. Too terrified to sit quietly with whatever was going on inside this woman I keep calling ‘me.’
Am I afraid right now? I want to believe You hold me close and won’t let me stray far from home. Yet I still think it’s my job to keep myself from straying. Maybe that’s why writing feels dangerous. My words are out there. I can’t control how they’re read or used or abused. Or heard and dissected.
A voice seems more fragile than a body. More connected to soul. More vulnerable to attack. Yet when I’ve done my best to be truthful, and have given it away so that the river moves on within and through me, I’m not sure what else I can do except build a dam.
I know about dams. I’ve constructed many in my lifetime. Little dams. Big dams. Complex, contorted, impenetrable dams. Trying desperately to escape the truth about me.
And what if the truth about me is beautiful? Lovely? What then? Have I killed it?
A small Christmas cactus blossom rests in front of me on my desk. A lovely, fading pinkish magenta. Its fragile petals look like limp gauze wings folded around its core. It isn’t ugly; it’s dying. Doing what lovely flowers do after giving themselves away.
It’s the only way to live. Not forever, but in this present moment. My calendar lies to me daily. It promises more than it or I can deliver. I want to live this one day as if there were no tomorrow. No more, and no less.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 15 January 2018, reposted 10 December 2021
Photo found at pxhere.com