Like many writers, I have periods where poetry and essay spill from my fingertips as if I am just a conduit for words poured into me by the universe. A vessel.
I also have times when I stare at the stark white screen while the cursor blinks reproachfully at me, taunting me when I am dry and depleted, wracked with anxiety, listening to the devil on my shoulder hiss imposter and wannabe in my ear.
I have not written much the last few months, but when I have, I have written so I don’t scream until my windows break, until my eardrums bleed. I have written because I have been stirred and shaken until my stomach is clenched in knots and words pouring out on the screen are less destructive than the sledgehammer I want to slam repeatedly into my walls, until I am so exhausted that my racing thoughts are stilled, my arms ache more than my heart, and there is a brief moment of relief.
One of the greatest compliments I have received as a writer is being told that I write what others are feeling but cannot find the words for. That I write what is raw and most deeply hidden.
I am a selfish writer. I write far more for myself than any audience. I write to process the world events hammering at me, to understand my own deepest feelings, to lance the festering wounds that slow my step. I have long stopped worrying if my writing is pretty, is palatable. It digs deep and unearths the ugly, the naked, the primal because I need it to.
One of the hardest but most important journeys I have ever undertaken is to look directly into my own abyss- my deepest fears, my fury, my worst tendencies, my self-destructiveness, my ingrained prejudices (internalized racism, sexism, classism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia, etc.), my destructive thoughts, and ugly judgments of others. I have struggled to name my demons, acknowledge them, wrestle with them, actively learn, grow, and change when I can, and finally, to accept myself and my failings when I can’t.
It feels essential that we dig deep, know ourselves, truly see and wrestle with our own demons. We must know them- and ourselves- in order to combat them in the world around us.
© 2020 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All Rights Reserved