Funny thing about writing a blog. Days go by, sometimes weeks, and you have little to say. Then, all at once, things come up, and you have lots of things to write about. This is my third post today, and it's an important one.
In my "It Gets Better" video, one of the ways I recommended that young people deal with the bullying they're subjected to in school is to keep a journal. I suspect anyone who's never kept a journal, or written anything before, wouldn't understand why writing about how you feel is important.
Then I came upon this today, which illustrates, better than I could ever explain, the power of writing. The quote is from "Butches of Belfast, and then some," written by Ivan Coyote, and published in issue #479 of Xtra!, dated December 15, 2011.
Last month in Belfast. Writing workshop in a quiet old pub and theatre on a brick-lined lane in the downtown core. She walked in way early, wearing a flannel shirt, sensible pants and work boots. Didn't say much, but what she did say was that she came from a big family of storytellers, always with the stories them, but that she had never ever written anything down, on account of her terrible spelling and grammar. And I do mean terrible, she said.
About an hour later, after we all talked some about the importance of everyone's individual story, I told them all to just write for 15 minutes. Then I watched her, her shoulders set so fierce and arms determined, scribbling mercilessly onto page after page of a small lined journal, tears streaming unstopping and silent out of her eyes and down her open Irish face so hard. I don't know anything about what she wrote, and didn't ask, but holy, was it ever a thing to watch. To watch her write and cry like that. I could feel her relief in my own bones.
In writing, there's always the risk you'll feel the pain, go places you never wanted to--release the terror and the torment. Write it down. Honor your story. Honor yourself. Whether you're a bullied teen or an isolated, lonely senior, your story has value. Your words have value. You have value. Discover that today.
Write it down.
(To read the full piece from Ivan Coyote, one of my favorite columnists in Xtra!, please click here.)