I Just Want to Feel Something! Meditations on Writing and Pain

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The last poem that I wrote was when I was in college. I was a prolific writer when I was young. Everyone knew that was the path for me. I remember living with my dad in the FL Keys, and carrying my notebook with me everywhere. I was constantly writing. I would have phrases pop in my head, and I would not be able to do anything else until I wrote it all down. The poetry would flow through me effortlessly.

This continued through my high school years. Say what you will about the drama of puberty, but it was incredible for my writing. My writing continued even through my first marriage. I didn't work, so I had time for my thoughts. Even after my first child, I would write, though it was less frequent. There was no sudden ending. It just happened that I got busy with life.

I suppose part of growing up in building the defenses to help you function. I remember the first time my heart was broken, my chest felt as though I had been stabbed. My God, even now, I can remember thinking that I would never recover. The wonderful thing is, though, that you do survive. As my family is so fond of saying, what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. Indeed, each laceration built up scar tissue, so instead of a psychic mortal blow, it is more like an unpleasant stomach ache. I almost long for a soul-wrenching cry sometimes, rather than a muted response. At least then, the energy is released. Instead, I built up my walls, and lost my writing.

Curiously, I have been meditating on pain and the inability of so many to be in touch with their pain, process it, and release it. Many people that I come across turn to self-medication through drugs (both pharmacological and illicit) and alcohol. I would also include sex, shopping, gambling, and eating. I admit, at times, I have turned to this myself. We, as a society, have tried to anesthetize ourselves from any strong feelings whatsoever. I argue, though, that it is only by feeling, that we can ever grow.

I once heard that the psychologists believed that depression was the result of a distorted view of reality. It is now believed that depression is the result of seeing life as it actually is, and being unable to trick yourself into being ok with it. As an optimist, myself, I suppose this means that I am the most self-delusional. It makes sense when you consider that greatest authors and artists in the world, were also the most tortured.

A happy consequence of detaching and looking inward is a re-connection with my feelings, and the return of my muse. I am blessed to come from a long line of very sensitive and artistic people. This sensitivity can assist me in making deep connections with people, and having a clarity of insight that borders on precognition at times. As with all blessings, though, it does come at a price. The price is pain.

So, here I sit on a Saturday night with my sweet pup at my feet. The house is silent. I hear distant rumblings of thunder, the soft hum of the ceiling fan, the clicking of the keyboard as I type. I love the quiet. I am soothed and comforted by the lack of human engagement right now. I realize that this is what I have been seeking for so long: peace and quiet, and the return of my writing.

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