I have been opening this page for a month now, and closing it immediately for a lack of how to say what I didn’t know I was feeling.
Does that make sense?
I hope not, because it shouldn’t.
You see, I’m a writer. I’ve always been a writer. If you were to enter my closet you would find never ending shelves of journals, notebooks, and unsent letters to the demons I was too scared to face. If you were to open these journals, you would see the inner workings of a quiet little girl with a bullseye on her heart, trying to navigate the complexities of a soul beyond her years, trying to find the answers that she couldn’t learn in classrooms, trying to understand the way her heart felt things just a little bit differently. A little girl who couldn’t bring herself to cry at funerals but would pace the floors at the chance of someone taking offense to something she had said… three days ago. A little girl who knew she had a voice, but who never thought she was worthy enough to have it heard.
But the way the pen hit the paper was like the way an old friend knows the way to your soul, no matter what person you’ve become. The words on the paper never judged, were never offended, never laughed. And never once did they fail that little girl. Until now.
I’ve never faced a single challenge in my life that words couldn’t fix. When my heart and my head couldn’t come to a consensus about the way I was feeling, words knew. When no other person knew the weight I was carrying, words knew. When I didn’t even know there was something to know, words knew.
But, as I come to this crossroads in my life, I feel my heart breaking for the words that no longer know me. The intensity of the emotion and the weight of this hurt can no longer fall into marks on my paper. It’s like standing in the middle of a storm. There’s thunder and lightning and hail falling down like bullets. It’s the most terrifying and immense natural disaster you’ve ever witnessed, and you’re standing in the middle of it with your camera. You click the capture button furiously, trying to capture the lightning as it strikes the ground before you. But when you later look at your pictures, you have nothing. No lightning, no rain, no hail, no dark sky. All you have is a dull, gray, grain filtering across your screen. And you’re devastated. You swear you felt the hail smack across your skin, you felt the electricity saturate the ground you were standing on, you shook as the thunder rocked the earth. But now, you can’t even tell if the storm was real or imagined, and you can never make sense of it all, ever. That’s how this feels.
Does it need to makes sense, though? Is it necessary to match these sensations to a set of letters on my screen? Do I need to rely on language for validation? Or is their poetry in not knowing?
Perhaps the poetry is found when words are absent. Perhaps poetry goes beyond what words can say. Perhaps poetry happens when the words just don’t understand. Perhaps poetry is the desperate desire to describe that which has no name. The beasts without faces lurking in our subconscious.
As I come to a close on this, I have to admit that none of the words above have successfully communicated what I needed them to. They did not capture what I needed them to, or made any of this any more clear. Most of them are run together sentences and ideas stitched up by commas and periods. Maybe one day it will make sense Maybe one day it won’t. But this is step one in changing my life.
This is step one.