I have never been much of a chatterer; I have always been more of a listener. As a child, because I was often left alone for days at a time, I had no one to talk to except my God. There was no other human being with whom I could converse. I was also raised in a time in which adults often stated: ‘Children are to be seen and not heard’. In my thirties, I was trained to be a good listener and I worked in the field of ‘listening’ as a counselor. Though I listened well to many over the years, when it was my time to speak I had no one to turn to. I felt invisible most of my life. I was the typical ‘lost child’ in a very dysfunctional home.
Approximately one year ago, I began to write. I had never been disciplined enough to keep a journal or a diary. The few attempts I had made to do so over the years were quickly abandoned. I had not anticipated the hurdles I have encountered once I did begin to write articles to express my Grief. I had never expected the opposition and outright attacks I became confronted with by doing so. Once my book: ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ had been released, the intensity of the attacks increased. Nevertheless, I continued. I had finally discovered a way to express myself, my pain. I prayed about doing so and I essentially told my Lord that I would continue as long as even one person seemed to benefit from what I shared in black and white.
“I will promise you this. Your favorite story, whatever it might be was written for one reader.”
– Character of Brian from movie 5 to 7
When I was unsure of what to write about, always something would ‘pop-out’ making a topic apparent. I would have no idea as to what I would say; I simply prayed as I wrote and just kept on writing until my mind went blank. That is how I knew I had completed an article. There were times when I did not want to write about certain things. Either I knew some folks would not receive it with open arms, or I knew the pain I would have to personally get in touch with and embrace in order to write about a certain matter.
“The thing you are most afraid of to write…write that.” Nayyirah Waheed
There are days when nothing presents itself. At such moments, I question whether or not I have ‘Writer’s Block’, or if it’s simply a day of rest. I have often prayed to know whether or not this season of writing has come to a close. Yet, I have continued to write because it is my way of communicating to the outside world what is on my heart at the moment. We all express our thoughts, our pain, in different ways. Writing has become a ‘safe’ way for me to do so. I appreciate the comments I do receive because we all need feedback. Without that feedback, I might as well go back to simply talking to myself and my Lord alone. Though I am comfortable in doing so because it has been essentially ‘the story of my life’, receiving feedback encourages me. It helps me to know that I am not alone. When someone comments that what I wrote was exactly what they needed to hear that day, tears form. Such feedback is its own reward. It confirms for me that I was hearing God correctly; it tells me that there was purpose in what I wrote. I have come to understand that writing can be a wonderful blessing, howbeit so painful, at times. Because of the countless times I have read and re-read the poems my son has left behind, I have learned to ‘read behind the lines’. I understand now the words written by the Author, Bell Hooks:
“Writing is my passion. Words are the way to know ecstasy. Without them life is barren. The poet insists, language is a body of suffering and when you take up language you take up the suffering too. All my life I have been suffering for words. Words have been the source of the pain and the way to heal. Struck as a child for talking, for speaking out of turn, for being out of my place. Struck as a grown woman for not knowing when to shut up, for not being willing to sacrifice words for desire. Struck by writing a book that disrupts. There are many ways to be hit. Pain is the price we pay to speak the truth.”
If you are one who for whatever reason has found themselves imprisoned in silence, I pray you will grab that pen and paper or start clicking away at the keyboard. Writing can be a key to setting yourself free. If only one reader ‘gets it’, you have contributed and passed on something of value. Somehow, some way, your pain and grief has been transformed into a blessing to another. No price tag can be placed on such a gift.
(((HUGS))) Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
Articles on WordPress.com: https://wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.
Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/
Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))