My New Year’s Resolution was to promise myself that I wasn’t going to try and destroy myself everyday. I wasn’t going to wake up and want to be dead, feel like I’m drowning in a pool I will never be able to swim in, and create a dark storm cloud over my head when in actuality one didn’t even exist.
I’d always struggled with things like that; trying to get my brain to let go of everything that hurt me instead of letting it build up until you wanted to fall apart. I never spoke about feeling hurt, only letting the sadness wallow in my eyes or burn in the back of my throat, never talking back, rather getting quiet instead.
It was easier, in my mind, to behave like this.
Behaving like this meant silence.
Behaving like this meant no one could look into your head and see everything that you were feeling, everything that made you weak that you didn’t want anyone else to see.
I would go out of my way to make sure that no one else saw the hurt on my face, the sadness in my heart, or the deflated way I sunk into myself when I got overwhelmed.
A girl with a lot of broken pieces it seems, has a lot of trouble keeping them all together sometimes. There are days when the pieces slip, or when you can’t find the next slot to slide one into another and you’re left with pieces that don’t align and won’t sync up; obstacles to jump over when you’re trying to heal from the past, and forced to build a future on an uneven foundation.
This is what drew me to writing so much. Writing allows a canvas that you do not have to have a steady artist hand for, or the ability to move and understand music like a musician or a dancer. As someone who refused to let her thoughts out in reality, a place to bleed them onto paper became a sanctuary where I was unafraid to do just that: bleed out.
Writing is about taking the richness of your own emotion and making it into something tangible enough for another person to read it, feel it, and somehow relate to experiences that they may not have even had on their own. Feeling and emotion is a universal human complex, we both rise and fall in cycles, learning love and loss and highs and lows at our own times, but learning it all just the same.
I thought it was a magical art for a long time, making images or stories or people out of words, and bringing them to life for others. It was like being a god in your own right, a world all your own to change and carve exactly as you please. For a while, we can play god, spew all we care about onto the paper, and for once in our lives, someone listens while we make sense of what’s going on inside our heads.
Yet, with all of this, writing also serves to make writers into their own demons.
The problem with feeling so much, and feeling so immensely, with every experience and every interaction and every person being a source of memories to hold on to, everything builds, everything collides, and we get overwhelmed.
We have to feel so hard and so thoroughly to convey the message to anyone else, that every poor interaction makes a mountain out of a molehill, every expression on another’s face becomes a photograph etched into your memory, and every night spent locked away in a room trying to find the right words to paint that internalized emotion is another night you spend away from all the people you love trying to make yourself understand who you are for the sake of somebody else.
For a public that will never know you, but you write for them anyway.
For a publisher’s income, and the meager spot in your bank account.
For a human who’s story will help them, but will destroy you.
That in itself is the writer’s paradox.
Our artistic pursuits will be our greatest successes and failures.
Our passions that define us will also be our greatest downfalls.
With every drop that we bleed to the paper, we run the risk of one day running dry of the memories that make the deep red ink flow from our veins to the paper.
The tears we cannot cry and that blood that refuses to spill will one day be the defining marks of an artist who just couldn’t figure out how to give the world everything they had, and save themselves along the way.
But here I sit, writing away, while the love of my life sits on the floor of my room, begging once again to know what's wrong and why I’ve gotten so quiet over the past few hours, and the words that come so easily to paper, I simply can’t formulate for the person.
There’s a quote, supposedly by Charles Bukowski that reads:
“Find what you love and let it kill you. Let it drain from you your all. Let it cling onto your back and weigh you down into eventual nothingness. Let it kill you, and let it devour your remains.
For all things will kill you, both slowly and fastly, but it's much better to be killed by a lover.”
And I guess that’s the choice we all have to make someday. Discover what we’re good at and whether or not we’re going to let what we love kill us. Whether that be a person, place, thing, habit, or hobby, someday your greatest passion is going to destroy whatever you let get caught in the crossfire.
What you do with that idea is up to you.
For now, I guess I will continue to write about it until I come up with a solution to say.
Poulson is an editor for The Millennial Times.