I didn’t want to write this post. I wanted to be stronger. I wanted to be professional. I wanted to hold this pain inside and not let my vulnerability show.
If I can’t handle life’s combination of good and bad events without shattering, how will I survive the huge swings between excitement and disappointment involved with being an author?
However, it had already been a month of emotional extremes for me, what with my grandmother’s death followed by a request from Pitch Your Shorts. At least those events were spread out by more than a week.
Now double the size of that emotional rollercoaster hill and add a third traumatic event and squish it all into 5 days, and you’ll have an idea of what last week was like for me.
I tried to pretend that everything was normal, that I was okay. I reposted an old blog last Tuesday, a funny one no less. I responded to comments with good humor. I concentrated on last Wednesday’s good news for Thursday’s post, but those who were on Twitter Thursday evening started seeing the cracks.
I posted a tweet:
“Apologies to all I haven’t thanked for RTs this week. I had *another* death in the family on Monday, and this week has been brutal.”
Replies poured in with sympathy, more than I can acknowledge here without adding several paragraphs to this post. Even then I tried turning it around and focusing on the good news of how Rachel Graves and I had our workshop accepted for the National Conference of Romance Writers of America.
After that, I thought I could soldier through in silence. I was wrong. And now I’m here, unable to pretend any longer.
Last Monday, a close friend died after rapid decline over a 48-hour period. She had been there for me—for decades. When I was away from my support system for the first time after college. When I escaped from an abusive relationship. When I landed on the West Coast with no family or friends within two thousand miles.
She was also there with me when my life turned around. When I found happiness. When I finally had a family of my own. When I started writing.
Yes, she was a cat. I know some of you are rolling your eyes now, and I don’t blame you. I know some of you are dealing with the aftereffects of car accidents, friends or family members with cancer, a sick parent, and so forth, and I don’t mean to belittle anyone else’s pain here.
However, my cat was a member of my family. Not in a shallow, carry-her-around-like-a-baby way, but in a she-was-there-for-me-when-no-one-else-was way.
And she didn’t just die. I had to make the decision to have the vet put her to sleep after it became obvious nerve damage would prevent her from ever walking, or even standing again. Combined with her other serious health issues, I logically know it was time, but having to make that decision still tortures me when I stop to think about it. I killed her.
I cradled her in my arms, where she snuggled close and purred while I failed to protect her from the needle heralding her death. I died a bit inside that day, and I’ll never quite be the same.
Those emotions left me on shaky ground for the rest of the week. Last Wednesday’s good news about the RWA workshop gave me something else to think about, but it also meant I didn’t have time to process the bad or celebrate the good.
Then on Friday, major financial bad news hit my family. I fell to pieces. It didn’t matter that I know we’ll figure out a way to be okay. That things will probably work out for the best. That I have faith things happen for a reason. The extreme down-up-down of the week was beyond my ability to hold inside.
So here I am, trying to find a way to keep going, to keep writing, to keep myself together by pouring my emotions into this blog post. I doubt I’ll even post it. It’s too personal, too much an invasion of my privacy, too…revealing of my weaknesses.
Then again, maybe I will post it. Maybe the message is that just when we think life is too crazy for us to write, maybe that’s the exact time we should be writing.
We all know writing can be therapeutic. Some of us try to deny how much of ourselves and our issues end up on the page. Some of us do a better job at twisting the truth so it’s not “us” anymore. Some of us write such edgy content that we don’t want people to think about our state of mind while they read.
But sometimes we might need to embrace that therapeutic aspect. Maybe it’s better to write for therapy than to not write at all, withdrawing into an empty shell. And maybe the ultimate truth is that writing—all kinds of writing—can help us be better writers.
When you’re dealing with emotional events, do you withdraw from writing or does it make you want to write more? Are you able to write under those circumstances? Has writing helped you deal with situations? What else keeps you going when you’re facing chaos or trauma?Pin It