Writing in The Dark

Writing in The Dark

How do you write healing?

There was a time when I awakened with an urgency to help others heal. Through writing, I would lay bare the first fruits that God poured into me upon the rising of a new sun. Oftentimes, the inspiration came to me first, beckoning me to see someone or something differently; to be more attentive to those around me; to stand in the gap for someone else somehow. This ritual made me feel connected to something greater. I felt useful, like my gifts mattered; I felt valued, like my words mattered; I felt radiant, like my purpose mattered. At that time, I felt as if I was doing precisely what I was called to do—affirm, love, validate, or help someone along their journey, somehow. I wrote healing … or so I thought.

Somehow, I had moved far away from writing. I had become eerily afraid of writing publicly. I was now afraid of my words sounding hollow, insincere, superficial, or lacking if I returned to the page. Something happened, but what?

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

Attempt after repeated attempt, I failed to write. I failed to find the courage to write or speak the words that had become dark. I was embarrassed and ashamed that I had been feeling off. I was no longer inspiring the world. I was no longer writing to heal myself, let alone anyone else. If I dared to maintain a façade that I was writing to inspire, then I would have to declare myself an imposter, so I decided not to write for far too long.

I was not good at pretending I was okay.

I was out of alignment with what gave me purpose and fulfillment. I was chasing what I thought I wanted rather than embracing what I already had. My children were getting older, and I thought that my being a writer and a full-time mom within the home was wearing out its usefulness. Truth is I wanted what I thought was a “real job”. I also wanted a level of financial say-so in order to feel like I was contributing to my family. Being a writer was not paying the bills.

So, I set out to pursue full-time work and got it, but it damn near cost me everything. Not writing cost me dearly. Like an older car in need of constant repair, the costs only mounted. My emotional, mental, and physical health suffered. My marriage did not escape unscathed either. Forget about self-care. I did what I had to do to make it through the day but could not wear a mask beyond that. I was not good at pretending I was okay. I struggled with being present in most relationships due to the complexity that I introduced to an otherwise tranquil, happy, and writerly life. By evidence of my actions, writing was no longer my priority and I grieved not writing.

Truth is, the further away I strayed from my gift of being a writer, the harder it was to return to it. It was as if I had buried my gift somewhere—under papers, behind a closed office door, within the desk drawer, in the safe with a combination lock. But I forgot the combination. The longer I stayed away, the harder it was to call myself a writer. I implored spirit to give me meaningful words to write, to just give me back my gift already, but in order to do so, I would have to write through darkness, and writing through darkness was hard work. There was no quick fix. Writing my unbridled truth, albeit dark, was the only way that I could find true healing.

Writing in the dark allowed me to remember the combination which was living intentionally, practicing gentleness and compassion with myself, and not beating myself up for making mistakes. These were the rituals that restored my gift, allowed me to write again in earnest, and provided me with the inspiration, love, and clarity that I missed.

Writing my unbridled truth, albeit dark, was the only way that I could find true healing.

My healing required me to write even as I healed. It was painful. Getting my gift back required me to reject my mask, acknowledge uncomfortable truths, and forgive myself. Writing is an arduous task, and to do it “right” means doing it true even through the darkness.