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.

I am GreatFull!

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Blooming...Still!

My life is active and full as a wife, stay-at-home mother of three precocious, active children, cook, laundress (or washerwoman, as they used to say back in the day), chauffeur, homework helper, literary champion, nutritionist, lullaby master, wardrobe composer, and part-time fitness instructor. These are just a few of the hats that I normally get to wear.

So when I went in for surgery this past Monday, I was reminded that I would have to depend on others to fill in where I cannot.  This sometimes makes me feel limited and inadequate, especially as I recuperate at home, albeit slowly, at least according to my standards.  Believe it or not, my mind is even more active than my body, as I am always thinking of what’s “next” on the agenda.  Who needs what?  What needs to be done now?  Balancing the needs of the day while being prepared for what’s up ahead is something that I’m used to doing.  Hence, the realization that I don’t have the luxury of doing things “my way” during this time is alarming. Nonetheless, I must keep in mind that I am not sick.  Rather, I am being restored; healing; being made well.  Through these lenses, I am thankful for the mental reprieve, as well as the physical rest that is necessary for this restoration. I am Grateful!

Did I expect 5K readiness straight out the gate?  Of course not, but I certainly was not ready to admit that I could not carry on with “business as usual”, or to hear about the levels of healing required for “complete” wellness.  On a deeper level, however, I knew that I had to trust, that in order to be fully well, I had to also give up something, even if only for part of the time.  Moreover, I needed to take comfort in knowing that, I am at least in a position to get the help that I need, from Angels near and far. These friends and neighbors, surprisingly, have become a new type of family that extends beyond bloodline. They help me in a multitude of ways, especially with our children, and I fully recognize that, that in itself is a privilege. I am more than grateful…I am GreatFull!

Apparently, the road to restoration is a humbling one.  Paved with personal, life-altering encounters; adorned with admissions of vulnerability and limitations; bespeckled with blessings from a newly defined community of family, neighbors, and my sistah/gal network; and decorated with dollops of delight (sweet kisses on the brow and hugs from my sweethearts, though “only on the legs” for fear of “not squeezing Mommy too hard”); it is definitely a scenic route, one well worth the journey.  Despite its power to slow me down, I am pleasantly amazed by some familiar stops along the way. The sun still rises to greet me in the morning, and I am still able to usher in its light. I still get to witness the shifting winds, though I don’t get to walk in them, and I still get to marvel at the displays of new life as Spring magically sprinkles its colors in spaces that before seemed to lack life or vibrancy. I am GreatFull…Still.

Healthy Inspiration on the Subject:
BlogTalkRadio The Empowerment Place: “You’re Stronger Than You Think”, with Valerie Burwell

Yes…Joy, and Then Some!

"Moms Rock!" (Amelia Island Sand Art)

It’s Day 4 of my youngest child being sick with what looks like a wicked virus, or stomach infection.  Hopefully, she turns the corner today because she’s quickly becoming a poster child for Huggies Pull-ups.  She’s become very clingy, so I’m on borrowed time, even as I type.  The last few nights have been punctuated by frequent changes of diapers and full clothing.  I’m awaiting the next explosion, so I’m going to try to get this in before the thoughts escape me. 🙂

I’ve been mulling over my last post, titled  “It’s ALL PurposeFULL“.  In that article, I explored the questions that we often have regarding the mysterious nature of the life-changing events in our lives, including “Why?”, “Why me?”, and “Why Now?” My goal then was to provide assurance that we ultimately become better and fuller selves as a result of the more difficult, inexplicable events that occur in our lives.  This isn’t to say that we should have to experience loss, tragedy, or hardship to self-actualize, but rather that, the occurrence of these situations in our lives wisen us and enhance our potential to live and love more authentically.

Perhaps I took you to the conclusion a bit too quickly, without letting you in on the middle of the “journey”.  While I will never share with you sordid or personal details, or provide you with a blow-by-blow account of the events in my life that shape those truths (certainly not in a blog forum), I can tell you that during those moments in which I questioned the mystery of life, and God himself, I often felt alone, misunderstood, isolated.  My faith and hope seemed to be shaken, lacking, questionable.  To this day, I will maintain that it was not the actual death of a loved one that shook me the most. Unlike many, when my grandmother (my first true mother) passed away, I had an amazing sense of peace and understanding. As she neared the end of her life, she agonized over increasing physical pain and articulated on numerous occasions the gratitude that she had for a life well-lived.  My grandmother believed wholeheartedly that she would be in a better place.  Her death was only physical to me. I maintain a relationship with her that most would not understand. I miss her dearly at times, but most times, I feel that she is with me.

I have had other losses that bore a sharper sting than I could have ever imagined. Those jarred me to the core, leaving me to question where I went wrong, and whether this was some sort of karma.  What was life trying to teach me? I grew jealous and bitter as I witnessed others around me, realizing the very dreams that I thought were mine just for the asking. At that time, I could not see a plausible explanation for any of it. It seemed that my dreams were always on hold, always waiting in the wings, but for some reason or the other, it wasn’t quite time for them to materialize.

Fast forward to the “now”. I wouldn’t change it for the world! My past experiences, good and bad, have launched me right where I am now.  In this very moment, I can be a source of encouragement for those that have gone through similar situations.  More importantly, my soul continues to heal as I share the stories with others, especially wives, mothers, and daughters.  I come alive as I reveal the anguish of that difficult moment, and share the joy in knowing what I believe that moment was designed to teach me.

By the way, I’ve been hurled on once (good thing I wasn’t making a hat at the time), and performed two additional diaper changes since I started! It’s going to be a long, but beautiful day! It can only get better. 🙂

Girls Clapping to Miss Mary Mack