Deep, soulful writing forces us to address the emotions we often stifle and wish to ignore. It’s easy to bury these emotions. So we tuck them away to avoid confronting things that may cause us discomfort, pain and heartache. But when we put pen on paper and write from a place of truth, we force them to the fore.
Truth. What is truth? What is your truth?
On my 34th birthday, I had an emotional conversation with my uncle, my deceased father’s brother. It was the first conversation we’d had since my dad’s death thirteen years earlier. The conversation was raw, emotional and accompanied by much sobbing. Throughout the conversation, he tried to show me that many of the things I felt about my father and his side of the family, on his abandonment of his children and the part I felt his family played in it, were not true. When I decided to set my emotions aside and hear him, hear him without judgment, hear him without bringing my own beliefs and perceptions into the conversation, I realized that although much of what he was saying rang true. But the reality is my truth is my truth. My lived truth, how the things I experienced made me feel, was my truth.
The fact is, we all have our version of the truth. My uncle’s truth was his. My truth was mine. And the things I lived through because my father walked away from his family could not be denied. They were true to me.
Don’t let anyone’s truth stifle you from expressing yours. You may not want a sit down as my uncle and I had, confronting face to face, but you can always get it out on paper. And don’t let your truth or anyone’s keep you from writing the things on your heart. Lean into the discomfort that can come from telling your story. It may be hard at first but the act of putting pen on paper and offloading, could be the single most powerful thing you can do for yourself. Give yourself liberally to the process. When you begin to write from your depths, do it with abandonment, without fear, without concern that someone may find your writing. Be all in. Because at the heart of it, your writing is for you. You’re not writing for anyone’s approval and you’re not writing to get a book deal (at least not now). You’re writing your way out of the pain, shame, frustration, secrets, heartbreak and possibly more. Writing is your way to deal with and process the things you may carry and there is no shame in that.
You’ve got a right to write. Embrace it because you’re story needs telling, if only to yourself.
Carlana Charles is the visionary and editor-in-chief of FemmePowered. She is a womanist, writer, speaker, story midwife and facilitator of meaningful and engaging conversations. When she is not working in or on FemmePowered, she can be found resting, baking, reading or scribbling furiously in her journal whilst sipping wine or coffee, sometimes both at the same time. She is currently working on her first book and hopes to release it in September 2017.