“…loneliness – that terrible loneliness, in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold, unfathomable, lifeless abyss.” ~ Lord Bertrand Russell
I feel it’s panging. I’m happier than I have ever been and yet, I still feel it’s panging, maybe it will never go away. The loneliness. Maybe that’s part of the price we pay for the evolution of universal consciousness. The necessity of the illusion of separation, the illusion of the ego and the consequence of such an ensnaring hallucination. We’re allowed glimpses of union with the Divine but we’re never allowed to stay there. It’s a challenge, the balance… walking the fine line of living.
In moments of loneliness it’s important to feel it, to feel it and let it pass. To feel it, but never stay there. Everything is impermanent. I struggle there. To not hold on, to let it pass, to release it – this is a skill, one I have yet to master. Maybe without this illusory separation we wouldn’t search, and thus we wouldn’t evolve. Writing helps me to question, to clarify my ever expanding inquisition into the nature of reality, and the life I find myself in. It helps me in making sense of the life that is moving in perpetual motion, all around me.
“That is why I write – to try to turn sadness into longing, solitude into remembrance.” ~ Paulo Coelho
If we were in constant union with the Divine, why would we go anywhere else? Would we not just stay, for all of infinite eternity? Would we not just resort to complacency? It is this unfillable loneliness that keeps us searching and I think it is the process of acknowledging its unending presence that may show we are on the path towards true surrender and acceptance. Isn’t it avoiding this loneliness and trying to fill it, that gets us so lost in the first place? Isn’t it this running?
I understand the pain that precedes acceptance, I have lived in the fear, just before the relief of ultimate surrender. I have a new appreciation for writers and artists who say they create their masterpieces because they have to. It’s the only way I find comfort in the soothing of my pain and loneliness – the only comfort I find that hasn’t allowed me, or ever tempted me, to join the madness of the loss of self. Writing is me, speaking to myself, reminding me that I will never be alone, yet as this world so dichotomously exists and mysteriously works, I will always be alone in my experience. Therein lies the contradicting beauty of life.
“Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself… It’s a self-exploratory operation that is endless. An exorcism of not necessarily his demon, but of his divine discontent.” ~ Harper Lee
Divine discontent. Mmmhhh. It knocks the wind right out of me, the only way truth knows how to hit, fierce and fearlessly. The loneliness subsides when I reach out and touch it. When I begin to do something of purpose. I write because I have to. I write because it is the only way in which I have come to know myself. I write because it allows me to touch my pain, to visit my wounds, and to feel my loneliness, without losing myself in it. I write because pushing aside this human condition of unshakeable emptiness can only be soothed by divine intervention. For me, writing is that intervention. Writing gave me time and space, it never forced anything out of me, it couldn’t. Even when I tried to force it, writing never let me. It was a flow, mind to body, body to pen, pen to paper. It’s a form of being, a form of meditative dance. Recalling my thoughts and emotions with a new presence, letting them pass through me. Writing was a friend that heard the poison and let it out of me, before it consumed me and had the chance to spread, to grow. Writing taught me compassion, forgiveness, love. It gave me space not only figuratively, without placing the weight of guilt on me, never questioning how long I would be gone; but physically, by offering me a space to grieve, or joy, or feel, or just simply not know and write.
“Write hard and clear about what hurts.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
This. This speaks to me, because it is in the hurt, in the midst of this pain that I write the truth of the sorrows and wonders of existence and the ethereal beauty of life. It is in the soothing of that loneliness that the Divine speaks to me. It is in the the freedom of expression, the flow of thought, and the release of the pressure that often builds in my brain. It is in this condition of creative flow, the extravagant nature of the words that somehow fill the page, without my being able to claim ownership over them. It is there, that I find myself, that I find my voice for painful authenticity.
I write because it has always been there for me. It has always given me so much, and asked for so little in return. It has given me the gift of life, the gift of myself, and it has given me the gift of bringing this awareness back to me. It never asked for my dedication or commitment when I wasn’t ready to give it. It brought me comfort when I was sure there was none to be had and it brought me the gift of company, when I felt lost and lonely. It offered solace, a place to rest my tired eyes and weary head, when all I had to offer were my own words in friendship. It challenged me, but only as much as I was ready to be challenged. It never pushed me away and understood when I needed a break from the weight of its verity. You see, writing only ever asked for one commitment from me – it asked for truth, and truth, I wasn’t always ready to give. Writing was good to me, always understanding, patiently waiting for my return, no matter how far I wandered.
“Writing eases my suffering… writing is my way of reaffirming my own existence.” ~ Gao Xingjian
I used to fill my notebooks with my pain, tear out the pages so nobody would ever accidentally find them and see the truth of my life, the truth I tried so desperately to hide. I would burn them, erase the memories from my existence, hoping one day I could forget. I planned to rewrite these old stories and start my life anew. I would write when the pain became too much, when it seemed there was nothing left to do but write. I wrote because I had to, because my other options left me drowning without the hope for one last breath. I wrote for survival, I wrote for freedom, and I continue to write for these reasons, blessed by the collaborative commitment to sincerity.
I write because the pages never judge me, not for loving those who hurt me, not for spilling all my shame, not for sharing all my secrets, not for almost breaking – I write because it never tried to save me. I write because it’s never tried to make me choose between my love and my freedom, it never threatened my independence and the will of my free spirit. I write because it never punishes me for my mistakes or belittles me for my lofty ideas and less than perfect grammar. I write because it meets me in my sorrow, reminds me of my power, and leads me to my strength. Writing is my gift to myself. It is in sharing our gifts with the world that true healing can occur, and so I write because I don’t know what else to do, and I desperately crave my own healing. I write to remember who I was and who I am, and to understand the gap between the two.
I write because it soothes, it breaks me open in all the right places and allows me moments to touch my pain. I write because it reminds me to never get lost in the notion that I will ever be free from my wounds, and it is in this realization that I am truly released from the shackles of my own mind. In never trying to save me, writing always gives new breath to old life, and renews my spirit. Acceptance comes to sit with me and avoidance leaves my bedside. I write because while it may be critiqued by others, as long as I follow specific parameters, nobody could never tell me what to write.
“Why am I compelled to write?… Because the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it. I write because life does not appease my appetites and anger… To become more intimate with myself and you. To discover myself, to preserve myself, to make myself, to achieve self-autonomy. To dispel the myths that I am a mad prophet or a poor suffering soul. To convince myself that I am worthy and that what I have to say is not a pile of shit… Finally I write because I’m scared of writing, but I’m more scared of not writing.” ~ Gloria E. Anzaldúa
I write because it bridges my worlds, the ethereal and spiritual become physical, when I put pen to paper. I write because as I touch the pages I touch my soul; with each motion of the pen my chains are broken. I write for my sanity, because existing in this world is tough enough and living in it is bound to make you go insane. I write to remind myself that I will never be like them, that I will never be known or understood and I write to remember that’s perfectly okay. I write to understand myself, and I write to remember that mindful self-acceptance is a practice of self-love and care, and that is enough for me.
I write because it relieves the darkness in me and allows me to not be overcome with sadness. It relieves the pain that will never leave me, for I am a healer and the best healers remain wounded. I write because it has never dismissed me for speaking the truth, even when it wasn’t exactly what it wanted to hear in that moment – writing has always been faithful and has honored our lifelong agreement, a commitment to truth.
Writing gave to me, and so, I write because I have to… because giving back to the only thing that has continually given me a remembrance of my reverence for life, deserves all of me. Writing consumes me and never spits me out. Writing hears, feels, sits, and gently takes my hand, whispering to me: “remember who you are…remember. No one passes the gateless gate, so be no one, or say ‘fuck it’ and be anybody you want to be.” I write for me.
“Why one writes is a question I can answer easily, having so often asked it of myself. I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live. I could not live in any of the worlds offered to me – the world of my parents, the world of war, the world of politics. I had to create a world of my own, like a climate, a country, an atmosphere in which I could breathe, reign, and recreate myself when destroyed by living. That, I believe, is the reason for every work of art.” ~ Anaïs Nin
I write to make sense of the world, to make sense of my thoughts, to make sense of me, and to make sense of my place in the mess of it all. I write because it transcends thinking, the words flow through my finger tips as if they are finally coming home, familiar, belonging. I write to love myself, to go within and love all of me, because grasping out there taught me lots of valuable lessons, but never did me any favors.
I write because I am all I will always have, and because in writing I realize the beauty in that statement – the beauty and truth that transcends the sadness at the thought of such a lonely path. It is in writing that I feel the palpable truth of life, that I feel whole, that I feel complete. I can never give that up, it is all I have ever longed for. It is writing that always takes me home, back to me, back to my freedom. I truly write, for me.
“A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.” ~ Roald Dahl
Thank you for reading, the original article can be found on my favorite publication, here: https://www.elephantjournal.com/2018/12/why-do-i-write-literature-a-love-letter/