Some say time heals, music mends and meditation restores. For me, there has always been solace in self expression. I’m usually never short of things to say, but when my serious relationship hit an abrupt halt, I found myself at a loss for words.
Not really. I actually couldn’t stop talking about it. It consumed me.
I was dealing with the death of a vision I had for my life. Now what was I supposed to do? Who would I be? What would I become? Would we have to split our friends in some sort of settlement? Every decision for the past 4 years had been weighed with the prospect of him in mind.
I realized I didn’t know myself outside of the relationship, and that terrified me. I continued talking my thoughts out loud, pining for an answer out in the open. I knew it was harmful to withdraw, so I kept my heart on my sleeve. After all, it was already enough trouble just to get out of bed in the morning.
As the days turned into weeks and months, my thoughts continued to run rampant. I was talking myself in circles, overanalyzing and discerning everything that had happened. Hello, my name is broken record. I was exhausted and not getting any better. My friends were my rock of support, but their constant validation could only comfort, not heal.
At that time I also happened to be taking voice lessons. I was training to audition for a part I had connected with through my real life break up, and worked myself raw trying to push my performance. My voice teacher, who I count as mentor as much as friend, created a safe space for me to work through my emotions. On multiple occasions we spent the hour without a note sung, instead clasping hands in tears.
One day when I walked in for a lesson, she pressed a notebook into my hand. Looking up confused, she gently encouraged me to begin writing my thoughts. That’s when everything changed.
Journal Entry #1: “I can’t breathe.”
I began to carry the notebook with me everywhere. In the middle of a meal or middle of the night, I would jot down my thoughts as soon as they came. My emotions felt more permanent on paper than out in the air. A lot of times there were no paragraphs, or even full sentences. It was just my honest, irrevocable emotions being spilled on a page… and it was liberating.
If I hadn’t had that outlet, I don’t know how I would have healed. My words created a bubble spoken aloud, but built me up when I wrote them down. Over time, it finally started becoming easier to breathe. My writing stopped being so frantic, and my thoughts more clear. I was creating a new home for my heart, and found myself along the way.
I am so grateful for the message my friend sent me by giving me that notebook. Don’t diminish your emotions, express yourself through them. There’s a reason your heart aches, and a message you can share through your pain. Every bit of you is laced with purpose, and for me, part of that was born when I connected paper and pen.
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