Riddle: What does a writer do when she writes to process the events of her life — when she writes to figure out how she truly feels about everything she is experiencing — but cannot write about what’s been happening in her life?
If you can solve that riddle, please let me know, because I haven’t solved it yet. And it’s frickin’ torture.
I write about everything in my world, but lately, I have not been able to put words to paper. For months now. Not because I can’t articulate what I’ve been going through…but because they are not my stories – or only my stories – to tell.
It’s one thing if I am writing about something that is only affecting me…but when it affects more than just me, that’s where things get tricky.
Because when they are not my stories to tell, I have to respect the other people involved and honor the space that they are in without violating their privacy – and their trust.
Thank goodness I have one or two people in my world who know the details I cannot write, but there are many, many others who don’t. Not because I don’t trust them. Not because I don’t love them or miss them. But because I simply cannot share with them right now.
People I love and respect and want to share with – but they are not my stories to share.
People who are reaching out to me as friends, as colleagues, and as editors – wondering why they have not heard from me.
And all I can say is that I simply cannot right now.
I cannot meet.
I cannot share.
I cannot write.
Because it is not my place.
Even if I really want to.
Even if I know you will support me and love me through the darkness.
It’s still not my place.
And it’s not easy – believe me.
This stuff of life is kicking my ass. And there’s nothing I want to do but share – if, for no other reason, then to know that I am not alone.
And it feels a bit like paralysis.
Because nothing else feels as important right now.
Hell, nothing else is as important right now.
And because of that, it is hard to write about anything else. It’s hard to write about politics or careers or spirituality, when all that matters to me right now is this. Everything else seems inconsequential.
The hard part is – I know there are a lot of people out there right now going through the same things I am going through. (And many more going through even harder things than I am going through.)
That gives me so much comfort, but it’s still hard not to share, and offer comfort to each other for what we are going through.
It’s made me wonder about people who are so fiercely private. People who don’t share anything with anyone because they either value their privacy too much, or they simply don’t feel compelled to share the things that happens to them with anyone around them. (That’s such a foreign concept to me.)
Do they process their experiences and their feelings all on their own, never sharing with others? Do they have one person that they share with? Or do they hit the therapist’s office on the daily to get it all out?
It feels so strange to me…not writing, not sharing. It feels…lonely. And I’m not un-used to feeling lonely.
There is a certain amount of existential loneliness that has been my partner through life – a feeling that a lot of my fellow empaths may have also felt. A loneliness that stems from knowing that most people around us truly don’t understand. Don’t understand us. Or the depths of our inner worlds.
And I think that many of my writer friends know that feeling, too. That’s why we’ve found each other. That’s why I love words. So we could find each other.
That’s why it’s hard not to let them all in.
Especially when I am someone who usually lets people all the way in.
I know that, one day, I will write about everything. Because that’s what I do.
But in the meantime, I will hold these stories close to my heart. And know that the loneliness of this stage of life is temporary – and necessary. To protect and love those around me – and my own heart.