I have always been one to talk things out when something is bothering me. This allowed me to externalize what was building up internally which in turn allowed me to make it real. If it was just inside my head then it never seemed real, there never seemed to be evidence of how I was feeling. That was until I saw the words leave my mouth adding a vocal measure to the build up that was taking place. When pain, angst, and depression are left within they seemed to compound if I wasn’t able to breathe it out with a few words to someone who was willing to listen. It almost felt like untying a balloon and letting the air out slowly, feeling the deflation take place in my hands. Once these issues were out in the open they were real and I could either hear how ridiculous they sounded or I could hear that they needed some thought or attention. Prior to her leaving I had someone to bounce these things off of, someone that had my best interest at heart but was also comfortable enough to say that I was off in my way of thinking. We did this for each other. When she left or told me she was leaving she asked that she no longer be that person for me.
When I was eight I won a poetry contest, the poem was about a lonely soldier. When they called my name I had already left the area but the bright blue phone in the kitchen quickly rang alerting me of the prize. Fifty dollars is a lot of money to someone who was just trying to get out the way he felt at the age of eight by hiding it through a poem and disguising it through the eyes of a soldier. It was that day that something inside of me awoke to the realization that even when you are alone you can speak and someone may still hear you. It is when I fell in love with writing, it is when I used the pen and the paper to say the things that no one was around to listen to, and it was then that I found a voice out loud which goes unheard was quieter than a pen to a paper quietly hung in a small town hall. It became evident in my writing as I got older that the closer I became to people and became comfortable talking to them that my styles would change. No longer would they be about pain and discomfort but more so about love and what I thought that was about. Then the experience of love happened and I would write about the items that scared me and when I realized those fears it eventually went to the pain once more. It took time though to remember why I started writing, it took time for me to remember why I love writing as much as I do.
Why do I write? As I stated above I write to express what is building up inside. I write to externalize the demons that scratch and claw at my insides that are hoping to tear me down. By releasing these thoughts and feelings onto a piece of paper or from my fingers to the keyboard I take the power that they may have internally and minimize it on a page. They cannot partake anymore in the struggles I go through if they are no longer within. If they are no longer trapped in this bald-head or broken heart then I am no longer trapped in this mind and this heart. When I write they are forced into the open where metaphorically I can face them taking the influence they had and extinguish it into the air. When I write I feel strong enough to face what is inside more so than just sitting here and thinking about it over and over again reaching no solution or compromise.
There is no one around anymore when I have a bad day, when I am feeling down, and when I am dancing on the edge of depression. There is no one to provide words of encouragement or to just listen. It is just me. For a while after she left I sat in an almost a meditative state trying to work things out internally. The problem with the mind is that it isn’t always rational, especially when dealing with as many things as I had happen in such a short amount of time. I could not organize it; I could not structure it in a way that I could openly deal with it. Sure there were people around who tried to listen, they would try to offer advice, they would try, try, try but I wasn’t ready to listen. I needed to get all of what was built up out without hearing anything back. Especially when I started getting the “get laid” advice, that wasn’t what I was looking for, I didn’t know what I was looking for.
I needed to do a brain dump and just start letting the word vomit out. It wasn’t working when I tried to vocalize what I was feeling, so I bought a book, a brown fake leather covered book with a nice print on the front. I took my time picking the right book to write in because it was going to be filled with nonsensical displays of prose and poetry often so quickly scribbled out that rereading it became nearly impossible. The book had to have a lot of pages in it because I was writing nearly 10 poems a day and other random thoughts and ideas. Sometimes I just doodled on the edges of pages and left the pages blank because that was what I was feeling at that exact moment and it needed its own place to live. There were ribbons glued into the binding that were used to keep my place from the last page the pen touched. These ribbons found their way from the beginning of the book to the middle, and then to the last quarter of the brown book. Then they stopped. For a while I was unable to write. It wasn’t pouring out of me as it once was. Was this the completion of my brain dump? Had I finally expelled enough shit onto these white lined pages that now the true reflection could actually begin?
It was around these pages in this notebook that I looked around to realize that I didn’t have many around anymore to speak to. As the depression went from a daily disgusting grip around my throat to the waves I had spoken about previously, I was realizing that when they were hitting they were crippling me and when they were crippling me there weren’t many around I could speak to. I had done this writing to release it all but I had fallen back into the same game of cat and mouse only now the mouse was 8 feet tall and thirsty for my blood. The waves that hit were so hard that I wasn’t even able to write but once they cleared the need to express what I had just been through became stronger. An empty house is no place to speak of your ills. I did not, however, want to reopen that brown book. That time had been sealed and this was different. So I flipped open my laptop and started writing. Then I started a blog after spending days searching for articles on men who are struggling with divorce. There were very few if any I felt I could relate to. I wanted to reach out; maybe there was another man or woman who was feeling the same as I was. I will never retire off this blog but the therapeutic benefits have been priceless to me. Every note I get about how someone felt during a time of struggle only makes me feel less alone in an empty apartment.
Why do I write? All of the advice I read or receive about operating a blog says to create a market or find something of interest to bring readers in. Maybe it is the Gen X in me that says “fuck that” loudly to that advice, I am going to do this my way. I write this blog because I am forcing myself to go back through and read it, then reread it for content and structure. I am talking to myself two hours into the future, or the next day, whenever I go back through it to see if it is something I want to post. I write to myself because I am now finally ready to listen but there isn’t a soul around to provide me a response or feedback to my thoughts or worries. This to me feels like a far less crazy version of just flat out talking to myself. If I write it down and post it then I can hide behind the notion that I am doing this for others. Don’t get me wrong, I hope people will read this, I hope they will recognize in themselves what has taken me so long to discover. I hope that they will see that pain isn’t a gender thing, love and loss isn’t a gender thing, I am a man, I know because I was born with a penis and I self identify as a male. I feel pain and not the pain that make you bleed, that is the easy pain, I feel pain internally, I have been hurt, I feel it, I recognize it as hurt and I express it as hurt, not anger as we are taught. If I am bleeding I can be fixed, if it is really bad I will die, those are the options. With internal pain and heartache you can only live with it, you and you alone can only chose how you will spend you life after that. Yes, the idea of just becoming a fall down drunk has appealed to me once in a while but what good would that do? I seem to have gone off on a bit of a tangent here, let me start a new paragraph.
When I write now, I do the brain dump or word vomit, whichever expression suits you, then I go through it. I read it, carefully. Maybe I will miss a spelling error, or a grammatical error, but what I am looking for is what I am thinking or how I am feeling in that moment. I want to study my own thoughts so I can learn what it is that is bothering me. Sometimes I cannot find what it is until I write or even until I read what I write. It is at this time that I can self assess and create a solution or an alteration in my life that will correct/ work on the issue. It is how I work on myself to guide me through the mind that has plagued me over these past two years. It has allowed me to become calmer, more self reflective, and it has also helped me listen. This writing that I do has improved my ability to “listen with the intent to understand, rather than with the intent to respond” (one of my favorite quotes), mostly because there is no one to respond to, it is just me. I can only work on these items addressed in the writing as now they are organized, they are singular, and now I can focus.
There may be some scholar who has already written in far more eloquent words what I have just written, there may be a poet who has described what I have just said in a style that brings a tear to your eye but I know that this idea of the importance of writing to me over these past two years may have been what has kept me moving forward. It may be what has taken a night that I would have just sat down with a bottle of wine, finishing the whole thing only to pass out and instead turned it into a night of discovery of some deficit that spilled out on a page, forcing me to address it. It is making me stronger; it is allowing me to function. I don’t have a thousand followers, I don’t get five hundred likes, but when I post something it is because I sat down and I wrote and I read and I addressed for me. That is an incredibly important step in my own healing process.