I say this with love: you don't have to constantly make something beautiful out of something that is not.
As artists, we take pride on our power to redeem our souls with words. We view our fingers and minds as magicians that can alter our perspectives of the world. In so many ways, writing helps us overcome what seems to be formidable.
I am not denying that.
But there are some kinds of agony that language fails to describe. There comes a point when remaking those ordeals into exquisite pieces of writing is no longer healing. Maybe you need time...or maybe you need something else entirely.
Writers live in a world apart from those who don't possess our gifts. Our nightmares, when scribbled into our journals a few moments just when we've broken into consciousness, become a magnificent film that's yet to be. We pen poems on the back of bus tickets while wishing we were dead and we hail those raw works as masterpieces. We turn our traumas into into bestsellers, and we're fucking proud of it. And no matter how many years we spend sober in life with our crafts, we remain drunk in the melancholic crookedness of this idea – we are impervious like this.
Writers are damned romantics, pretending to be wise even when we're just absolutely crushed.
Before you judge this take, let me tell you that I am writing this from experience. I wrote a poem on a bus ride home after a holiday heartbreak and it got published somewhere that paid me a couple of bucks. My depressed notes are all over the net—go find ‘em! I am the happiest when my secret journal entries get accepted for publication. After all, didn't I get the upper hand from life if I earned those validations that were originally just misery? I am a damned romantic.
And lately, I'm learning to say that it's okay to be just damned.
Sometimes our pain has no purpose. Sucks, huh? That’s the truth. But when life shits on us, we writers love to bask on homemade perfume. We take comfort into believing that everything has a reason. But in reality, not everything has to be meaningful. Not every heart-shattering circumstance must be turned into a novel brimming with the principles of an ancient self-help book. Not every fragment of our lives shall be turned into some gorgeous mosaic. Sometimes, things just suck...and words can't make it any different.
It's okay to write about your affliction only for your eyes. It's okay to cry in front of your Word Document. It's also okay to leave your desk instead and talk about it with your therapist or your friends. Not including certain disturbing events of your life into your next project doesn’t mean you’re not healed from them yet.
Take your medications if you have them, for God's sake. Steer away from the bottle if you’re depressed. Cry until the sunrays etch its hope on your face. Let grief reach you in the planes you've guarded with your ability to throw glitter over dirt. Sometimes, you need your magic to weave you a sweater that can keep you warm against the harshness of the world. But it is a gift, my dear, not a goddamn amulet for everything. There are days when leaving it in the drawer is the best thing you can do.
You can write about it when you're ready, sure. You can also never write about it. It won't make you less of a writer...or a person. It will teach you, however: you're just human like the rest of us, that's all.
Yeah…that’s not an easy lesson to learn.