what work heals you?
I don’t think we talk a lot about why we love the things we love. Not in a real way, anyway. I think the things we love stem from the things that hurt us. I write because I didn’t feel heard. As in, my voice no longer counted. As in it wasn’t my own. As in people decided who I was and what I stood for and what my body was used for without asking me, without confirming with me, without consent - which is, ironically, the same thing that started that mess.
Yes, I always wrote. I don’t remember a time where I didn’t. And yes, there was hurt early on, earlier than the words above, and my voice was quiet then too. But my words weren’t honest then, they were just escapist.
One of the strangest things I have learned about myself is how the intricacy of fantasies my mind created for so long were actually just an attempt at self soothing. A way to evade the horrible, to deviate from the profound trauma my adolescence could not hold for me. I told myself a story every night before I went to sleep for decades. I figured everyone did that, a prolonged childhood ritual. I thought it lovely, this habit of mine. But what lay behind that coping? That question coincided with the uncovering of real pain. It was only then that I could go to sleep with myself.
Why I Do The Things I Do is so much more complicated than “I was born a writer.” There are downfalls of this craft, truly. It is easy to compartmentalize the world of my writing and the world I live in. Just because I am “gifted” doesn’t mean what lies inside of the wrapping isn’t edged and sharp. It’s the same with sex. The things we like are influenced by the entirety of our sexual experience, our parents experience, our experience of the media. And yet we treat sex so casually, as if being naked has only to do with skin.
We shrug our shoulders. We say “just because,” we deflect, we ghost, we bristle, we detach.
I am so uninterested in the detached. I am so very interested in what we are attached to.
Today, in New York City, it is raining. On days like these, I sit in my grief. I do not wallow in it. I do not self pity. I meet it, take it for coffee, sit across from it in the bathtub. I am so un-scared of what once scared me. The second that became true I became true. The second that became true my life bloomed magnificently. The second that became true it became difficult to be around anyone who it wasn’t true for, too.
Our history with pain is the backbone to our joy. I do not believe this is bad. I believe it is imperative, I believe it should be the non-negotiable of our self-education.
So, why do you love what you love?
Perhaps the question is:
How does what you love heal you?