I no more than finished this morning’s poem than someone dropped me message: “Your poem this morning really hit me. You must have been writing to me!”
Well, no. I wasn’t.
I don’t preach to people too often. I don’t write to very many people (The exception being my love poems which are written to the woman I love.” I tend to write to, preach to, myself.
Self-expression was not encouraged in my family as I grew up. Feelings were suspect. I have come to understand where it came from. In his last year, my father told me that he was a sensitive young man in a rough and tumble farm community of the forties and fifties and he was bullied mercilessly for it. And because of that, he was determined that I be tough, and there was no room for feelings. Feelings put you in danger.
In time, I understand now, his stifling feelings in himself made it hard for him to express feelings, any feelings, good or bad. But particularly hard feelings. The law of unintended consequences kicked in and in trying to toughen me up, he contributed to it becoming hard for me to articulate, and later to even feel everything I should feel.I was in some ways, emotionally stunted. There were other factors, traumas. My dad was an alcoholic. Wonderful in many ways, but unpredictable. I had a divorce that damaged me deeply. But, eventually. I allowed through all that and became what I am today, deeply feeling, but slow to process those feelings.
Fortunately for me, the damned things (feelings) would not stay stifled. Eventually, I came back to writing and other creative ways to express feelings. I learned to process emotions again. Writing was a big part of that. Art has become another part. It is like public therapy.
I know stuff. I forget stuff. I am wise. I am told, but at times, in the moment, caught in a whirlwind of emotions that I can’t keep up with, caught in the pall of depression early in the mornings, I forget that wisdom. For the most part, my writing is a reminder to myself of what I need to remember, How I need to act. What I feel.
Early in my therapy years, my therapist told me “There is nothing you are going through that others have not gone through. Every human experience has been lived by others.” The good news in that was that there was a path through my mess, because others had found their way before me.
Part of that was insulting. Part of me wanted to shout “No! I am an individual and no one has been through what I have been through!”
How pretentious of me. Of course, they have. Different details perhaps, but we are human. We share emotional makeup with everyone else around us, whether we understand it or not. And so it is that when I write something, when I preach to myself, now and again. it reaches someone else. Maybe you.
If so I am glad. I am happy to call it a coincidence. I am happy to say God is at work. Mostly though, it’s just me stumbling through my own life, reminding myself things, thinking out loud. I am glad to have you on the journey though. Everything we go through – it’s easier not to go through it alone, and you are all my fellow travelers.
It feels good, not to be alone.
Be well. Travel wisely,