There are people who believe that our thoughts create our reality. I find that belief to be both simplistic and immature — stemming from a desire to see ourselves as the center of the universe, as having total control over our environments.
I do believe, however, that our perceptions and attitudes dynamically interact, or dance, with the many other forces at play in the universe at any given moment. To that end, I actively have been investigating where I may be getting in the way of my own healing.
This journey began a few years ago, when I realized that my ability to heal was compromised by the anger I held at the various people who had injured me. Through my own inner dive over the next few years, and through external validation from various mind-body medicine practitioners I encountered during that time, I came to believe that there is a profound psychology to natural pain relief: Our entire being must be in alignment with healing, so as to manifest it.
In my case, I have found that there are broken places where I am not in alignment — stemming from many experiences, perhaps most significantly, those that date back to my childhood. (As cliché as that might sound, it’s true.)
I heal emotionally through writing, so I want to work those experiences out of my system by writing about them. There is something about the process — releasing my thoughts, feelings, and experiences to the Universe and to G-d/dess, perhaps also having witnesses — that frees me. So much so that once I have written about a traumatic experience, I completely forget that it happened, until I read my writing years later. And then it seems like a distant dream.
To me, writing is something akin to standing bold and powerful, naked and raw, authentic and true, without shame, regret, or apology. So it makes sense that as an integral part of my healing journey, I would turn to writing a blog post, a magazine article, or some other form of publication to heal my wounds — whether emotional, physical, or some dynamic relationship thereof.
Here’s the dilemma:
How do we navigate writing about trauma, when it’s been at the hands of other people? When we write about friends, doctors, or strangers that have hurt us, we can change their names yet still identify their roles and significance in our lives — “my orthopedist,” “my boyfriend,” “this woman I encountered at a restaurant.”
But what happens when the hurt came from someone in our immediate family? Naming their relationship to us is essential to writing about the dynamic that happened. Violence at the hand of a stranger, for example, is worlds away from violence at the hands of someone we depend on for food, shelter, love, and guidance when we are children.
I recently read an essay that spoke to this dilemma: “I am teetering on a borderline between so many things,” the author wrote, “between honoring the people I write about and disrespecting them, between healing through truth and revealing dirty secrets…”
The dilemma becomes more complicated when the people we need to write about have not done their own healing; when their entire being is invested in the false narratives surrounding their behaviors; and when they have a public image they are trying to protect. So I am left with questions swirling around my head:
If I speak the truth about childhood trauma, will I shatter the life of the person who hurt me? If I don’t speak the truth about, and therefore release, that trauma, will I ever fully heal? When love is defined as protecting a lie, will I be seen as being hateful when I speak truth? Regardless, if I know that writing will help me heal, am I willing to sacrifice my health for someone else’s construct of reality?