Emotional catharsis comes in a lot of forms. Runners log miles. Artists throw themselves into their paintings. Writers….write. For me, writing has always been a catharsis, whether it’s journaling or immersing myself in a story. Whatever I’m feeling, I pour it into the writing. Anger. Frustration. Despair. Joy. Hope. All of those go into the writing. One of my favorite writing quotes (from Red Smith) is “Writing is easy. I just open a vein and bleed.” This statement is so true. So very true. I think better on paper, whether “paper” is actually paper, or a computer screen or text message. Verbalizing things…I’m not so good at. I don’t like confrontations. I don’t like arguments. I despise drama. It’s more difficult for me to get my point across if I’m emotionally involved in the situation. That’s why I turn to words. They’ve been my salvation many times.
But what happens when words aren’t enough? When there are things you want to say, so many things, but you don’t get a chance to say them? Maybe you were never given the opportunity to actually say the words. Maybe words—or a lack of them—are actually part of the problem in the first place. Maybe a situation escalated because you were never told what was going on, and without that knowledge, it felt like something totally different was occurring. If you’d had the words, the situation never would have happened in the first place.
It’s hard enough to put words to what is actually occurring in your own life. If you’re on the outside of someone else’s life, and you’re never given any hints as to what they’re going through, choosing the wrong words is inevitable. Wrong words = misunderstandings and hurt. They can cut like a knife in an instant, and do damage that will never heal. Or they can drive a wedge between two people that will never disappear. But the right words can heal anything.