My written words almost died. They were still taking up space in my head, mind you, just muddling around in a stew of dense, colorless gunk. But they were lifeless. Suffocated. Submerged.
One year ago, as my alphabet and punctuation marks became increasingly limp and useless – just stubbornly waiting to stand up and be recognized – I made a big, jumping-off-a-cliff change in my life that was more terrifying than anything I’ve ever done before. It was also enormously painful and endlessly paralyzing. There were countless days when I wondered if I’d survive. But this is what happens when you choose to end 19 years of marriage.
Oh, I spoke. I vomited stories and descriptions and emotion. I spewed out memories and realizations, exclamations and thoughts, disappointments and hurt. I conversed and shared, reflected and screamed. I whispered, sputtered and sorted out the madness and anger as depression hovered. I sought refuge in the friends and relatives who saved me, who encouraged and nurtured this oral purging that I so desperately needed. Yes, my spoken words were fine. Just fine.
There were strings of hopeless days intermixed with glimmering moments of sunshine, truth and discovery. Lots of friends disappeared. Awkwardness and hesitance permeated every school function, every unexpected encounter, every phone call that was either placed or never received. Assumptions were made that I didn’t have the energy to refute. New friends emerged, and true friends remained. All the while I found my footing, my strength and courage.
But whenever I sat down to release all those percolating sentences out into the world through my fingertips and onto the page – where they have always so gloriously found freedom – there was nothing. It was as if the connection between brain and hands were permanently soldered, with only ghastly, tender scar tissue left behind.
I often wondered if things would ever change. Would I ever write again? For that matter, would I ever laugh or smile? Would I eventually rediscover that familiar thrill of placing my fingers on the keyboard and watching them fly from letter to letter? Would I once again find relief, or feel anything at all?
Thankfully, the answer is yes. With a few exceptions, this is the first significant thing I’ve published in a very long time. I’m nervous. Afraid. Vulnerable. But I’m also liberated and free. It’s as if a creaky, rusted gate has been flung open, releasing months and years of imprisoned ideas and opinions, intuition and perspective.
There is much more to be said, and whether it will be here, in a book or up on a stage, I will tell my story. The sentences and paragraphs are forming again, and I am alive. I breathe, I smile, and I know that my choices were the right ones. Many will never understand, and that’s okay. It is not their burden to bear, as I have lived a truth that they will never know.
The channels are clear now. I have found myself again. I am living authentically, without apology. I am grateful for the journey, and to all those who have propped me up and given me the courage and strength to be me. As for my next move, only time … and my written words … will tell.
©2016 Michelle Freed