Open Says me
Open Sesame: 'ə́wpən sɛ́səmɪj' A magical phrase in the story of "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" in One Thousand and One Nights. It opens the mouth of a cave in which forty thieves have hidden a treasure.
On Friday night I had a (long overdue) heartfelt conversation with a friend. We spoke about loss, grief, anxiety, depression and other morbid topics, but in the light. We were talking about how writing has helped me move through my emotions.
I've been writing for about 11/12 years now - and the style/content has varied. There's been poetry and prose, there's been fiction and fact, there's been topical and experiential and more... I've ventured from diary style to informative pieces and beyond. We were talking about this journey when he asked about my writing in line with my emotions.
'Do you write about how you feel?'
I took a long pause and thought about it. The answer was this. Initially when I started writing I never used to talk about how I felt. I'd write in two ways 'concealing' and 'avoidance'
Concealing looked like telling all my secrets in the open. If you ask me what I think poetry is, I'll tell you its concealed revelations. Poetry allows you use literary devices to tell your deepest darkest secrets. What this means is that I can tell mine and not worry about friends or family reading and calling me up after. I knew that style of writing protected me but allowed me to release myself.
Avoidance on the other had meant writing around the elephant in the room. I would write vaguely about non related topics to distract myself from what I was feeling. My emotions were buried deep and once one word in what I was writing touched on how I felt, I'd cancel the whole post.
There was a turning point in my life where I became conscious of my actions, intentional of my behaviours and deliberate in my thinking. I call it 'The Why'. After this point I consciously began to open up.
Opening up meant that I had to choose to talk about my emotions. I realised that in suppressing my feelings, I wasn't dealing. They kept piling up and eventually lead to an explosion, that manifested as depression. For a long time I struggled to write, and even when I did I wasn't the centre of my own writing. Other people (particularly men) were the stars of the show.
After a few breakdowns I returned to writing and realised that the release was beyond a breakthrough. It was therapeutic - cathartic even. The release of my emotions even though scary literally felt like a weight had been lifted off me. The vulnerability was intensely scary, but the fear was outweighed by the easing off of the pressure.
I also realised that the honesty and vulnerability were appreciated by others. I got a few messages about relatability. People were finding commonality in my words, in my feelings and emotions. I got messages about people who were going through similar things and my words giving them hope. I realised that my writing no longer existed as an avenue just to expel my inner feelings, but also for others.
Ever since then, I've opened up. I'm still so scared of being so publicly vulnerable. But there's some sort of solace in the fact that my words find home in a community of people who seek healing. Who seek progress from their emotions. You guys that find your way to all my posts and sit with my words - you're part of the reason I write. You are part of the reason I'm so open. You've made it easy for me to strip down the my naked emotions and stand in front of you without fear of judgment or shame.
Open sesame - I've opened the mouth of a cave in which my many secrets have hidden treasures.