As if I have a choice.
When I saw this post on Mark Kersetter’s blog I was utterly enthralled with his response, with his heartfelt experiences. I found it to be eloquent, articulate, and profound. I really, really didn’t wanna write this after reading his post. But I’ll give it my best shot. Frankly, I think he only picked me so I’d stop trolling through his archives.
What? My boys got a Playstation for their birthdays and no longer want anything to do with me. So I was bored. Geesh. LOL.
Writing, for me, is about release. I release the pressure in my head, shuffle words into some random fashion in the vain attempt to make sense of the things that I don’t understand. So much of my life has been one bit of confusion crashing into uncertainty and then disintegrating into disappointment—that often I feel as though I’m adrift in choppy water with no row, no life jacket—nothing solid. So writing becomes the vessel that’s tangible and real—the lifeline I cling to. Writing is the only thing that makes sense.
But it’s also torture. For whatever reason, when I take to text, all that comes out of me is bitter and cruel. Words become pain, become anger, become hate, become lies, become weapons, and become truth. They morph on the white screen in front of me so that I don’t even know what I’m saying until the last period is written.
Not that I’m bitching. It is what it is. And there’s purity to the gritty stuff, you know? There’s honesty there. And honesty is all that matters to me. I want to peel back each layer of my flesh and examine each element until I am comfortable with what I see. If I can sort out my head—if I can dissect and destroy all my weaknesses then maybe, just maybe, I’ll learn to like myself. Or at least respect my attempts at writing or painting, for that matter.
The thing is...I never set out to be a writer or a blogger or anything in this vein. I'm an artist. That's how I've always identified myself. I paint. But I am also a free spirit and when I was in college I took a bunch of classes outside of my major (I majored in painting). One of the classes I took was a "Women in Writing" course. It had feminist themes and required a lot of personal essays. One essay in particular was tough for me. We were asked to write about our bodies.
At the time I was in the throes of a miserable marriage, still dealing with the effects of being sexually abused as a child, and coming to terms with the fact that I'd married someone who kicked me every chance he got. My point? I hated my body. When I was thin, I attracted a lot of male attention. I never learned how to deal with that. For a long time I honestly believed the only thing I was meant to be was a sex object. I felt very much like I was cursed and I think that's why I gained so much weight. I think I packed on pounds as a form of body armor. "If I'm fat and gross, then I'll be safe cuz no one will touch me." It's not that I consciously thought that, but in retrospect, I think that was why I ended up being 5' tall and weighing 330 lbs. Yeah. you read that right. That's what self-hate does to a person.
It's suicide, just another way to die, to fade into oblivion.
So that essay, for me, was like lighting a stick of dynamite and holding it to my breasts while I flung my body onto a landmine. It was...hard to write. I waited till the last minute and I poured a 13 page essay out in less than 3 hours. I didn't edit it. Are you kidding? I couldn't even read it. Coward that I am, I didn't even want to go to class to see how my classmates graded it. (We had to pass out copies to the whole class and grade each others work.) That meant 20 peers standing in judgment.
A fragment of the essay: http://katdelrio.blogspot.com/2009/08/peel-back-skin.html
Imagine my shock when they all loved it, when they gushed and cried over it. I felt paralyzed when my professor told me I should change my major from painting to writing. I didn't. I'm a painter. But I did take more writing courses. And I did start to take the poems and stories that I'd written for years and never fully appreciated more seriously. I also started taking Tae Kwon Do. (I've lost 72 lbs to date--and still going.) I started this blog. I left my ex. The divorce should be final soon. Thank God. I moved to New Mexico from Ohio. That's a lot of changes over a two year span.
So maybe I write to find the pieces of myself that have slipped away and try to fit them back together? Maybe I write to fill the silence in my own head? Maybe I write because it saved my life? Probably I write because it keeps me sane. It's helped me accept my sensuality--to appreciate that sex isn't dirty. It isn't a tool to control someone--that it's okay to be a woman through and through. In that sense writing has empowered me.
Whatever the reasoning, regardless of my dislike of my own writing—I stick with it. I write as if there’s a loaded gun aimed at my temple and if I stop rat-a-tap-tapping at the keys a trigger will lurch and all that will be left is a bloody manuscript. It’s as if I leave my body and pour every ounce of everything that I feel, or have ever felt, onto the page. It’s a wild rush of emotion. It's giving voice to my convictions. I never have a plot. I never even know the characters name before I write. I just start typing, or scribbling in a book, praying that it will make a lick of sense at the end.
So why do I write? Because I have to. Because I’m too pathetic to do anything else. Because there’s a volcano of emotion rumbling beneath the surface of my skin and it’s gotta go somewhere. I write because it’s the path I walk. It's my lifeline.
There’s a Blogger who’s pretty good at writing. He likes to boldly go where few other writers dare. So I think I'll pass the torch to Marc Nash. Well, Marc, why do you write the crazy things you do? :)
I swear Axl is a far better lyricist than he gets credit for.