I'm writing this blog post on the go, while riding Moscow metro, while sitting with my mom in her hospital room, while camping out on a windowsill in some government building from where I haven't been kicked out yet (I marched in as if I belong here, smiling, and am sitting on this windowsill because it is directly over the heating element and it keeps my butt warm). I'm also writing this while an elderly lady is trying to tell me her problems, her bladder problems, of all things. I'm writing while people are staring at me, because this is not something they typically see in Moscow, people sitting in weird places, writing on their laptops. The main thing for me right now is, to keep writing. I've been suppressing a good deal of emotions over the past week, and I have realized the terrible and incredible truth. Writing is therapy. I mean, I did realize it before, of course, I even blogged about Why write? For therapy. But it wasn't as sharp and as clear as I'm experiencing it now. While writing Siren Suicides I was depressed and was writing about my suicidal tendencies. Back then I had to revisit my old pain, pull it free and air it out, to get rid of it. Right now it's different because things are happening NOW. I'm alone in Moscow, without my love, my boyfriend, who provides me daily support (really, he's like a battery when my energy is low). And writing is the one thing that keeps me afloat when I have no other source of support. It lets me spill my emotions AS THEY OCCUR. Therefore, I don't need to suppress anything, there is no stress. I got spoiled lately, feeling always good, precisely because I was writing every day. More then ever I feel it now, and more then ever I want to communicate this to you, especially to those of you who still hesitate to either quit your job to write full time, or to commit to writing a novel in the evenings or on the weekends, or hesitate because of your young age, thinking you have nothing to say. Don't. Don't hesitate. WRITE. It's the best therapy there is, seriously, and it will take your stress away and make you happy.
While writing we enact the things that bother us and let go. The biggest benefit you get from writing is being able to say things you can't typically say, not to the face of the other person who has either done something unpleasant to you, or has yelled at you, or in any way has done something that has somehow traumatized you, even if it's only temporary, even if it's just an argument with your spouse or friend. There are a million reasons why we can't vocalize what bothers us, and writing is one outlet for it. It's a form of therapy that allows us to enact that incident, and say what we really wanted to say, through the characters. Better. You can exaggerate and blast it in the face of that person with the ferocity of an upset tiger, or whatever animal you want to imagine. Once you do it, you instantly feel better. More than that. You can use foul words, you can be obscene, you can indulge in profanities the likes of which you would never dare to utter to anyone, and if you happen to hear them, your ears will literally shrivel and fall off. The best thing about this is, you can go crazy. Look at it like this. The goal is to spill. Just like with the first draft of a novel, the goal is to dump it. You can always rewrite it. You will cool off, come back, reread it, throw the trash away, and keep the story. But the thing would be done, the therapy part. You would feel better, you wouldn't suppress things, and you would move on, to other things, to happy things, to living life.
When there is nobody to listen to you, there is always paper. This is another benefit to writing. Let's say, your life is currently fucked up, fucked up to the point where there is nobody, not a single person, who can listen to you and provide support or sympathize with you. Nada. Not a soul. Okay. What do you do? You turn to your writing. You can write in a diary by hand, and then hug it, if you want. Or you can write on your laptop. Whatever your means, it's always there. It doesn't judge you, it simply listens, forever. It's patient. It lets you weave your story. If you're not done spilling your pain and have been interrupted or simply have to stop, it will wait. It will wait forever and never complain. And when you're ready, you can come back and pick up your story exactly where you left it off. This is an amazing thing, if you think about it. This is like having a remote control on your life and pushing a pause button. You can't do this with real people. You can't simply be in a middle of family drama, pull out a remote control and freeze everyone. It doesn't work this way. But if you know you have your outlet in your writing, you can live through anything, knowing that paper is waiting for you, waiting for you to spill everything that happened, waiting to listen, without judgement, waiting to take everything in.
Doesn't matter how broken you are, paper will mend you. Right now, right this very moment, as I'm writing this, I'm in a very dark place, due to things I had to deal with while in Moscow, looking after my mom. I'm in a lot of pain. I feel like I'm broken and not whole, like I have no footing underneath me, and writing is the only thing that gives me this feeling of wholeness. I can hold on to it, and feel like I'm complete. It is my anchor in the times when everything else is uncertain. Because it's always there, it's certain, it's a column of sanity in the middle of chaos. And the best part? You can drop pieces of unrelated stuff onto paper. These broken bits of yourself. Something amazing starts happening when you do. One piece draws on another, draws on another, and pretty soon, without you intending it, your broken pieces make up something whole. You look into it and realize that you're not broken at all.
This is what writing does to me. Therapy. The cheapest and the most amazing therapy that is available to me in my life right now. And to you too. All you need is pen and paper, or some computer and some program, some old Word, that's it.