I’m often asked: “Why do you write?” and the answer is never forthcoming, nor is it always so straightforward. There are multiple reasons, but if I consider carefully all the times I’ve churned out piece-after-piece, I can say with conviction that stress is a major factor. Writing is my form of meditation and a way I’ve used to deal with some of the most stressful times in my life. Writing makes me feel calmer, it clarifies my thoughts and it is just something I feel compelled to do every single day. I need to write; it’s not just a matter of wanting to write.
A few months back I became involved with a person whose life is a little more complicated than mine and that stressed me out immensely. Worst of all, I found that my writing just stopped. It didn’t gradually fade. It came to a sudden and grinding halt. I not only had no desire to write, I had nothing to write about. My ‘well of inspiration’ had seemingly run dry. That stressed me out even more. Of course, I automatically assumed that the person was bad for me and I stopped all contact with them. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I began to write again. This went on for a few months before they suddenly reappeared in my life and the same thing happened again. Once more, I felt that the person was responsible and I blamed them for stifling my creative flow. What I didn’t consider though was that maybe this person was in fact good for me and the reason I wasn’t writing had nothing to do with them, but everything to do with me.
Last week I decided enough was enough. I stopped running away from my problems years ago and I was going to face this once and for all. I had that niggling feeling you get in the back of your mind when you know something is right and you keep thinking about it, but you ignore it or suppress it because your logical mind steps in or you feel uncomfortable dealing with it. The easy option is to bury your head in the sand and that’s exactly what I’d been doing.
So I contacted them and we talked and talked and talked. I learned a lot the other night. The startling revelation that my initial gut feeling was right, showed me that I’ve finally learned to trust myself and what I believe. It was my fault that I ignored my intuition and I’m not afraid to say I was completely wrong, about a lot of things. I judged this person based on someone else’s opinion, someone who doesn’t know them very well and by doing that, I lost my own opinion in the process.
Perhaps what was most enlightening was that I discovered my source of stress. And yes, it was me who was the problem, not them. Spending time with this person made me confused at times; confused about how I felt about myself because they made me face stuff I wasn’t comfortable with. Sometimes they asked me questions I didn’t know how to answer and perhaps the two biggest things: they challenged me like never before by utterly blowing away all my previously held beliefs on certain issues and exposing me to things I’d never experienced. I’d equated that as a stress that was bad, when in fact, it was a good stress that allowed me to grow and become a better person.
My friendship with this person is extremely important to me and I am eternally grateful that I met them. And just for the record: AY, I promise that I remember you first and foremost.