photo (5)I was texting my friend Sarah this afternoon and she’d asked me how I was doing. I told her that things have been rough, but that I was distracting myself by ignoring my resolve to cut out caffeine and spending as much time as I could in Starbucks writing.

She asked, “Why is it that grief and creativity go together so well?”

It’s a really good question.

I’m working on a writing project that is very special and important to me and what is crazy is that in the middle of a lot of emotional pain and a deep sense of loss as I let go of things I’ve needed to let go of for a long time now, I also feel inspired and like I’m doing maybe some of the best writing that I’ve done in my life. As I think about it, I wonder if maybe it’s because vulnerability, when everything is stripped away and you feel raw from it, somehow removes inhibitions in a way? Those voices in my head that are always throwing up their hands… “it’s too hard”, “that’s stupid, no one will get it but you” “it will never work”… they’re gone and I have nothing to lose in the way I’m writing, I have nothing to prove, I have no one to please or impress. I just have an overwhelming desire to get it out of my head and onto a blank page.

I don’t think people always understand what it means to say the truth will set you free. We think of it as though we are always saying it to someone who is telling lies, but never to someone who is believing them. For the person who has been believing lies, or trying to, having truth crash in doesn’t feel like sweet relief, or sudden ease of fear. For those of us who have believed lies, truth is like a ton of bricks being dropped on you from a 10 story building, but the pain is merciful in that for the first time in a long time you are allowed to really feel. The road to believing lies is paved with the determination to block out feelings, to disavow anything that might open the gates of vulnerability and allow all of the hurt associated with the lie you’ve believed in, marking you as damaged and hopeless to everyone around you. You lock it up, but when truth kicks the door down, and all of that feeling floods out and overwhelms you and it’s excruciating and there are moments you want to die, you start to realize that there are also moments when you feel the beginning of joy, or the hope of joy and you realize that you haven’t felt that in a very long time because when you lock up pain, shame, hurt, and frustration you also lock up all of the good feelings too.

I don’t know if any of that makes sense, but it’s where I am right now… and of course once again it’s nearly 1am and I am wearing my writing sweater and glasses and wishing I had cocoa.