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WRITING THAT RE-OPENS WOUNDS
It's pretty hard to trace back to writing that was done in the past to edit or piece and put together for a new manuscript, in my opinion and experience. Over the past few years I've definitely had some breaks and periods of silence when it came to trying to publish works or submitting them for review and even contests, I had lost motivation and left all this word vomit poetry on the pages on my journal or randomly named and scattered Word documents on my laptop. There was a time where I really did spit out a lot of poetry and writing that just consisted of negative experiences that were happening in my life coupled with my then cynical view of it all. And honestly, recently, I have not felt like I have been able to write anything that compares to those pasts works; any poetry that I produce just does not seem like it's good enough or has enough feeling then the things I wrote years ago when I was feeling way too much at the time. On top of this, I've always felt like there just has never been some sort of closure with my past downer poems because I haven't had the time to organize them all together into a manuscript which is something I always planned and wanted to do. I've gone back and forth with editing this, and there's this new contest for Button Poetry that ends on March 13th for love poems that I have been so desperately wanting to enter into, but I just can't write any love poems that are new and interesting to me, so I resorted in backtracking to the old poems. The old poems almost all related to love. Either topics on painful relationships I was in, feelings I had about love, or things about addiction and unrequited love, etc. So much love. So much love only in tinted, very dark, sunglasses, painted in upsetting prose and not really something I'm that interested in revisiting at a time in my life where I feel happy and also am in a loving and secure relationship.
I didn't realize how much diving back into my old poetry focused on these past moments of my life would affect me so much. Which is also just such a huge reason why I would rather submit any of them instead of any new poetry I try to create right now; it still makes me feel something, even if it's uncomfortable or upsetting, it still must be good if I still feel something, right? All these poems need some good dusting and editing, though, and I've been actually trying to create something a little new using snippets from old poems to be more specific that it is about love, etc. Old writing like this just really gets lodged in my head, it feels like I'm not supposed to be editing this stuff, like I should have made closure with these old poems long ago, but here they are, either written or typed, with little bits of their souls still floating from my journal or laptop, waiting for me to put a close on their coffin's. And yet, I didn't, and I almost did before 2020. I remember trying to organize all these poems into their own place together for a book and I kept moving them, up and down, and trying to edit them, and then getting some major brain fatigue and anxiety and nightmares and I just stopped. You would think that maybe doing this a second time (which realty, it does not feel like this is just the second time, but it's actually probably the fifth or sixth) would make me not feel those things, but I start to feel anxious and I start to feel upset, and it makes me wonder if my writing just brings me back to that place in the past too much or if I just never got over what I had written years ago. What a bummer, right?
I feel like, and I want to believe, that other writers experience this, just to maybe not be so alone in that feeling, and know that I'm not doing this whole writing and closure and healing thing wrong, you know? And it doesn't necessarily always have to mean that you failed at getting some closure in your life, because to me that feels pretty bad, I always felt like writing was a huge part of closure for me, and maybe I've got it, but opening up those wounds through reading about those experiences and feelings is just a weird shock for my brain, wondering where this is coming from and why I'm trying to relive those moments that I tried to trap into paper and walk away from.
I guess writing just does that. And although it's uncomfortable for me at times, and a bit overwhelming, and probably not too great for my mental health when I end up getting anxious or panic attacks for no apparent reason throughout the day after a long night of past editing, I want to still believe it's all worth it. That one day I will have my poems published, and I will be able to really just seal it all in a little book and send it off, that I won't need to keep editing, and I wonder need to keep reformatting and rewriting and reliving, and that although the things I felt in the past, and the things I experienced weren't that great, I have my writing, I have that, and it was my form of a little therapy back then, and a way to kind of unload on paper instead of at a person. I want to believe that it does not mean I didn't find closure or fully heal from all those emotions and experiences, but that I just created something powerful, and hopefully it can help people feel less alone in the future. That's all I really want. I'm okay with reopening some wounds while editing or rereading my work if I know that maybe it help others feel a little less hurt by their own.
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