Dear, guys – welcome back to Letters From Liz!
Now, I’ve tried to write this post a couple of times during the month of June, but quite frankly I wasn’t in the mood to talk about this, but I also feel like a letter like this could help a lot of people out with their own individual traumas in life, because I know I didn’t have anything (nor really anyone telling me) that helped me at least start my healing process from my traumas.
Now, there are a lot of things in my life that was quite traumatic for me to experience, but this letter will focus on the trauma that I’ve normally talk about: my eighteen. If you’ve been an active Letters Reader (even when it used to be TNTH), you know that I’ve been open and honest about the things I’ve experienced and the raw, personal feelings and emotions I felt during that time, and even after. Although there will be times when I feel like talking about it makes me uncomfortable and uneasy, I remind myself of a quote an author said at her reading at my college during my sophomore year of college:
In order to help people survive, you must tell the story of your own survival.
To this day, I really do live my life with this quote in mind, even after all these years.
The truth of the matter is is that people heal differently. Some people are very private about their traumas, others neglect ever thinking about them, some move on from them in their own ways, and me? I write about them.
I am a writer after all, and that’s my truth on how I’m healing from my trauma.
The very first time I wrote about my trauma was during a creative writing workshop class in college. Our first assignment was to write a creative non-fiction piece, which in other words like a memoir piece. I don’t know what prompted me to write about one of the worst days of my life, but I did.
I wrote about the day I ran to my guidance counselor’s office as I was having a mental breakdown during school.
Not only was it nerve-wracking have to relive that day as I wrote down the story, but it was even worse when it was my turn to share my piece with a group of writers during our workshop. It was the first time I told a story about my trauma to a group of strangers, who didn’t know me as a person outside of these classroom walls.
I don’t know how my story got across to these people, but the workshop then turned into this supportive group that kept telling me, “it is all not your fault.” And I truly think that was the beginning of this healing process over my eighteen trauma; I had to take responsibility for the shitty things I’ve done, but I shouldn’t put all the blame on myself.
I’ve had other creative opportunities to write about this time in my life and share with our writers who also possibly shared their own life secrets in their writing. I’ve written theater scenes about my trauma, perspectives between me and the parties involved during this time in my life; it was the singlehandedly the only thing that would pop up in my head when I got the assignment to write about something that affects you to this day.
And I’m still writing about it.
I don’t write about this time in my life to get attention, or because I feel salty about it. I could honestly care less about the past because it’s just simply not a representation of the person I am currently. I write about it for myself before anything else, to heal my soul and come to peace with what I went through, and then I write it for the people who feel like their trauma clouds their happiness. I hope that whoever may be reading this, feels confident enough to overcome their traumas and see that things do get better, and life does go on.
Of course, growing up and letting time pass has helped the process a bit. Therapy also really helps with my healing process; our session two weeks ago was solely about this time in my life and I’ve come a long way from where I was even a couple of months ago with this trauma.
And that’s my point: I’ve been working it out without that “closure” everyone thinks will heal them permanently from their trauma. Some of us are lucky to get that closure and officially close that book for good, but also there are some of us that never, and will never get that closure.
I never got that conventional closure. I never got to tell the people who hurt me most that what they put me through damaged me for years. I never got the chance to express that although time has passed and I’m getting better, the trauma still exists, and for years it has hindered some of my abilities in life, that it took a long ass time to love the person I am and to forgive the person I was, and even then, I’m still healing from the past and I’m learning how to honor the girl I was because Lord knows if I gave up and lost faith in myself back then, I’d probably be dead by now. 25 wouldn’t have been here to finally see how it feels like to love herself.
I got my own closure when I started to write about it and not be so afraid to talk about it anymore.
Writing may not be for everyone, so I hope that if you are going through any sort of trauma and want to begin your healing process that you find a healthy and helpful way to kickstart your journey. Mine took years to start, and it’s taking years to end – but as long as you’re coming to term with what happened and that your trauma will never win and define you, things will get better. You WILL get better, and you will come out stronger than you were before.
I’m still here because I write.