It occurred to me today that when I write I am actually looking for something. Searching, sometimes, with an almost clingy desperation for someone to witness the pain and the joy and the small moments of my life that elicit pre-verbal reactions that I never want to explain in the moment.
For example, love that feels like safety, or people that feel like home is easier to say than ‘I feel like there’s a sun lighting up me up inside and it looks like the light I reached for when I was 5, through the leaves of a beech tree in my Grandparents’ yard.’
Normally, in the moment, I’d just smile if I felt that.
If I feel embarrassed or vulnerable, you best believe that that’s not coming out. In fact, I’m excellent at re-routing my own emotions in a moment through a rose-colored lens.
But I also realised recently, that just as I want my writing, my life, really to be witnessed in some way, that that’s what I feel when I read the works of great and small authors (both.)
I feel a rising sense of pride and joy that I get to exist in a world with voices that make mine feel like it can soar. Do you get me?
I started writing for myself, and I never wanted to share something in case I was attacked in that space of communion with something deeper and greater than me, but that has always been the source of my strength.
I realised, then, that I was witnessing myself. I had to invite others in to become something new, even if my poetry falls flat or my writing is still imbued with the traces of emotions that block, rather than allow creative flow.
It’s important to witness it all, and to have it witnessed. I’ve been so grateful, and still am, to have witnessed the words of incredible authors throughout my life. I hope to enjoy many more.
In some small way, we’re all trying to be seen. Some part of us aches to submit our truths to the light, knowing they might be cleansed even though it will likely hurt, at first.
The relationship between writer and reader is a strange one, but a beautiful one. It’s the relationship not only of writing, and appreciation of that writing. It’s the relationship of witnessing, like a sort of echo, writers and their readers reverberate through each other, past any distance.
It’s a beautiful thing, to write, and to witness.