[CW: CSA] I protect myself under layers of analysis and resolution, thickly padded thoughts processing everything the raw core of myself spits out. Sometimes the original material has been recycled and repackaged before it gets to my conscious self. Writing helps understand the workings of this protective system so I may be aware of the true base source of what I think. Writing works similarly to that which deceives or renders me imperceptive but works as an antidote.
Outside sources constantly challenge my internal world, same as everyone. Writing organizes in a way that’s comprehensive and easy to comprehend. This is the value of journaling just the same as creative writing— ideas come from personal real living and only become useful if we have a fuller awareness of how we think. External pressures and inspirations form our perspective so must be treated as artifacts which once decoded, reveal who we are. The challenges, the victories, it’s all worthy of being understood.
I write because I’ve been writing as a hobby since I discovered the right direction to print the letters of the alphabet. I wrote my first short story when I was five and I still remember the brightly coloured eyes of the persecuted dragons I daydreamed. I detailed a convoluted conspiracy involving greed, jealousy, discrimination, and political turmoil because I was and am rediculous and was exposed to too much, too early.
Even in early childhood I struggled with mental health and behavioural problems, life was horrifying and I found in writing a spark of infinity. Amongst all the constraints I faced there was this secret fountain of sacred elixir. Within all these options of word combinations, there was an ability to learn about all the dark secrets the adults thought I couldn’t fathom.
Writing was one of my first triumphs— I was well above my reading level but was still far behind my peers in handwriting, mine illegible to even myself for many years. Eventually, I started to understand my own ways, I began to be able to read my backwards scribbles the same way I could read print. This game changer quickly led me to the dragon’s eyes (which led me also to art so that others could understand my stories).
I learnt about myself through the vast world of fantasy. Some adults voiced concerns over the often violent or tragic elements of my drawings and stories, but I could only acknowledge my own pain by processing these fictional scenarios. I have two illustrated books from these early, early days: a tale of a horse being mauled by coyotes and a compilation of dinosaurs fighting and eating each other. While I wouldn’t truly understand for many years, I was being molested and sexually abused by my late paternal grandfather whom I lived with much of my life. Through nature and the vicious fight for survival I found within it, and through writing and art, I was given some relief from the own fight I experienced every day.
In my worlds there were no villains, even predators. Blood spilt was never out of greed or lust for power but in the accidental and incidental trauma animals must inflict upon each other in the continuation of existence. It was the world I escaped to physically in the woods to hide from real life which was nothing like Real Life.
So I wrote. I researched. I was this road which led me to being able to speak my truth about my grandfather and encourage others to be open about stigmatized or taboo topics such as incestuous abuse. I retained an aspect of myself which desired to learn truth and the dangerous details of it because I could write about it.
I dread to think who I would have been if I didn’t have a creative outlet. The deep psychological damage I suffered has led me down some dangerous paths of self destruction, but without the base sense of awareness that writing gave me, I could have become a murderer. When I was fifteen I began experiencing life shattering urges to kill my grandfather. I would spend hours, days ruminating solely upon the idea of ending the life of my abuser.
Then, I wrote a 90k word novel about youths murdering a pedophile, started a new medication, put a meager effort into therapy, and sat back to watch my grandfather die of old age. A few months after I moved out of the house, he died on the night of a blood moon. In that moment he lay in a sterile hospital while I sat and wrote on the boardwalk overlooking the harbour and ocean.
You’ll find many artists are traumatized or mentally ill because creativity is a cure to feeling powerless and in the dark. We regain autonomy in the arts by reaching back out rather than shutting down. We regain some trust.
I wrote because I needed to and I write because I need to