On a site I follow called The Gift of Writing, Natalie Trust wrote an insightful blog Paper Can Handle the Truth. In the second sentence she says this: “The ink giving way to emotion, letters becoming large and lose, traveling down the page. With each phrase scrawled in my journal, I felt a little bit of relief.”
That is how I feel when I write about the ups and downs of living with dementia; for the really difficult or painful moments, my private blog gets a real hammering long before the words get to being published on my blog. Thankfully. And it is a relief.
It is such a relief to write the truth, without fear of reprimand or being told I couldn’t feel like I feel, or that I’m wrong, or even that I’m right. It is a relief simply to get it out.
It seems paper can handle the truth, but can we? Often not, or at least not without being defensive, angry, hurt, and sometimes even going on the attack. I’ve had people attack me on this blog, where my words have been toned down, so one can only wonder the level it would get to if I shared my private writings!
Natalie also wrote: “Of course, it can be frightening to see yourself reflected in your own handwriting, but the paper doesn’t judge you, only you are there, faced with the choice to be gentle or harsh with the truths on the pages in your hands. I didn’t always choose to be gentle.”
I don’t always choose to be gentle either. Not even here, as my promise to myself is to say it as I see or feel it, but hopefully without hurting someone else. I don’t mind if I offend or annoy occasionally, but I never mean to hurt anyone or defame them. If I ever hurt you with my words, do let me know, and in advance I apologise unconditionally. We judge ourselves, often more harshly than others judge us, but judge us others do, and often with a great sense of self-righteousness. I understand that perfectly. I used to be like that. Sometimes I still am…
When writing goes public, it ultimately stops the need to be in control, to be right or wrong, or to be anything other than honest, as reading something that you’ve written, and that others might read as well, needs to be from the heart, and brave and candid. Otherwise, what is the point?