Monday, February 25, 2008

the power of lies, the power of truth-telling.

i've got a couple of those "works in progress" posts started. i've got one about writing / healing about halfway done. (only half-)surprisingly, it's kind of hard to write. mostly because i'm not only writing about writing, but i'm trying to use the post as a beginning of the process of writing to heal. which means i'm trying to tell one of my stories in a complete way, linking both facts / events and emotions. i, of course, am trying to do so with one of those stories that i don't tell...the story that i've only told to a total of two people thus far - my old therapist and a very good friend. so writing this post the way i want to write it? is tough. to say the least.


i've got a couple things i can start saying about writing.
or, more specifically, about words.
(inspired in part by a conversation i had recently with one of the incredible women who's part of this healing community i'm slowly finding / cultivating here in western mass.)

a lot (far too many) of us grew up in environments where words were used only in the form of lies. we couldn't speak the truth about our pain, about our real experiences, about our woundedness. our words became the things we hid behind, the things that provided us with a not-so-safe kind of safety. we might've used them to pretend that everything was fine, to sacrifice ourselves so as not to rock the boat. lied our way into convincing other people (and ourselves) that we were ok, that we were safe, that we weren't in the pain that we maybe couldn't really handle at that time. or we used our words to control other people, other situations, because at least that way, we could ignore what was really going on. we could avoid the situations that were far beyond our comprehension, our maturity level. and, of course, words were used almost entirely as lies told to us; telling us we were loved when every action by our parents or siblings or relatives or other adults clearly told us otherwise. telling us we were safe when we were anything but. telling us how important "the family" was, how important it was to look the part, do whatever we needed to do in order to give that illusion of a happy family. of a functional family. telling us that our acceptance and approval depended on being "beautiful" -- i.e. skinny, feminine, athletic, intelligent. telling us we weren't good enough. pretty enough. smart enough. white enough. or just simply enough. never, or rarely, telling us the truth.

so words, for so many of us, were a kind of betrayal. putting trust in these things that so often and for so long let us down, left us wanting, becomes difficult, incredibly so....but not impossible.

because we can reclaim these words. all of these words, all of this language that was for so long used against us. we can use them to tell the truth, instead of lies. use our voices, our mouths, our hands, our ink, our fingers, to tell the truth. claim and embrace our truth.

the truth, too, is just as powerful as these lies. more so, even, by virtue of it being the truth. more powerful because we know what the alternative is. more powerful because we're more conscious of what it is to tell the truth. more powerful, for ourselves, because in telling these truths, we're healing the parts of ourselves that have been so deeply wounded by the lies we've had to tell and the lies we've been told.

which means, of course, that writing -- writing truth, writing the truest reality -- is an exercise in healing. is a form of healing. it's a (potentially) public form of healing. which means, further, that its potential is immeasurably powerful. if writing the truth is healing for the writer, reading a writer's truth - her raw, uncensored, real truth - is healing for the reader, as well.

the power of words is, well, awesome. almost unbelievable. in the very literal sense of both of those words.'s funny. i'd started out this post thinking that i would make a couple statements about words-as-lies / words-as-truth, then move on to discuss #2 on my works-in-progress list - on relationships and being whole & open & healed/healing within them. seems my fingers and mind had something else in mind, though.
maybe next time.

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