We All Have a Story to Tell

What Happens When We’re Unable to Tell it?

The night sky in my backyard is filled with an infinite universe of stars. I look to them for answers, each one offering endless possibilities. I’m enchanted with the idea that in a sense I’m connected to another living being who is out there in the world gazing up at the exact star I am, at the exact time I am.

I’ve learned to accept that there aren’t always answers and we’re left with no other option but to carry on in the unknown. Once the orchestra of crickets drown out my thoughts it’s time for bed.

When I wake in the morning I wipe the sleep from my eyes. I shake off the grumpy. I stretch and release the burdens from my body. Then I sit down and write.

“I am no match and the more I try the more I become someone I do not want to be. “I hate every fucking minute of this life!” Yelling things I truly do not mean, perpetuating the cycle. I can endure only so much. I’m flesh and emotion. I’m devastated and heartbroken.”

I believe writers are open books. Our readers are privy to our life experiences, our families, our personality traits and our thoughts and feelings. They share our secrets and our memories through our written words, but what happens when we have a story we yearn to tell but it can’t be told?

What happens when we can’t share the truth and there is no outlet? There are circumstances when it’s just not enough to write it for yourself, when you feel the need to be heard but you vow yourself to silence. Perhaps it’s too private or we fear consequences, or it’s a part of us we aren’t willing to share with the world.

It could be the story is too painful to share. I recently wrote a story that will never be published. No one other than me will ever read it.

My story is too painful. It keeps me awake at night crushing me. Allowing others in is my only hope for escape. Therefore, I will never be free.

“It must be a divine power or non-human force because every day I tell myself I’m done, yet I’m still here. I want to surrender but there’s this unexplainable will to keep going that I never knew I had.”

At the same time my story will eat me alive. It weighs heavy on me. Each word is carefully thought out. Emotions are adjectives. Actions are verbs. Specifics are nouns, yet no one will ever be given the opportunity to connect with each carefully chosen word.

There are some secrets I cannot share. There are certain truths that cannot be told. There’s a blank page in every book.

“I have no resolution. I’m incapable of freeing you from your pain. Each new day picks up where the last left off and I feel as desperate as you do. While you feel undeserving I feel as if I’m not doing enough.”

I am failing myself and my readers. I’m stifling characters, burying details and barricading scenes. There isn’t always a hero in the hero’s journey.

I am no hero.

I’m incapable of navigating the unknown world in real life and when we put things in writing they become a part of us that will always be there.

I refer to this as the curse of the creative. We become dependent on processing life through the process of writing. We become human when we are recognized as human. We become connected and bonded to those who we hook with our opening paragraph and cheer for us when we triumph in the end.

As I sit alone I make the worst mistake as a writer I can make. I reread it over and over again before I write the ending. I fill my internal void with revisions. I edit and cut, copy and paste. I gasp for air. I search for the perfection as the boundaries of what’s real life and story become a blur to me.

I read the story aloud to myself and listen to my own words because there is a part of me struggling to let it go. A writer writes stories for readers to read but what happens when your story can never be told?

“In all your anger and rage, your striking words I heard you say you feel so alone. I did the only thing I could do in the moment that I knew how. I said nothing. Instead, I laid down next to you and held you with all the strength and love I have in me and I pray my love will be enough to save you.”

The quotes were pulled from “I Don’t Feel Trapped. I Feel Tired.” A story I wrote which will never be published in its entirety.

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Newspaper reporter in Eastern Iowa. The views expressed are mine alone.

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