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Edging Toward a New Life

by Ken 8 days ago in coping

Some authors write to make money -- I write to learn peace within myself.

Edging Toward a New Life
Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

When I first started writing, I felt like a man on a mission. Finally, I told myself, finally, I will be able to clear my mind of all the wretched memories that fill my psyche with my past life -- a life I stopped living in my twenties, some 50+ years ago.

Writing, I thought, will allow me to erase these terrible flashbacks swirling in my head, lodging themselves between me and the open door of a new and exciting world, void of harrowing tales, heartbreak, and vivid disappointments.

It will be medicinal to simply sit down, slow my thoughts long enough to stroke them, letter by letter, onto my life's keyboard so I can gain a clearer vision of that which has imprisoned my mind with memories I wish to no longer endure. Ahh, if only it worked that way!

I would quickly learn that, although putting thoughts into words can be remedial, you cannot erase a memory. If it is a good memory, you get to enjoy it over and over again, engulfing you with pleasant thoughts, which brings you great satisfaction.

On the other hand, if it is a bad memory, even after voicing it or writing about it, it will grudgingly cling steadfast in your mind. It will still evoke pain from time to time, much like stepping on a stone hiding in your shoe, reminding you that the hurt happened, and forcing you to somehow manage the pain, no matter what it takes.

Life is like this

One thing writing accomplishes for me is it forces me to be more analytical, more introspective. Intentionally, I slow down my thought process so as to seek out the root causes of my pain. Not only that, it has also helped me to remember forgotten details, and to identify many moments of pleasure I had forgotten throughout my journey.

By Daniel Cartin on Unsplash

That's what life is for me, a journey into the unknown. It is like this because, from one day to the next, we do not know what will happen to us. We have to absorb it minute by minute -- all of it, the good, the bad, and the extreme. Sometimes along the way we tend to forget this happened, or that sight or sound, and we will leave those details somewhere in the forest of our brain, thinking them insignificant, too painful to remember, or perhaps unimportant in the overall scheme of life.

Reality has a way of knocking us senseless at times. Events like January 6th, 2021, Breonna Taylor's and Ahmaud Arberry's deaths, among many others, stiffen us with disbelief. And yet, many of us have already buried the facts in the recesses of our brain. It is as if our brain inhibits our mnemonics process in an effort to avoid the pain embodying their memories.

Writing nudges me into functioning again, urging me into remembering all the details, the sordid and the sublime, to let them flourish in the reality of today -- the today I live in, at least -- making them easier to decipher.

It seems to me my writing about these events (or perhaps the passage of time, who knows for sure?) has allowed the pain to subside, somewhat. It might stay this way for the rest of my life, or it may return again with the next stab of indecent violence happening in today's world, I don't know.

The one constant of which I am certain is the relief I feel when I have completed writing about one of these thoughts from the past. That is when I remind myself how lucky I am to be alive, to add more memories and make a positive impact on others while I live.

Thanks for reading this!

coping

Ken

Read next: Losing Your Sense of Urgency to Depression

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