Do you ever wonder what leads people to reveal themselves in writing? Worse yet, all over the internet in blogs, or social media outlets? Why share intimate details of one's personal life in public fora? I often get a look of puzzlement when I speak of wanting to write my story. I think if you’re a private person, the idea of splattering your worst moments, or even your best, all over the place would be as comfortable as peeling your eyelids inside out.
I don’t consider myself a gregarious person. I actually think I fall more accurately into the private category. But I have these words that find me and feel like I’d be letting myself down if I didn’t let them out of their box. They are pushy, these words, and are looking for a way to be heard.
I am reading Carrie Fisher’s latest memoir called Shockaholic where she talks about her experience on shock therapy for depression (among other things). The woman is hilarious, incredibly intelligent and seemingly constantly at the whim of her feelings. She’s a bona fide navel gazer and a darn good one in my opinion!
I have never needed to come across as a ‘together’ person, only an honest one. Though I find myself wondering why she feels the need to reveal so much about herself. Why can’t she write the book and tuck it away in a drawer somewhere until someone finds it after she dies?
But the truth is that I already know why. In fact, Carrie Fisher says it best when she says she puts her feelings into words and prays they won’t get out again. Like drugs or alcohol (which Fisher admits she has used plenty of in her day), words can take the edge off of a problem, bring light (at least temporarily) to dark corners, make the unbearable easier to face – or at least hide from.
Yet the beauty of words is that they don’t give you a hangover. The solutions that appear in writing cannot only prevent self-destruction, but have the ability to help others when they are used well. Although they might be addictive, I would argue that they are more likely elusive and you couldn’t get a dealer to bring them to you no matter how much money you had.
Words can be a perfect friend telling you all the right things at just the right moment. They can make you feel connected or guided. When you find the right ones, I believe it is a gift to offer them to the world. To keep them to yourself for reasons of pride or ego would be selfish, in my opinion.
The world needs our words. Carefully chosen, artfully arranged, respectfully shared. Without words, we have no voice and cannot be heard. There is a place for silence, and a time for words.
I don’t think we should ever feel badly for sharing our thoughts. The words that make the world make sense to us, they may be the same words that another needs to hear.
I’m not signing up to be anyone’s therapist here. I wouldn’t be so bold to assume that I could make a difference in anyone’s life. But I can not judge another for using words as a way of quelling fears or confusion or loneliness. I could not assume that sharing words about matters close to home is an unstable practise. Sometimes words are what a person needs to get through the day.
What Fisher neglected to mention is that her feelings may well find their way into words, and though she prays they won't, they may in fact get out again. Out into the world where they can make a difference, change a life, help an idea along or alter a mood. And that may not in any way be a bad thing.