Releasing through writing
Life in quarantine is hard. 2020 is hard. And if you’re feeling the stress and pain and heartache of this year, I suggest you write it out.
One of the greatest pieces of advice one of my teachers gave me was to write letters: write them to people, to yourself, to your anger, your love, your pain. I have found that there is nothing more cathartic than sitting down with what you’re feeling and writing it all out. When I started this piece, I was in one of the darkest head-spaces I’d ever known. I couldn’t put a name on what I was feeling other than empty and hurt. After writing and writing and writing, I determined all of these things were “heartbreak,” something I’d never experienced before. When all was said and done, I realized that what I wanted was to heal from this pain. I needed to name it, release it, and see how I could use it to move forward. I hope this finds you well. And if you know someone who needs to hear these words, reach out to them, send this message along, and let them know you’re there.
I’ve neglected addressing you for a while, Heartbreak. You see, when you were around it was so easy to get tangled up in you, to allow you to wrap your arms around me and tell me I’m no good. Your degrading words became the lullabies with which I tossed and turned myself to sleep. But I’ve grown tired of you, Heartbreak. I’m ready to release you.
Thank you for showing me how lonely this world can seem. Thank you for painting my days a bone-chilling blue, for filling them with emptiness. Thank you for allowing me to feel a pain I’ve never known—a result of opening myself up to you. Vulnerability was something I fought so hard to achieve because someone somewhere told me it was a good thing. While I snuggled up to you, Heartbreak, my loved ones saw how much damage you caused. They saw me grow pale and weak, they reached out to me, telling me I’ll get over you—you weren’t all that you seemed.
You made a mess of me, that’s for sure. But you taught me much more than I anticipated. You taught me that vulnerability is necessary, no matter how painful. Opening up gave me the ability to speak words I’d left unsaid for years. No matter how much that pained me, there’s no greater feeling than knowing I tried. I know you’ll soon teach me that, when one door closes, countless doors will open. Maybe they were open all along. You managed to deplete me of everything I knew of myself, what I wanted, and what I believed; I’ve been given no other option but to build myself back up piece by piece, because if I didn’t, you’d be right there to settle into the emptiness once more.
You overstayed your welcome and it’s time to leave. Go on your way. I hope you manage to teach someone else these lessons without doing too much damage. I’d love to tell you to get the hell out of town, but I know that’s impossible. I know you have and always will prey on those who open themselves up to love and joy. We couldn’t have them without you. So I’ll just say to you, I hope you can show your new hosts their own strength and worth because that’s all you are good for, Heartbreak.
When you come back to say hello, as you inevitably will, I will show you just how strong you made me. I’ll let you keep me company long enough to build me up a bit more, and release you once more. I can’t say I look forward to seeing you, but I’ll tell you this: I won’t be as surprised when you come ‘round. I plan to handle you with a greater grace than before and to grow a little stronger along the way.
Moe Long is a full-time graduate student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, working toward her MA in Rhetoric and Professional Writing. When she's not doing school/work related things, you can find her playing outside with her pup, Opie, hiking, trying her hand at gardening, or at a local brewery. She hopes to pursue a career writing more op/ed pieces and essays!