There’s a conversation going on about trauma and PTSD and writers as survivors of trauma here:
That last one was a while ago, but EBear (or, as she’s better known, the Amazing, Award Winning Elizabeth Bear) posted the link in response to the first post by Myke and as it turns out, though I follow her blog, that was the first time I’d read that post.
It got me thinking about how come so many of the writer friends I have turn out to be both geniuses and survivors of trauma, particularly childhood abuse of some sort. As EBear said, we know each other, I guess.
(No, I’m not a genius. At least, I have no idea. I’ve never had a real IQ test. I just pal around with interesting people and bam! They turn out to be bonafide MENSA and I’m like, ‘That’s why you’re so smart!’)
Yes, I’ve been through some…things. I don’t really like discussing them ’cause, as EBear said, it comes off like you’re looking for sympathy, or worse, trying to make yourself out to be the one who REALLY suffered. My philosophy is that someone else–a LOT of someones–has had it way worse than you so shut up already, precious flower.
But I do find stuff showing up in my writing. Sometimes I give people life stories that carry parts of my baggage. All writers do this, I guess. But sometimes I think I might be schizo, because part of me builds characters that see the world so positively, and the other part wallows in the darkness that tainted so much of my life. For all intents and purposes, I’m an optimist. How that happened is still a mystery to me. But I think it’s important it happened because I can write people who have never had a bad thing happen to them, and people who’ve never had a good thing happen, and even some in-between.
I think most people have amazingly screwed up lives you’d never believe in a movie and that everyone has been through something that would make my jaw hit the floor. I’ve been travelling lately and met some inspiring women working throughout the Caribbean in the education and training field in the course of my paying job. One woman is a miner, with her own company, who rescues child labourers and prostitutes from the wild interior of Guyana in her spare time.
I’m not kidding. She does this with her own money. You would not believe the trouble it’s brought her. But as she said to me, she could not stop. You see, she used to BE those kids.
Now that’s a hero.
Sometimes I think that’s why writers write. So we can silence the demons and be the heroes instead of the victim. So we can make the story have the ending it deserves instead of the one reality dealt us. So we can show ourselves what victory looks like.
Because not all of us made it out. And some of us did, but carry scars that will never fade.
So many of us used to be victims.
But when you write, you’re in control. You’re not the victim anymore. You’re God and you have a pen. The world does what you want for a change. And there’s nothing more fun, satisfying, terrifying, illuminating and healing than that.
So keep writing. Keep sharing. Keep on keeping on.
There are no more victims here, after all. Just writers doing what they were born to do.
Share your thoughts and stories below, if you wish. I’d love to hear them.