Someone once asked my why I write. Why do I blog? Why do I submit things to websites that aren’t going to pay me? Why do I follow along this tortuous path that is the ecstasy and misery of being a writer? A writer for no money, no less?
I write because I don’t know how else to process my world. Maybe I lack coping skills. Maybe some of the things I have been through, that I have buried so deep inside me that they never see light, have stunted my ability to process my life in the moment. I find that the reason I write is the same reason I am so good at work in emergency medicine. In the moment, in the second of panic, as the shit hits the fan, the animal codes, the world begins to crumble, I feel nothing.
I am not unfeeling, I simply switch off. I do what needs to be done in a logical and methodical manner. I do what I must with not a moment of panic. It isn’t until after, sometimes hours, sometimes days, that I feel the immense stress and pressure.
When I was in school, I had a seriously important surgery practicum during which I was not only going to be running anesthesia and assisting in surgery for the first time, but I would have two surgeries instead of the standard one. I didn’t lose a wink of sleep. I didn’t have single nightmare of showing up naked. I studied for the oral inquisition I would be subject to and I practiced the practical skills at home on fake legs and pillows. I passed with flying colors, nailed every skill on the first try, and went home and slept like a log.
Four days later, I began having terrible nightmares about failing, showing up late, being asked to do things that I didn’t know how to do because they were beyond my scope of practice… you get the idea.
It was a delayed reaction to the normal pressure that people feel. It was a sudden manifestation of what I was incapable of feeling in the moment.
I write because sometimes things are festering in my gut and I can’t quite figure out why.
Maybe I write because I’m damaged. There are secrets I keep, lies I have to tell, situations I have never truly faced, and maybe those secrets have stunted me.
Or maybe I have the very best coping mechanism of them all: The ability to turn it all off and choose when to deal with it later, via my writing.