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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Holding back

There's a sad fact about my life that no one knows. I write poetry. Secretly. I haven't written much of late. The interesting thing about my poetry is while I've actually had some awards for it, I've never really pursued it as part of my career. Maybe it's silly, but really, who reads poetry these days?

The other day, I started thinking about a poem. The thing that hit me about my writing is that what made my poetry so good is the raw emotion. I was called into my school counselor's office many times because they couldn't believe that what I'd written wasn't based on personal experience. The emotion was so deep and real that no one believed it was just in my imagination.

I realized, thinking about my poetry, that at some point, I began to hold back in my writing. I was tired of justifying my emotions. I was tired of explaining that the things that came out of my mind. They weren't real, but everyone was so convinced they were. Even to the point of my teachers thinking I'd experienced abuse myself. So I held back.

For a long time, I was plagued with nightmares about the death of my husband. I hated the thought of losing him. It devastated me. When the nightmares began, I started pulling back. I thought it would be easier to lose him if we weren't so close. But still the nightmares came and I held myself back.

I struggled to write the poem that was on my heart the other day because I don't want to access those emotions. I don't want to admit to the combination of hope and despair that I feel at this moment. Then it will be real. Odd, how when I let go before it was not real, and I stopped because too many thought it was. And now, I am afraid to let go and make it real.

I hold back on a lot of things. Mostly to avoid the pain. In doing so, I robbed myself, and others of the joy. It's time to learn to let go.

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