A photo of broken glass

Walking on Broken Glass

When I was younger, I used to struggle and get frustrated when I wrote. I could hear the perfect words in my head and knew what I wanted to say, but they wouldn’t come out the way I heard them. I know I’m not the only one because, like anything, writing is a craft. It’s something you practice until you get better. You never arrive; that’s why it’s a practice. It seems that some people have been born with a gift for writing, and some just practice until they get good at it. But, to truly craft magical words, that’s another dimension.

I’ve heard people say that all gifted writers are dealing with trauma. The truth is, most of us have trauma, but I think there is a gem of truth in that idea. Is that also why they say writers drink? Does that mean I’m a drinker with a writing problem?

I am one of those writers who began by writing out my trauma. It began with a desire to make sense of the madness that was my childhood. For a glimpse, you can check out my autobiographical story, A Box for a Table.

https://brendagrate.medium.com/a-box-for-a-table-e50ebb9edcee?sk=2695e6a9b1c028d1507a6996e80e1336

My trauma led me into a few not-good-for-me relationships, which eventually led me to quit my dream of being an author … for a while. But if you are a true writer, writing won’t quit you. I kept writing, but only in my journal, for a few years while I learned art. Creativity found its outlet in another way. I will always be grateful I found art, but writing is my first love.

Discovering Medium again has been exciting for me. I put a couple of pieces up a few years back and then promptly forgot about it because my life imploded. I got a divorce and then came face-to-face with my trauma. This time, I had a choice. Try to get around it, or face it and finally heal?

Healing is a slow but necessary process. It was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced, and I will forever be grateful for the choice I made. Life hasn’t been hunky-dory since, but it gradually gets better every day.

I was thinking the other night about what someone has to go through in order to write beautiful words and whether it always has to come via trauma.

Being able to write beautiful words is like being given the key to a vault filled with unimaginable treasure, but the road to it is paved with broken glass. I have had to walk on that broken glass for much of my life. My feet are cut and bleeding, but there is a smile on my face, for I know I have earned every one of those beautiful words. They are the salve for my feet and my heart.

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