Picking Up The Pen

Not to brag or anything, but my life has been awful the past few months. Although I’m sure my hell-coaster of a life would make for an interesting read, I’m not here to air my dirty laundry for Facebook shares. Instead, I’d like to ponder: where do you go from here? How exactly do you pick up the pen after loss?

Grieving is awfully hard—anyone who’s ever lived knows that. We all do it differently so there’s not one single, sure-fire way to cope. But how do you grieve something that isn’t tangible?

I think what I’m trying to get at here is the dreaded T-word that makes Arts majors shake in their Vans: trauma. Although we’ve all probably written some of our best essays on it, trauma can be difficult to navigate. And how exactly do you fix your traumas? Spoiler alert: you can’t. But you can sure as hell live with them.

Of course, I’m no psychologist but I’ve had enough traumatic experiences to feed a small village. It’s hard to go through life without experiencing some sort of traumatic loss that we can’t really forget. In fact, I’d argue everyone has some sort of trauma, big or small. But having trauma as a roommate in your mind can become too daunting to even think about. The trick is, you have to find your own healthy way to cope.

For me, although I’ve lost a lot during these past months, I’ve also lost the healthy coping mechanisms that used to get me through the day. But fear not: loss also means you have the ability to gain. So, I’ve had the chance to rediscover some of the small things I love: painting with all the colours, watching as many movies as I can in a day, waking up early to make myself breakfast before class, and now, writing.

In the past few months, I’ve lost my love for writing. The trouble I had getting up in the morning without crying made writing a monster in my mind that I couldn’t even start to think about conquering. I can kind of relate it to the experience of being your own boss wherein the process of writing coincides with the process of living. But if living is hard, then writing is equally as hard. But, hey, here we are!

I’m not trying to say that facemasks, essential oils, and self-love will solve all your problems. But having the chance to rediscover what it means to do what you love is a start. Relearning how to be an active participant in my hobbies has been the final step in relearning how to live.

Combining some of the most supportive people that exist in my life with a dash of therapy has been my way to pick the pen back up. Although most people aren’t quite sure how to deal with a grieving person (Lauren Forster actually wrote a fantastic article on what not to do if a loved one loses a pet) the best you can do is listen and offer support. You’d be surprised at which people will be there for you while you figure yourself out.

For me, my coworkers have gotten me through these months by supplying me with the external resources I needed to start to heal. Chances are, you have family, friends or coworkers that are around you every day that love you and can tell when you’re going through shit. Sometimes you don’t even have to jump the hurdle of asking for help; you can just be pointed in the right direction and figure it out from there. Like rediscovering writing, I had the chance to reevaluate just how grateful I am for my coworkers and how without them I couldn’t have made it out of this.

If what you’re dealing with isn’t a tangible loss, it’s easy to feel like you’re overreacting or over-exaggerating. It’s easy to lose sight of your own pain when you’re measuring your suffering up against someone else’s, but you feel how you feel. If your pain is making a negative impact on your quality of life, you’re not overreacting. Actually, in most cases, we underreact to our own pain. Pain is pain and we should all give ourselves more credit for feeling it and surviving it.

Overcoming grief yields a little bit of triumph. Getting out of bed or cleaning your room can feel like you just aced the hardest exam of your life. Or in my case, picking the pen back up feels like I’ve finally conquered that last monster. Even though we can’t really remove ourselves from our pasts, the best we can do is heal.

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