The Healing Power of Writing

I’m not sure if all people begin to heal from writing, but it does happen. Once a person gives their stories air, light, voice – they begin to heal from whatever was hurting and holding them back.

healing.jpgMany years ago, when I was in school. A woman showed up late to class. She could barely walk, used a cane, struggled to a seat and didn’t speak for half the semester. Then, one day, she spoke.

Maybe it’s important to tell you about the class. It was a women’s studies class. The instructor gave voice through stories, studies, lectures, and guest speakers to women’s issues, including what we call today the #metoo movement.

For most of the semester the beautiful woman, long hair, tight lipped, rarely smiled, spoke even less, barely moved and every little moment seemed to drop into depths of pain.

Then one day, she spoke up. She said, about ten years earlier she had been raped by her husband’s best friend. If you tell, he warned her, I’ll tell your husband that came on to me and it was consensual. Afraid of not being believed, afraid of losing her husband and her son, she remained quiet, believing she could push down the shame and pain.

The class was stunned into silence that the woman could share such a secret with us. The instructor hugged her and thanked her for being brave enough to share with us.

None of us knew the power of her statements.

The following week she moved with much more ease, and by the end of the month she showed up without the cane.

She shared that since she’d let that secret out, she’d been feeling better. Her mysterious mobility issues, the serious pain that had riddled her body for years, was dissipating.

I believe, she told the class, it was the pain of that secret that was locking into my own body.

She felt freed.

Writers often talk about needing to write. Stories need to be told. Secrets need to be shared. There’s a healing power for the teller and the listeners.

I actually began this blog today to talk about my story “The Healer” in How to Throw a Psychic a Surprise Party. But this isn’t that story. There are many times of healing in that book, but this story wasn’t mine. It was hers. But it taught me something about healing and releasing stories which might hurt us or hold us back.

Published by

Noreen Lace

Originally from the Midwest, Noreen Lace received an MFA from California State University where she now teaches. She believes in the beauty of language to express the darkness in life. She is the author of two novellas, West End and Life of Clouds, as well as a book of short stories. Here in the Silence. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in national as well as international journals, including The Chicago Tribune's Printers Row Journal, The Oleander Review, Vine Leaves Press (Australia), Silver Stream Journal (Ireland), Pilcrow and Dagger, Fishfood, and others. "Memorial Day Death Watch," a memoir of her father's passing, placed as a finalist in Writer Advice, while her poem, "All at Once," was published as a finalist in Medusa's Laugh Contest issue. More work is always in progress.

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