“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”
― James Baldwin
― James Baldwin
Write about your most painful moments. We share in laughter but feel our pain is unique, that no one has felt an ache like this before, which deepens the loneliness. You could be in a room filled with people and still feel alone, wanting to find a corner to hide in. Or you might try too hard to distract yourself, even become a distraction; you’re the centre of attention, but yet still feel disconnected. I know this of myself. I assume as much of other people. I’ve seen it on the page, heard it in the melody.
Studies have shown that the brain deals with physical and emotional pain in much the same way. When you’re hurting it’s difficult to focus on anything else but the pain and the isolation it brings. If you dismiss your own pain it can become easy to ignore the pain of others and apathy is a kind of death.
Your writing, like stories you've read and songs you've heard, can stand like an inukshuk on the barren tundra, letting a fellow traveller know that someone else has come this way. It reaffirms life, perhaps for someone who is about to give up.
More than ten years into a seemingly endless war it sometimes feels like apathy, greed and indifference are the accepted norm even if you need meds to achieve it. I think it’s important to remain human and have the courage to show you care and that you still feel. Empathy and education fight against the apathy and ignorance, compassion and grace against desensitization and hate. We can call for a Jihad against the lack of humanity in our own soul.
One producer told me, in regards to Just J, "My step daughter loved it. She wished it was longer. However, you write from the heart. Most people aren’t interested in heart these days."
Allowing yourself to be vulnerable, in this world, is like cutting yourself and then jumping in with sharks. When a predator smells blood, or anything they perceive as weakness, they will attack, they can't help themselves. They might not even recognize it as attacking; they are just doing what it is in their nature to do. Like the scorpion on the frogs back trying to cross the river. So, keep your wits about you. To put it another way, you're going out as a sheep among wolves, so be as cunning as the serpent and as innocent as the dove. You might be surprised to discover who the wolves are in your life. And surprised, too, at where you find shelter.