Elizabeth Torres Evans
The Healing Pen
It was a recent conversation with a fellow writer about the healing power of writing that made me rethink the project I have been working on. I have always journaled. I think as I dealt with young loves, desires, disappointments and bad decisions I had to record them, thinking no one would believe them. As I matured, fell in love, married, became a mom, journaling took on the sharing of the intimacies, the joys and sorrows of living. Young motherhood, relationship expectations and disappointments, family dynamics all played a part in how I perceived the world I inhabited. My journal became my confidant. When I divorced, struggled as a single mom, married and divorced again, I wrote of the anguish of trying to find the right fit as a partner, as a family that was slightly “chequeco” (crooked). I wrote of the contrast of being a mainstream member of society, job, kids, bills and responsibilities and quietly self- medicating with street drugs. Pot was always around, but “speed”was what I enjoyed. Creativity stagnated. No time to write about the thoughts, the experiences, the visions. It was the “crash and burn” I wrote about. It was the end of the second marriage and the reality I faced that made me look inward. Face the insecurity, face the abandonment, face the failure of yet another relationship. But, it was the realization of the broken hearts of my children that made me finally face my self-deception.
I made a commitment to walk away from drugs. The journals I have stacked on my closet shelf, post-it notes tagged throughout, begin with that decision. Consequently, I had met a stranger that later became my husband. I know. If I hadn’t written about it, no one would believe it. This stranger that became my husband is a Vietnam veteran and not long before we had met he had diagnosed with PTSD. My childhood as a Navy dependent, my personal interest in the war and anti-war movement did little to prepare me for life with my husband and his battle with PTSD.
My journals became a chronicle of our struggles. New relationship. New family. Relocation. Pre-teen issues. Teen issues. Health issues and of course the PTSD. I wanted to capture PTSD and how it affected my husband, but in the end, I captured how it affected us as a couple and a family. Which brings me to the healing part. It wasn’t’ until I began writing my memoir about my observations over the years of our marriage, did I begin to heal.
Falling in love with a sweet man with a damaged psyche and watching him overcome his challenges, helped me overcome my own. I wrote about our joys, our pain, our anger, our silences, our sorrows, our healing. It wasn’t until I went back to read the entries that I began to see the threads of healing revealing themselves in instances of misunderstanding, revelation, love and pain. I took those threads, and wrote about our journey, how it affected me, what I believe helped him deal with his Post Traumatic Stress, how what I brought to the relationship played a part in his struggle and in his recovery. In writing about my perceptions and observations, I was able to see my own growth as a partner, my own strength as a woman, my own ability to adapt, and my own healing.