The concept of catharsis was introduced by Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) in his Poetics, as a means to offer an outlet for powerful feelings through the relief provided by artistic activities.
Ca-thar-sis: The act or process of releasing a strong emotion (such as pity or fear) especially by expressing it in an art form.
2. a: purification or purgation of the emotions (as pity or fear) primarily through art
b: a purification or purgation that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension
3. Elimination of a complex by bringing it to consciousness and affording it expression
-- Merriam-Webster Dictionary
At the time I was dealing with the aftermath of my attack, it was suggested to me that I try to express how I was feeling through poetry. Initially, I was reluctant to try this for several reasons. I was not very experienced at writing poetry, I was too angry and upset to think it would make me feel better, and I was a little hesitant to see what I would write if I let my feelings out.
As I finally let myself put pen to paper I was amazed at what I wrote:
Something Else I got Through
As the world blew past me
So did you
It swept away your lies
And it showed me what was true
Your anger and jealousy
Tried to lay bricks along my path
But before your wall was built
I defeated your wrath
I will never forget the pain
I will never forget the feeling
Of you unleashing yourself
While I stared at the ceiling
You failed to take control
As you entered the war
Because you were never prepared
And always wanted more
While running out of breath
I was able to escape you
And now you are just a memory
Something else I got through...
I did actually feel a sense of release after writing this poem, but also was able to learn more about myself. Firstly, I did not know I was able to express myself through poetry. Secondly, the words I wrote actually helped me to gain insight into my feelings. However, more importantly, by writing down how I felt, I was able to acquire some distance and perspective over the attack and realized that I was not responsible for this happening to me.
I encourage anyone facing a similar situation to try and find a way to express themselves artistically in a way that interests them -- as part of their healing process. When I was able to combine my growing mastery of self-defense techniques with the ability to express myself in writing, I was well on my way to healing and moving forward in a positive and meaningful way.
Stay safe, live well!
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