Cut Yourself Open (And Let Your Writing Heal You)

What locked boxes are hidden deep in your closet?

Samantha Lazar
Sep 24 · 3 min read

You know those raw emotions we tend to want to hide from? Those memories that make us feel shame? You know the stories your parents don’t know?

You’ve had those dark thoughts and the will to lock up that pain. Isolation is easier than shedding light. Sometimes telling the lies long enough will make the scars fade like the injuries never happened.

Well, guess what? Everyone has these stories.

As a brave writer, I am going to come clean.

I want to write about these dark places, but I have a lot of fear.

I am afraid of my reflection, so I write fiction. I am afraid of the past falling so quickly onto the page, so I shorten the stories to poems.

But the truth is, I write to heal.

As I grow as a more public writer, I hope that some of my writing will impact others enough to help them heal by knowing and writing their own stories.


What locked boxes are hidden deep in your closet?

I don’t mean the box where you keep that broken blown glass pipe you loved in college. Yes, it still smells of sweet and burnt marijuana resin.

I do want to know about how you smoked opium in a cave when you were sixteen, but go deeper. Darker.

Take out the box hidden so far within you it’s covered in cobwebs. It’s where you reach when you want to release all that pain. Go ahead and open up that box.


It won’t be easy to write these stories

It will be hard to let the light in. To spotlight your second abortion — the one you promised yourself would never happen again. But not even pregnancy would make him stay.

It will be difficult to watch your babysitter touch you again. You were only six. You understood it was wrong, but you still liked the attention. This was what you craved.

It’s ok.

Tell me about how it would be easier if your dad successfully ended his life this time.

Let us see the apology letter you never sent and will never send. You know the one. It might go something like:

Dear Mr. Rose (not his real name) and Natalie (my friend who lived up in the canyon),

I deeply regret stealing merchandise, money, lottery tickets, and your trust in me. This is not an excuse, but I was really lost when I was working for you.

I was stuck in an abusive relationship with a man who yelled at me when I took too long getting ready, and so we missed the window to buy his drugs.

I was nineteen, pretending I had it all together. I had numbed myself so much that the rush of taking something and not getting caught served to chase the emotions I was trying to avoid.

Even though this was over half my life ago, I still cannot believe this was me once.

I am trying to forgive myself for not knowing where to get help for my depression. I am not the same person anymore.

I am truly sorry.

— Samantha


Readers, give it a shot. Tell your stories. Be brave enough to show your humanity.

I promise not to abandon you for your darkness.



The Brave Writer

The next generation of writers breaking barriers together.

Samantha Lazar

Written by

Writing is childlike and serious business: poetry, fiction, and essays in celebration of being a Mom, Wife, Educator, Writer, & Lover of Life

The Brave Writer

The next generation of writers breaking barriers together.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade