Last night I attended my final ever Ignite Cardiff; and bloody hell it was a goodun. A perfect mixture of poignant and hilarious talks, coupled with the dynamic atmosphere the night is renowned for… it really did tick all the boxes.
And whilst every single person did a first class job (with special kudos to my dear friend Miranda who did a stunning call out for more female speakers), there was one talk in particular that really blew me away.
Christina Thatcher took to the stage about halfway through the evening. I’d been looking forward to her talk, “Writing Grief”, but wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But, ya know, it had the word “writing” in it so it was obviously going to be good.
What did ensue was pretty overwhelming. Christina spoke with a touching honesty about the passing of her Father a year ago; her words were raw and heart wrenching. One person on Twitter described it perfectly: “A master class on how to deliver a message in 5 minutes.” It really was.
Amidst the grief, she turned to writing as an outlet to express a feeling that so many people struggle to understand. She even started up a writing group to help other people going through similar experiences.
Her bravery was poignant to witness; the fact that this inspiring woman had found a way to turn trauma into a passion was incredible. Her message was uplifting and deeply affecting; and you could tell every single person in the room felt the same thing.
I know that throughout my life writing has been a fundamental mechanism to pull me out of darker times. It’s something about being able to write down the words that you struggle to say or hear out loud… it really is so therapeutic. Putting pen to paper also allows you to unlock the emotions that you might be forcing out of your mind; emotions that you have to set free. I remember when my Nan passed away I wrote a poem about grief; as I was writing it I cried and cried, locked in the safety of my room. But once I had finished, I felt as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I had created the perfect message, and put into words a feeling that I had never experienced before. I finally understood.
Even throughout the turmoil of my relationship ending, writing was the first thing I turned to. And whilst on a completely different level, the only feeling I could compare it to was grief. I had lost one of the people I loved more than anything, and I didn’t know how to deal with it. Although I soon found happiness, it wasn’t until I wrote the post on learning to love yourself that I truly felt like I had been set free.
My writing isn’t amazing (in fact, it’s pretty average) but Christina’s message resonated with me like no other. She ended the talk urging people to write, write and write some more when battling with grief. And I couldn’t reiterate that message enough. Whether you count yourself as a writer or not, put that pen to paper and let the words spill out; it really is the most beautiful way to release yourself from the pain.