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Catharsis as Growth

Writing by Emily Tennant. Artwork by Yury Aleksanyan.


Is catharsis necessarily a loud act? An uncontrollable, unexpected moment of ecstatic release – relief – accompanied by laughter or sobbing, triggered by some notable event? The first crack of lightning of a long-awaited storm, deafening thunder, dark swollen clouds ripping at the seams.


Or, can catharsis be calm? A moment of release – relief – stemming from a cease in the chaos. A moment where you can finally say you feel content, and you mean it.


Can catharsis be routine? Sitting outside in the mornings, pink-cheeked in the cold, white threads connecting your mug of tea to the sky above. Heavy beads shifting between your fingers: in, two, three, four; out, two, three four.


Can catharsis be trust? Allowing yourself the ease of trusting in your own capabilities. Look after the body that supports you, feel the energy in your fingertips, the power in your voice. Thank the ground beneath you as it absorbs each of your steps, tracking your journey. Watch the waves as they take turns rolling to shore, the sun as it leaps the horizon each morning.


Can catharsis be peace? Free from uncertainty, from the unkind words thrown at you by others – and yourself. The ability to sit on your own, on a busy train, on a bench beside the lake, in your garden, and be still in your own company. No longer constrained by the fizz of self-loathing simmering away beneath your ribs.


Catharsis is growth. Release – relief – from the bonds that held you down, kept you back. Each moment of learning, observing, listening, and feeling, is the cracking of the clay that has settled on your smaller self. These cracks are not injuries. Do not be scared as they stretch and widen, as they lift from your skin and fall to the floor. Trust that the person beneath is capable; trust in your ability to heal, to grow. Relish in the quiet. Build your peace and protect it.


In this never-ending catharsis, you are new and the same, old and young, broken and healing and healed.


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