I hated writing. If you told me growing up that I’d be doing it for fun after college, I absolutely would have rolled my eyes! Writing was a chore.
But…in my third-year-writing class, I completed a 20-page research paper on looping and tracking in education (one of my nerdy passions), and I realized how much fun I had while researching and writing it!
In elementary school, I had a diary that chronicled boys I liked and the dramas of gel pens; but since coming to college, journaling became a huge part of bible study, rants and raves, and personal exploration.
The joy I discovered in finding myself through writing became something difficult to put into words. The deepest, introverted pieces of me can cause me to get way too caught up in my head, so writing became a safe place to reflect and respond to my self discoveries and struggles. Post diary days, I moved more toward quiet and sweet meditations from Rumi and reflections on Maya Angelou’s poetry and stories. (*Highest recommendations for “Home” by M.A. and “The Essential Rumi” by Coleman Marks if you have yet to explore them!)
After being diagnosed with depression in November of 2014, my identity officially crumbled. It felt like it had been falling apart, piece by piece for many months by then, but I was exhausting myself by forcing them to fall gracefully so I could pick them up by myself without anyone noticing.
I had been shoving them into my over-filled backpack of emotions and shame and guilt and sadness for so long that finally. In the small, dimly lit room, I sat with my counselor as she said the word out loud, associating it with me.
The seams ripped, making it impossible to zip it back up, and all my emotions and fears of being unworthy and unlovable were laid out in from of me. Damnit. It hurt. I had to deal with it now. I had to deal with the pain my family caused me. I had to deal with the fact that finding my identity in my job and academics wasn’t available to me anymore. And worst of all, I had to deal with the parts of me that I didn’t like and redirect my attention on the things that were actually wonderful about me, things that made me ‘me.’ And I knew I had to love all of that; but I had to re-learn how to love all of that.
Writing has been a way for me to stay sane in my brain while also getting out all of my thoughts and without having others’ thoughts to worry about. I no longer let others dictate what I think about myself and the decisions I make. I can use the tools I have received from blogs and counseling and mentors and even helping others through their own pain…I use these tools to remind myself that there is hope on the other side. That my struggle right now is the hardest one I will ever face. And the next will be too. Writing is now a companion, allowing me to love myself again. I can read something I wrote and look at it like I’m helping a friend.
I can come to my own conclusions with fresh eyes, a fresh spirit, and a fresh page. P.S. Hope is always singing, “Hello from the other siiiiiiide!”