Why do I write?
That's like asking me why I breathe in and out. I write because I have to. And if you're not a writer, that may not make any sense to you at all. But if you are a writer, you know that the urge to put pen to paper (or in this case, finger to keyboard) is a basic need, like food or water. For me, writing is very therapeutic and draws an emotional response. I write when I am happy, I write when I am sad. When I am angry, I write a lot of very mean things that I thankfully am smart enough to delete without sending. Writing is soothing, healing, relaxing, and just makes me feel better.
I have always, since I was able to write, kept a diary or a journal. My first diary was small and blue, with white hearts and one of those little locks. The paper inside was multicolor pastel. I wrote in it often, and I will never forget the day my little brother read it. I. Was. Mortified. Because in grade school, you write all sorts of embarrassing things like, what you did at recess or what color your headband was that day. In any case, I do remember that Tony and his friend David actually got in some deep shit for reading it, so I hope it was worth it.
I had several journals between 7th and 9th grade...at that time in my life, where everything was so dramatic and upsetting, I would write pages and pages each night, and I went through many, many journals in those 3 years. A few years ago I finally purged them to the recycling, but not before reading them...oh my God, I was boy crazy! I don't think I've ever been as in love with boys as I was in 7th grade. I love this boy. I love that boy. I danced with an 8th grader at the school dance, I held hands with so-and-so...and oh man, did I do a lot of kissing as a freshman! My mom should be happy to hear that I was not having sex with any of these kids, but I sure kissed them all! And then came home and wrote 5 pages about how it was the most-amazing-kiss-of-my-whole-life.
Even in high school and on into college, I kept journals. They were less intense, less action-packed, and contained more real thoughts than gossip, but I wrote in them regularly and reading back through them, I could definitely read into when I started to grow up, take on my own self and begin to care more about other things than kissing boys.
Writing has truly provided me with a great deal of self-imposed therapy, as it has allowed me to vent, learn, react, and grow during some of the most traumatic and some of the greatest moments in my life. If I can't say something out loud, I can certainly always write it down.
My ex-boyfriend was killed in a car crash last year, and I have continued to write him Facebook messages. There is a chance that someone out there has his password and is reading them, but I don't care, because for me, these messages are serving their purpose. I am able to communicate a level of grief through writing him a message that I was unable to express in words. Zach wasn't a very good boyfriend. He had a serious drinking problem, he didn't have a job, and he was seeing someone else at the same time he was with me. But in spite of these things, which I know made him a pretty crappy boyfriend, he was one of the most genuinely amazing people I've ever been with. He made me laugh, made my days better, always had something hilarious to say. He was energetic and fun, and he could keep up with my get-up-and-go, extroverted personality. We had a great time together. When we broke up and I started dating Kalib, and my grandparents died, I was really mean to Zach. I said some mean things about the choices he was making, and because of this, we were soon no longer friends on Facebook. It is a difficult thing, apologizing for what you know you did wrong, while grieving, while knowing your apologies will go unheard. And yet, out there in the void of Facebook message land, is a very heartfelt, very sincere, very caring apology to Zach for the way I acted during a period of grief in my own world. I didn't need to be mean to him, even though things did not end all that well, and something came of writing that apology to the man who deserved it, even though it was never read.
I was honored with the responsibility of writing eulogies for both of my mom's parents. This was both so easy, and so hard, and has gone down as one of my greatest accomplishments. My grandma passed away in October, and my uncle asked my mom if I would do the eulogy. My mom talked to me about it, then told my uncle that I would write it, but by no means would I be the one to read it. I cannot hold myself together at a funeral, and I was devastated at the loss of my grandma. There was just no way I was going to stand at a podium and read anything to anyone. But I was deeply moved to have been asked to write it. I worked harder than I have ever worked on anything. And it was perfect. Every word had meaning, and my cousin read it, and everyone in my family appreciated the stories, the words, the emotion. It felt so good to be the one person in my family that was able to put my grandma into written words - we could all talk about her for hours, but they had asked me to write it. So through my grief, I was also very grateful and very proud.
When my grandpa died just a few months later, I was not only asked to write a euology for him, but I told my mom I was reading it. Everyone - myself included - was surprised, and I don't think any of us thought I would get through it. My cousin Alan was instructed to come take over
if when I fell apart at the podium. I spent all of my time working on writing exactly what I wanted to say, listening to my grandpa's friends tell me stories about growing up with him, and putting his personality into the words I was writing. And then I read them. Out loud. At a funeral, in a church, in front of everyone. And there was something even more powerful to me about being the voice reading the words I had written, and was so proud of myself.
Being able to write, and write well, has helped me through some very hard times - death, breakups, an abusive boyfriend, fights, estranged family - because my ability to put everything I am feeling onto paper prevents me from exploding. Writing gives me a release in a place where I would otherwise have no alternative but to fight. I can sit at my desk and write out all of the reasons I am hurt or angry, and then turn around and have a much more constructive conversatio with a friend or a boyfriend. I am proud of myself when I write something that people read and share...like my blog a few days ago about women and their bodies.
I took on this 31 day blog challenge because with as busy as my life has been lately, I needed a structured way to force myself back into this space, this space right here where I have no distration. Nothing but a good song, a keyboard, and my own thoughts. I needed something to make me make time when I felt I had none. And look, here I am, only 11 of 31 days to go, and I have not missed a day yet...so apparently, I do have the time. And so, I will continue to make the time, because writing is not only what I do, it is who I am.