As we move into a new year, I cannot help but recognize my place in a season of massive change. It as though the change has been set into motion – but I have not yet arrived. I am engaged – but not married. I am studying to be a therapist – but not yet graduated (and certainly not yet licensed). I have started a new job – but have not yet mastered the many skills and learnings required.
Upon this kind of reflection, I have found myself asking: What is consistent in the midst of this deeply transformative time of life? What is it that I can come back to that is wholly and completely grounding?
That was the first and most salient answer. Writing – of course!
I have been writing since I could actually write. I have been writing throughout my life and it is the type of thing that has both defined me as I have also defined it. That is to say that I have always been a writer – but throughout the varying seasons of life, I have decided the kind of writer I want to be. When I was young, I wrote a lot of stories. In my travels, I wrote a lot about the people I met and the awkward encounters I often managed to find myself within (I still do this, by the way). When I was an angsty teenager, I wrote about my friends, my perceived social life, and how high school was everything. Several years ago, I spent most of my time writing about social justice: the things that have broken my heart, the things in the world that seemed so wrong, so utterly out of place. Now, I write a bit of everything – I write poems from time to time, I write about my insights from unexplored parts in my past, and I write about my partner, and wedding stuff, and balancing all the newness in my life.
However, actually getting myself to pick up a pen and write something has been harder than at any other time in my life. Sure, it is somewhat hard to find the time, but actually, it’s more difficult to bring my presence to the space of writing. Good writing requires a mind ready for wandering and exploring, and lately, I have found myself hinged up by the waves of practical, modern-day stresses.
Yet, I come back to it because writing is the constant in my life, right? I am a writer – and so when it’s hard to do, I allow myself to trust the process and carry it me where it needs to go. This never fails. Honestly. Even with writer’s block, there’s always something I can bring forth in my heart, soul, and mind and express it on paper. Writing is magical like that.
Thinking about this today, I wrote the piece below. It’s simply a call back to what I love in writing and why it matters so much to me.
The only thing between me and writing is me.
I mumble, “what really do I have to say?”
I ask this question only to find a swell of energy that reminds me –
I have a lot to say. I have a lot to write.
I can write about the world and my place in it.
I can write about the people, places, and relationships I experience.
I can write about spirituality and God – what I know to be true and everything that I don’t (which, let’s be honest, is a lot).
I can write about love. Love – the way I know it, hold it, and bear witness to it. Love – the way it can be extraordinarily miraculous and complicated at once.
I can write about change; how we propel forward and let go of the past while still knowing where we come from.
I can write about learnings. Mistakes. Vulnerabilities.
And, if I dare, I can write about unspoken truths.
The power of writing is in the ability to make that utterances inside of us real. Writing brings forth and identity and pieces of ourselves we may not always speak into the world.
When I give writing a chance, I come back to one of the strongest parts of myself – authenticity.
When I write, it is like my real voice, unfiltered and unwavering, is alive.
The world creates barriers and boundaries (as do we) to what we share.
We are silenced, muted, and asked to be quiet.
Writing radically creates and provides the space for considerations, musings, and ideas that are transferred beautifully (sometimes messily) from mind to paper.
Writing is a process, a practice, a discipline, a craft.
Writing is where I find myself.
Writing is the soul moving into a deeper existence.