From the ages of 21 to 23, I ran a website that focused on entertainment, in particular, independent music. As part of the website, I wrote a column and on occasion published some poetry. Like much of what we write in our teens and early twenties, it’s embarrassing to look back upon. There were emotions behind the words but they didn’t express what I wanted them to. It was as though my writing was the same as a young teen going through puberty: the body wants to reach fruition, but the shape sometimes trips over itself. The feet are too big, the shoulders too small, or the legs gangly compared to the rest of the body.
Yet the writing saved my life in my early twenties. It was the only way I knew to get my emotions out. It was imperfect but it was all I had. On occasion, my bipolar, medication-addled mind would produce a phrase or paragraph that made sense. The words expressed how I felt in an adequate way. There were words that could affect people. I had readers of my column tell me as much. A woman fell in love with me through my words. It was a horrible relationship but it showed me the power words can have.
Over the years I’ve written as a means to express myself and help others. I’ve tried to get pieces published, but often to little success. There are a lot of writers vying for a few slim spaces. On occasion, something gets posted on a website. I’ve done zines and blogs, but it often seems the only people reading are my friends. And while I appreciate that my words are helpful to them, whatever art we’re creating we all hope will help a wider audience than those closest to us.
I’ve written many books that will likely never see the light of day. In the future, I’ll work on others. They’re memoir or music writing, or a combination of both. I don’t feel so compelled to share them anymore. I’ve learned to write simply for me.
I recently found myself in a bad place in my head. I was alone in my apartment and I didn’t want to bother anyone at midnight with my disposition. I had many bad avenues my thoughts were going down. I’ll spare you the details.
I thought about packing a bag and checking myself into the hospital. Instead, I wrote. And wrote. All my fears and worries and anxieties. It didn’t stop for over an hour and at the end, I had a mess of incoherent thoughts. But I realized I was doing the same thing I had done when I was 20. I wrote my way through my saddest, loneliest moments to make sense of who I am and what’s going on in my mind.
At the end of my time writing, I had no energy. But I felt a bit better. And I knew writing had saved me once again, as it always has.
Whatever you have that gets you through your dark times—writing, playing music, knitting or some other creative art—continue to nurture it. Respect it. Don’t let it die. Because even if you’re only doing it for yourself, as I do now with my writing, it may save your life as writing has done for me.
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This blog is an exploration of the subjects of belonging and loneliness. I also look at mental health issues. I seek to provide content to my readers that is informative and helpful. If you don't want to miss anything, sign up for my email list.