Time has a way with irony, and as I‘ve discovered, I‘m usually its victim. If someone had told me six years ago of the oddity I would become, I would have laughed. In sixth grade I developed a habit when my parents were on the outs that soon, after that first tantalizing sample, became an obsession. It was my companion and welcoming embrace when I felt the pressure of my parents‘ quickly dissolving marriage that would crush my whole world into a fine powder. It was therapy, my way of coping. So as I lay each night with a pad of paper and pen next to my bed or a thick novel, I slept all the more soundly.
There are those who call me eccentric. After all, it isn‘t common to meet someone who has a habit of reading 500 pages of literature each week, composes a 100-page story, and manages to earn superior grades as though it were as natural as breathing.
Now, don‘t get me wrong, I‘m accustomed to being an oddity and this title no longer holds a negative connotation. I see it as my own stamp of originality. Looking back on what I‘ve gone through, I can easily say that nothing I‘ve done has been as therapeutic as my literary endeavors.
As a writer and editor for Writer‘s Workshop at my school, I‘ve been involved in publishing five annual literary magazines (and been published in each one). There is nothing as liberating as openly expressing emotions through the written word. Still, shadows of my past loom, my hopes and dreams easily become small, wavering lights in the distance, and my ideal of expressing those dreams through poetry, a mockery. Yet all it took to alleviate these doubts was a stranger who approached me, and said these memorable words: “Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I was going through rough times and your poetry helped me sort things out.” Nothing has ever moved me as much as those simple, honest words. They made me smile and realize that by dealing with my own tempestuous emotions, I was allowing others the opportunity to deal with theirs.
Now I understand that by writing, I am not just making a promise to express myself but creating a medium through which we relate to one another. This is the ultimate beauty in self-expression - if we can make it our habit, our obsession, we‘ll finally be able to rise above the chaos of the world and see ourselves as who we are and who we want to be. Only then can we truly appreciate the emotions which are unique and vital to our existence, to our very humanity.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.