Why I Write This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

April 11, 2012
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I write because I can’t speak. I stutter, stammer, search for the words that fill my mind, my tongue slipping over simple syllables, sometimes skipping over words entirely. When I speak the truth my voice shakes. My hands, unable to stay steady, turn white and clench at my sides as I struggle through my thoughts. I long for the fluidity of sentences that won’t fail me, for eloquent opinions, but all I have is words.

I write because I’m compulsive. I brush my teeth five times a day. I am always seven minutes early to work. I make lists; to do lists, books I want to read, hours I’ve worked, movies I haven’t seen, shopping lists, and Christmas lists of all the presents I need to buy in April: a new apron for my mom, her old one faded and tattered with age, dorky themed boxers for my step dad, a homemade bracelet for my sister, and a Christmas ornament for my dads’ to add to their extensive collection. Lists lost in notebooks and the crevices between car seats. Lists made with good intentions, but almost never looked at twice.

I write because I can’t sing. No matter how much Otis Redding, Norah Jones, Sam Cooke, Regina Spektor, and Tracy Chapman I belt out, I simply do not belong among the list of those who change lives with the fluctuation of their vocal chords. I try to capture that moment, the complete harmony of my mind and the artists, be it belting out Dixie Chicks on a long ride home, standing on the edge of a moving crowd as Jeremy McKinnon sings directly to me, despite the sea of people between us, or laying in my hammock in peaceful solitude as Anna Nilak’s words repeat over and over in my mind, ringing more true with each moment that passes “2 am and I’m still awake writing a song, if I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me, threatening the life it belongs to, and I feel like I’m naked in front of a crowd because these words are my diary screaming out loud and I know that you’ll use them however you want to”. I don’t have a song. Instead, I have a pen, a paper, and a mind that tries to mesh the two into something worth remembering, something beautiful, though I know it will never live up to the melodies I compare myself to.

I write because I’ve always been told that I act old for my age but never really understood what that meant.

I write because I’m a teenager, and by definition full of angst and anxiety. I question my existence and am skeptical of the world around me. I don’t know where absolute truth lies, but I know that as a human I am predisposed to search for meaning in the universe, even if evidence shows there is no proof of creation beyond conincidence. That notion doesn’t sit well in my stomach, I yearn for a pupose, a meaning, a sense of direction in my life. In the absence of a God I have faith in, the meaning God instills in some individuals I must instead create for myself. Writing is my creation. It’s what allows me to question my existence and simultaneously create my own sense of purpose among the chaos that dominates this universe.

I write because the word moist has the power to induce vomit.

I write because when I’m older and tell my kids “I was a teenager once too,” I know they’ll want proof.

I write because in Mexico Maine, a “cabin on a lake” is a “camp on a pond”, and you’ll be looked down upon if you believe otherwise, because each family has its own unique history of secrets and traditions that meld into the complexities of our society.

I write because I can’t yell at parents who let their kids rip apart our brand new menus. Because working on school nights may seem ludicrous, but the independence it provides me is a necessary component of my sanity. Because the owner is always right, even when he’s not. Because every person should experience being a server before they leave a bad tip.

I write because I like secrets and the sense of purpose I feel when I know something you don’t.
I write because I want to remember. The scent of old spice and double mint gum on a winter coat. Dancing to Diana Krall in the living room as my mom sips red wine and stirs spaghetti. A smile from the new cook that leaves me breathless. The blurred lines of friendships on cool summer nights. Homemade doughnuts and never ending cribbage on my grandma’s front porch. Being enveloped by a big hug from the right person. Fireflies, mosquito bites, and flashlight tag. Eating Oreo’s inside out. The time I felt beautiful, the times I felt alive.

I write because I want to forget. Because sometimes I can’t write, instead I sit, numb, and wait for the time to pass, unable to hope, to think of the future, or to recognize the reality of what’s in front of me, though looking back I know it’s the moments in which I was almost broken that grew to define me. The nurse’s glance when she told me “I’m so glad you’re here. She’s been crying for hours.” My mother’s face when she saw me enter, pale, weak, searching for strength but falling short. I was scared. I searched for words but failed. I love you. It will be okay. But I stay silent and say nothing. “I’m so afraid” she told me. I was afraid too. I gripped her hand but remained soundless, tears forming despite my efforts to stifle them as they inched up my throat. I write because the doctors later told us she should have died that night, the cancer bringing her white blood cell count so astronomically low, that her survival seemed miraculous. Because I didn’t have the heart to tell my aunt, it was okay, that I understood the difference between colon cancer and lung cancer, and that as she snuck a cigarette behind the garage, I wanted one too.

I write because everyone has a story if you’re willing to listen.

I write because I’m stubborn. Bitter. Angry at the amount of injustice left in this world. Afraid of what’s to come in a society driven by fear and insecurity. Horrified by the undertones of racism that spark in conversation when everyone in the room looks the same. Keenly aware of the judgments made on a seventeen-year-old girl raised by a homosexual father, or any family unit that breaks our definitions of “normal”. Outraged by those who refuse to question their beliefs. Appalled by the fact that our society has an amazing capacity to change and grow, but we instead choose to cling to prejudices and double standards while simotaniously pointing to historical succeses that claim victory and “equality for all” to argue that we have grown, despite the statistics and experiences of those who face discrimination on a daily basis that prove otherwise. I’m realistic, not romantic, trying to take the world at face value and knowing that I am not exempt from my prejudices either. But I believe in the power that words have to shatter misconceptions and redefine modern life.

I write because Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said “A riot is the language of the unheard.”
I write because when my best friend was in treatment for anorexia, she was asked to write a poem a day, so I did too.

I write for imperfection.

I write because I believe. The power of love. The power of words. The power one story has to change the hearts of many; Shel Silverstein, who showed me where the sidewalk ends and where compassion begins, Earnest Hemmingway, who defined the fears of a timeless generation, Stephen Chbosky, who made me feel infinite, William Faulkner. I too want to shatter someone’s perceptions of reality.

I write because the universe is infinite, but our time is not.

I write because I run on caffeine. Two dollars equates 64 ounces of diet coke and eleven cents to whatever charity my change goes to that morning. Nothing stimulates a perfect day like carbonated water, phosphoric acid, potassium benzoate, and a sarcastic-I’m-so-surprised-to-see-you-this-morning smile from Arkan, the 7-11 worker who feeds my thriving addiction.

I write because everything matters. Or nothing does. A fine balance between insanity and perfection fixates itself in my mind. What is there to do in a world where nothing makes sense except try to figure it all out?

I write because darkness is intoxicating, both harrowing and beautiful.
I write for the moment. For the here and now. Driving to my stepsisters wedding with Sublime blasting as my sister laughs at the salt water in our hair and the fading outline of our temporary tattoos. The view from Mt. Helix at midnight. Sitting at Marine Street on a still morning, the waves crashing on the shore in an imperfect melody, lulling me into sleepless daze. Watching the red sun linger and fall off the horizon. Seeing the Milky Way for the first time, peering above the brim of my sleeping bag as I protected my nose from the biting cold, breathless.
I write for validity. To say: I was alive, and at that moment I felt it.

I write, and yet, I am not a writer. I am not a teller of tales or a prophet of poetry. I do not weave stories with clear beginnings, middles, and ends. I can’t create complex metaphors that force people out of their frame of reference. The fine lines always blur and I am left with jumbles of sentences attempting to illustrate the madness in my brain, never living up to the expectations I’ve created or illuminating the message I’ve hoped to expose.

I write because I am here, with something to prove, even if I don’t know what it is yet.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

TTTeeSS said...
Apr. 18, 2012 at 7:55 am
I liked it. Again, it was dark, but it was good.
Josika.Nav replied...
Apr. 29, 2012 at 12:03 pm
i agree with TTTeeSS . very very well written. i really like the way you have expressed yourself. great work and keep writing ! :D
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