I Write Because I’m Lost, Not Because I’m Found

EBFDA8D6-71AC-490E-AFD6-0C2476DC4F1D.JPG

One of the highest compliments in my book is whenever someone tells me that something I wrote made them feel something. It feels like a present unworthy of the moments it takes to write the words, but I take the gift all the same. 

I write on subways, on the floor of bedrooms next to beds where different levels of intimacy happened, in small rooms of my co-working space where the only sound is the air conditioner and my never ending thoughts. 

I write not because I wish to have someone else feel something but because sometimes I’m so numb to my own life that I need the words to remind me that I feel. When I’m knee deep in work, or anxiety, or depression, or the ebbs and flows of a life that moves really fast, putting pen to paper is my anchor and my savior. More than once I’ve written myself out of holes....or into realities that I’d already owned but was robotically moving through. 

I write so that I can feel — that others read and feel is a blessing and fringe benefit. 

I care about how things feel more than how they look, so when I don’t know what I feel (or if I feel) I am at odds with the woman I see in the mirror. She is all five foot something, well dressed, and makeup on, New Yorker, but sometimes, she isn’t me until I’ve sat down with my phone or journal and reminded myself where I am emotionally.

Lately, I’ve been starting every journal writing session with a single question - “where is my heart right now?” Sometimes it’s with someone else, sometimes it’s in my stomach, sometimes it’s beating so hard that I know it wants in ways it hasn’t in a while. All the places it is are places I am, so then, writing is how I find myself. 

We all get lost, maybe I get lost more often than others and that’s why I write. I definitely don’t write because I’m found, if I waited to write until I was found, I would never write. 

I write because I can be my worst enemy and the tallest, strongest wall between me and my happiness. I write because somehow sitting down with myself forces me to dismantle the wall one brick at a time and reminds me that I am exactly where I need and want to be. 

Fortunate are those who don’t need the words to remember to sit in their own happiness, because I do. That somehow my commitment to finding my own happiness, by attributing words to my feelings and then publishing them, makes someone else feel something is mind-blowing to me. 

I write not because you need to read the words but because if I didn’t write them I may not be alive. 

I sit down and I move the words from my head and heart onto paper or my phone. I don’t ever really know where I’m going with my writing but I make sure to give each set of words a space of its own. I have a journal where I write things that won’t ever get published. It’s a safe place to admit things to myself without the pressure of ever feeling like anyone else needs to read them. If I write on my phone, I know I’ve committed to two realities — shrinking my reality down to me and a screen and promising to present the world as I see it now, not as I wish to see it. Essay writing anchors me in reality. Journaling reminds me of my feelings. 

Writing brings me home to myself. It’s how I knew I was in love. It’s what told me I was depressed. 

Sometimes, when I don’t write it’s a 50-50 split on whether I’m so happy that I’m giving myself the chance to live in real time, or so sad that I can’t even bring myself to start to write. Either way, I catch myself and sit. Some of my most loving essays have come from days of not writing and a moment of realizing how present in love I was. Some of my most heart wrenching journal entries have found me in the midst of a depression I didn’t even know was there. 

I don’t usually use writing prompts because the discipline of sitting down to write every day has helped train my heart to word vomit onto pages, but lately, “where is my heart right now?” has been helping a lot. 

Lately, writing is the only place to know where my heart is and where it wants to go. Writing for me is less a chore and more an act of survival. It’s less about writing down what I discovered and more about exploring the single sentence or thread that leads to my discovering.