Sometimes, All We Need is a Word.

By Alicia Napierkowski

I’ve been writing since I could hold a pen in my hand and put letters together to form words. I don’t even think I was capable of comprehending the sanctity I had built with letters and syllables. I escaped and meandered through every piece of my being by transforming feelings and ideas into language.

Shit happened, and I’d run and hide from writing because I thought my voice was small and ordinary.

I was afraid of myself, my words, my impact. My Dad would always say to me, “Why don’t you ever stick with what you’re good at? Why are you so afraid of succeeding?”

Then my Dad got sick. Really, really sick. It was undoubtedly the most traumatizing, painful experience I’ve had during my short time on this planet. I quite literally grasped onto my roots and sentences poured out of me like lava, or less eloquently, vomit.

I couldn’t stop narrating this inescapable event in my head. I couldn’t speak without crying, but I could artfully, and accurately articulate every single aching moment on paper.

Prior to that, I knew I couldn’t live without writing. I had written shitty poems about flowers, stupid combinations of words that did nothing more than rhyme, and exhausting letters to my parents about why I wouldn’t see the age of sixteen without a cellphone. Don’t worry, I did, and found far more important things to write about. I wrote, and wrote, and wrote.

When I couldn’t function in a world that no longer felt like my own, it occured to me that I couldn’t go a day without writing. This tradition presented itself to me throughout my entire adult life. When I couldn’t escape the horrible corners I was forced into by cruel girls in high school, when I thought my life was indebted to what I thought love was, I wrote.

Flashback to a year ago, my dad was true-to-the-word dying. How the hell do you face your father dying? I’m still questioning how I did. Somehow, though, I navigated my way the best I could with my friends and family by my side, and never-ending paragraphs.

I learned my way of perceiving the world– and putting thoughts and feelings into words made a difference to a numerous amount of people who needed it. I heard from strangers, made my father cry (a good cry), and understood for the first time that my voice was bigger than I was and I couldn’t keep it to myself.

That is honestly the scariest thing I have ever admitted. And a possible liability.

I’m not the same person I was a year ago. I will never be the same person again. It’s almost equally as terrifying to realize I will never know myself as I once was, but I don’t regret cutting ties with my former uneasiness and doubt.

This has not been a breeze but I think sometimes we put up walls and forget what connects us. Sometimes, all it takes is a word to tear them down.

Alicia Napierkowski is a freelance writer and designer. She has been published in The Huffington Post, HelloGiggles, and Shape Magazine. You can find a complete list of her work at
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Alicia Napierkowski

editor writer. calligrapher. words: HelloGiggles, Shape, & SheKnows. |

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