I Need to Write to Feel Okay

I am currently reading “Hunger” by Roxane Gay, a memoir about a woman and her body. First of all, read this book. Secondly, read anything by Roxane Gay.

In her book, she talks about how writing saved her, and how it continues to save her. She speaks about how throughout hardships she faced, writing was a source of comfort for her. And I never thought of writing as a place of solace. For the past year of grad school, I thought writing was a chore,a job that I didn’t want to do. I was writing news stories and reporting whatever and whenever. At a certain point (let’s not kid ourselves, many certain points) I questioned whether I wanted to do this: whether I wanted to write.

That’s a scary thing to question, and to be at that point of questioning was even scarier. Other than a writer, who was I? I like to think of myself as someone who is good enough at many things. I’m a quick study, so I can teach myself something until I am mildly good at it, then I stop. But writing? I never had to teach myself that, it was something that I just did. I couldn’t stop doing it. So to think that I wanted to abandon it was a shocking realization.

As I graduated and moved back home, I realized that in some ways I was writing in productive ways. I was journaling constantly, more for my sanity than anything else, and that I enjoyed that feeling of expressing myself through words. I built my website with a personal blog component because I knew that personal writing was something that I was good at, it got me into two top grad schools for crying out loud.

I didn’t understand that writing was the thing keeping me afloat in this strange transitional period of my life. Not even strange, hard. The hardest thing I’ve done in my life so far. Emotionally, mentally and spiritually. In those hard times, I wasn’t writing for myself, and when I thought about doing it I became instantly tired. Exhausted even before I started. So I didn’t. I did my school work and my other time was spent decompressing. I even thought about how much I missed writing for myself. But mentally I wasn’t ready to delve into myself yet.

Until now. I need to write to feel like I have a handle on my life. That everyday I’m doing something to better myself and keep my head above the water. I needed to hear Roxane’s words about writing to understand it too. Writing is a constant for me, and I should treat it as such.