Why I Write (and I don’t plan on stopping)

I’ll never forget the first time I wondered if the world would be better off without me. Why does the world need another scrawny, glasses wearing, goofy acting teenager walking around? I’m not going to save the world, so why should I stay?

I’ll never forget the first time I thought about ending my story. Riding a bike with a friend down a busy road…saw a semi approaching and in that moment, I began to lean towards falling head on into that massive grill. If not for my friend yelling “Hey, how much further?” at the last second, I doubt I’d be writing this.

I’ll never forget the day I physically fought demons for the first time. Sitting alone outside school thinking how I didn’t matter. I did matter. But I couldn’t seem to grasp the thought. I began swinging at the air attempting to get those filthy beings away from my heart and mind.

I’ll never forget the first time I found out a good friend was cutting. Standing in a McDonald’s line and watched the sleeve on her sweatshirt pull up her arm as she handed over the cash. The deep scars struck me right in the gut. I remember getting to the table, setting our food down, lightly grabbing her sleeve, pushing it up, and looking into her eyes to tell her I was there.

I’ll never forget sitting there holding her hands and having her tell a story. Not the story everyone knew. No, she told me the story that no one would ever want to publish. The pain and terror that washed up did not belong to come out in a busy McDonald’s, but I’m thankful it did.

I’ll never forget the first time I talked someone down. Getting a call at 3am only to hear weeping on the other end. I knew right away something wasn’t right. “I’ve got nothing left” somehow came audibly through the line. I didn’t know how to counsel someone, but there I was. “Stay…please stay. Stay. You’re worth it.” kept coming out of my mouth. I didn’t know what else to say.

I’ll never forget the morning I heard that same friend tell me he had found the love of his life. They’re still together and their love is only growing. We’ve talked about that night several times since that moment years ago. He’s glad his story is still being written. I’m glad his story is still being written. It happens to be beautiful.

I’ll never forget the day I found out another friend ended their story. I cried until it hurt…and then cried over and over again.

I’ll never forget the day I decided my life is a combination of stories still being written and that my hands are a canvas. I’ve believed for a long time that I wanted to tell stories. I actually believe I’ve been blessed to encounter random stories so that I can share them. But on September 10th, 2015, I made the decision to tell stories for a purpose. I decided my hands can be used for so much more. They can write but they can also be wrote on. So I write.

I write because I miss my friends. I miss their laughs and smiles and good days. I miss their tears and frustrations and bad days. I miss the late nights doing nothing. I miss the games of HORSE with my buddy. I miss the funny texts. I miss phone calls. I miss moments. I miss all of them. Most of all, I miss their hearts. So I write.

I write because my heart tells me to write. I write because my heart tells me to write specific things and sometimes I ignore that. I write because sometimes people tell me to write funny things and that only causes me to want to write what’s in my heart even more. I write because stories are beautiful. All of them. The good and bad, they all matter. If you don’t believe me, take a second and read this. You still might not believe, and that’s okay, but I pray you’ll at least read it.

I write because I can’t remember the day Love came back for me…and that’s funny because I can remember quite a bit in life. My Mom says I stole her memory when I was born. I kinda believe her. But I can’t remember exactly where and when Love found me. I think Love came back for me that afternoon on the bike. I think Love came back for me every moment my Dad asked me to shoot hoops. I think Love came back for me every time my Mom gave me a hug. I think Love came back every time my little sister told me she loved me. I think Love came back that night at McDonald’s. I think Love came back that night he called me. I think Love came back each time I’ve got similar calls. I think Love came back that day I found out a story I knew had ended…I think Love came back each time it’s happened since then. Love still comes back…

I think Love comes back for me daily…and some days I don’t see it. But this is why I think it comes back.

It comes back because our stories are beautiful. I’ll say that over and over again. It might get old, but truth doesn’t get old.

Our stories are a gift. At times they can feel like a curse, but that’s only a passing feeling.

Gifts were meant to be given…and the best part about Love is that at times we feel unworthy to receive it…so we give it back.

You know what Love does? Love re-wraps itself and keeps on giving until we finally open to receive it.

Then Love celebrates. I promise you that it jumps for joy and does cartwheels around your world.

Yesterday, I met an older man named Tom. He blessed me with his story. His life has been well lived. He has sorrows and regrets, but in the chapters being written now, he loves and lives. He didn’t realize he was adding to my story yesterday, but he was written into this story and I like to think that I got to be written into his.

“That’s one of those things about love. It always assumes it can find a way to express itself.”
Bob Goff

At least five times a week I have someone ask me why I write on my hand. Some notice it in person and question, while some see a post on Instagram and ask why?

I write to remember. I write to honor and to remind myself that there are stories around me. I write to remember the stories that aren’t here anymore.

For me. That’s enough.
That’s enough to keep writing my story.

If you feel tired, broken, frustrated, or just beaten down. Don’t be afraid of finding help. It’s a beautiful thing.

TWLOHA

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Thank you for reading. Thank you for being in my life.

Love, Josh


Random Fact: Sharpie is really hard to wash off. I know, random, but when you write on skin once a day for 35+ days in a row, you realize it takes WAY too much soap to remove it.

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