In this world where we are inevitably altered by the people with whom we interact, it can be difficult to maintain a sense of self. It is for this reason that I think writing is such an important, and in fact necessary, hobby.
Since I was in fifth grade, I have always kept something like a daily journal. I would record daily events, but I would also indicate any remarkable thoughts I had that day, any interactions that seemed notable, and any personal revelations that had suddenly made themselves obvious.
In a quiet space, untouched by external factors, I explored my mind. I mentioned any thought that lingered. I analyzed the characters of people I met. I inspected my own. All of my conflicts, doubts, fears, and triumphs I recorded on a piece of lined paper. And because this belonged only to me, I did not hold back. There are angry and spiteful entries that make me wince upon reflection. There are deeply heartfelt entries denouncing the aforementioned entries a day later.
Writing every night started as a way for me to capture my life experiences, but it became so much more than that. It became a way for me to think of crazy, fantastic things that would have never even entered my mind any other way.
I have read back on past angry entries, and thought about how I could improve upon my social skills. I analyzed long, quiet entries in which I allowed simple thoughts to flower into something entirely novel.
I have smiled at my past immaturity, laughed at my trivial embarrassments, and cried for my deepest sorrows. I reflected on myself in the past, and envisioned myself in the future.
Even at the lowest points of my life, I never lose my sense of self because I am secure in the knowledge that I can find it preserved between the covers of my journals. Absent of outside influences, writing became the perfect way to express my creativity, and, through it, I remembered, learned from, and grew into myself.