Writing: My Favorite Form of Self-Care
Why Writing Evolved From a Hobby, to a Necessity
For as long as I’ve been able to read, I’ve been writing.
I would spend my afternoons after school lying across the floor of my bedroom with my notebook and a pencil in front of me, imagining the look of my characters as I wrote them into existence. There were few things I liked more than picking out a brand new notebook in the store, and that remains true even now. I would spend at least five minutes trying to decide between a composition or spiral bound, and then another few minutes picking the color.
For me writing has evolved into not just a passion, but a necessity. To need it as much as I do is undeniably frustrating. I lost track of the number of times I’ve stared at a blank page and drummed my fingers against the keyboard or the notebook, feeling myself turn in to my own worst critic and second guessing the story I wanted to tell before I even wrote it down. There have been countless nights where I rolled over in bed at three in the morning, turned on the light, and grabbed my laptop because I wasn’t satisfied with the way I left my work. But I think that’s what makes the feeling when the words start to flow on to that blank page even more satisfying.
When it comes to writing I will readily admit that I am my own worst enemy, and yet I wouldn’t have it any other way. My overthinking often gets in the way of my creativity, but I genuinely love searching for the balance somewhere between those things. Writing has tested my patience, my determination, and my resilience like nothing else has, and without it I’m not sure I would have realized I had those qualities within me.
The reflection that writing requires has given me the gift of understanding myself and the way my mind works. It has been a source of comfort for me when I couldn’t find it anywhere else. It taught me honesty, vulnerability, and it allows me to turn an empty notebook into the ultimate confidant. My composition and spiral bound notebooks were there for me when I felt like I had nothing to turn to. I told them everything I wasn’t quite ready to share with anyone just yet. The sense of freedom that comes along with being able to create a world that’s entirely my own is something I wouldn’t trade for the world.
Today, I still have all those old notebooks. They’re all together, packed in to a little blue suitcase in the back of my closet. Every six months or so I’ll take out that little blue suitcase, and open up each notebook one by one. I run my fingers over the faded drawings at the bottom of the pages, doing my best to decipher the handwriting of seven-year-old me.
The little blue suitcase is my beloved time machine. It contains me. When I look inside it I am able to go back fifteen years to the wonderful simplicity of my writing when I first started. I am able to see my handwriting change and become more complex just as I did when I got older. My childhood is in that little blue suitcase, and writing has given me the opportunity to revisit it whenever I want to.
Originally published at ardentlylauren.wordpress.com on March 17, 2017.