I’ve always had my pen and paper.
It never mattered if I was writing a message to put on the refrigerator, crafting love notes for my fourth-grade boyfriend, scribbling my emotions in my journal or recounting my experiences in a blog post. It never mattered if I was telling a fictional story, reflecting on my past or imagining my future. Ever since I could write on my own, writing has been how I’ve chronicled, archived and memorialized every version of myself thus far. I’d never realized it before, but writing has gotten me through everything.
When I started binge watching Sex and the City, I was moved by the way Carrie Bradshaw looked intently at her computer. Yes, her messy hair accompanied by her eyeglasses, a drink or a cigarette reminded me of how I look when I’m in my zone, but that’s not what drew me in the most. Carrie Bradshaw treated her life as a new research question every episode, and her writing helped her discover those answers. This was a dimension of writing I’d never done for myself, so I decided to start.
I began writing every single day, thinking about the events and positioning of my life and elaborating on them instead of just recounting them. If I’m having a bad day, what is triggering me and where is the root of the problem? If I’m feeling exceptionally well, what do I know about those feelings? The more I wrote, the more I realized the power of my personal writing.
The honesty, transparency and vulnerability that I face myself with every single time I sit down to write has drawn me closer to myself than I could’ve imagined.
Writing has helped me peel back my layers. I’ve developed a deeper understanding of myself and the world around me by questioning my every day. Writing creates clarity for myself when I get lost in the fog. It has helped me digest my grief. It has helped me through this time of transition. It has helped me celebrate myself.
I started calling myself a writer when I read something on Twitter one day. An author was answering the age-old question, “What tips do you have for an aspiring writer?” Their answer was simple:
“Just start writing.”
The act of writing constantly puts power behind the title. Somehow, it makes my words feel like they are that much more important (even though sometimes no one reads them but me). It empowers me to keep going, to keep investigating, to keep putting pen to paper to try and make sense of this world. It may seem ridiculous, but calling myself a writer gives me purpose. It gives me the confidence to share my words with the world more often. It legitimizes the things that I say, for myself.
I see why Carrie Bradshaw ignited dreams around the country. She allowed writing to be something more than a job—it was her way of working through life. It inspired hundreds if not thousands of fashionable girls, like myself, that are working through this world through pen and paper or blank Word documents. She showed that questioning yourself and the world around you is how you get the most out of this life.
I’m glad that I’m finally catching on.