This week I wrote an essay about something that had been poisoning my life for about two and a half years. I just sat down at my laptop and wrote and wrote and wrote until every last drop of venom was squeezed out of my soul and was on the page.
And then something washed over me: relief.
I think, out of all of the wonderful and beautiful things about writing is its power to heal. I've always know writing has been my way to express myself and understand the world, but until this week I have never viewed it as the true healing power that it is.
A wonderfully wise author, Ernest Hemingway once said, "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at the typewriter and bleed." I am thankful I understand what Mr. Hemingway meant by that statement, because I have experienced it with my own two hands and 10 fingertips.
Although I love to write and it is my true passion, I can't help but feel like I never write enough. I am always looking for things that will encourage me to write and keep me "bleeding". So this year I have started trying to keep a journal. I attempt to write once a day, but if that doesn't happen I usually always write once a week. I think it is easy for me to get caught up in all the rules and regulations that come along with writing that I lose my voice a little bit--and that is where journaling comes in. I think as humans we can easily become too obsessed and preoccupied with the rules and regulations of life that we also lose our voices--and that is also where journaling comes in.
1. Stress release, man.
One of the greatest things about journaling is that no one has to see what you write down. Unless someone is snooping through your things without a warrant. Then you might get into trouble. But whenever I am feeling frustrated with someone or something it is always so refreshing to just write it all out. Then you won't get yourself into trouble by saying all of your deepest darkest feelings out loud. Journaling saves lives.
2. Cultivate creativity
The good news is, even if you hate writing our you think you might really suck at it, it doesn't matter. At the end of the day, your journal is a work of art. It contains things about your life that are beautiful and terrible and I have never witnessed a piece of artwork that wasn't either of those things. If you do consider yourself an artist, journaling is the best way to get the creative juices flowing. I have often flipped through my pages and found a word or a line or a story that inspired an entire piece of art.
3. Record your history because no one knows it better than yourself
Someday when you are gone, someone, somewhere is going to wonder about you. They will pick up a photograph and think "I wonder what she was thinking in this moment?" "I wonder what they did after this photograph was taken?" "Who is the person on the right?" And if you are smart, and keep a journal, there will be answers to those questions. There is truly nothing more personal that a firsthand account of an event. Whether if it is something really lame like what you outfit you wore to class, or something extraordinary like your first love, no one will able to tell it quite like you. Because you were there, and you lived it. Tell your story, because maybe no one else will.
So, readers, I challenge you all to simply sit down at your typewriters and bleed. You might find something you were searching for, and you might find something you didn't know you should have been searching for. Write whatever you want and whatever you feel. It could save your life.