Finding my “passion” was a heavy load throughout the years of my teen-hood. As I clambered through new experiences, I was begging my soul to reach out to something—anything—and grab hold of it. I constantly thought back to the “dream careers” my child self craved to be a part of: first an astronaut, then a doctor, a teacher, a marine biologist… everything sounded great on paper, but there was something missing. I found no comfort among those jobs with high salaries and job security.The ideas of conventional careers thrown at me by guidance counselors phased through me like ghosts.
This lack of a true passion left me in a rut. I didn’t know who I was or where I wanted to be, and though my counselors assured me that my identity was still being shaped, this emptiness suggested that any natural process that should have been happening just… wasn’t. My friends were already creating their futures before even applying to college, and here I was, having no idea what I could do. I craved to merge into the fast lane with them.
Among the struggle to find a calling was the onset of a deep and extended depression. I sought counsel, but whenever someone would ask me why I was sad, I couldn’t seem to get the words out. Everything was jumbled.
My mind was a crowd. Every thought seemed to try and shout over the other, creating an incomprehensible droning. They blended together, and would grow louder and louder. It was like a never-ending night in a club, with people screaming over the music, the bass thumping in my chest.
One night, as I was writing in my daily journal, I decided to expand upon my entry beyond the usual three-sentence summary of my day. I began to explain how I was feeling, and eventually, my words took on a cadence. I showed them to my therapist in an effort to have her better understand my thoughts. “Wow, these are really good. Really good,” she said, her eyebrows raised as she continued to read. “You should keep at this. There’s something here.”
I started to slowly share my writing with those few people I could trust. Eventually, friends, family, and even unknown people on the Internet began to praise me for my poetic work. I began developing more and more as I studied more and more poetry, and as I grew, my sense of purpose also began to become clear.
Teachers encouraged me to continue on with my writing, and by senior year of high school, I was writing short stories and poems almost every week. Each piece I wrote was an extension of vulnerability, and they presented an explanation of what I felt. My thoughts became organized on the page, and my sense of self grew stronger and stronger with each word.
Why do I write? I write because it is the only way I can know myself. Words are often more beautiful to me than any other art form. Words are a comfort, a challenge, a passion, and a gift. I write to understand myself and to uncover the secrets of my reality. I write because it is who I am.