Writing about Writing

Writing about writing involves thinking about writing, or even better, thinking about thinking about writing! (Yay! Meta-level thinking!) If I stay here too long it can feel really out of control really fast. But, in short bursts the feelings of ambiguity and possibility are bearable to entertain.

Anyway, I haven’t posted recently because I’ve been over on ravishly.com living the dream as a contributing writer! Here’s my contributor page: YAY!!!! Similarly, I’ve been over on themighty.com (here) writing about chronic pain.

Writing has been the most amazing outlet for me! It’s helped me find space, give voice to my words, and speak my truth – that’s super powerful. When I’ve felt most “stuck”, both with things I’m dealing with and how to write about them, I’ve read the piece aloud and recorded myself with the inflection, tone, and emotion I heard in my head, and would have used in a conversation with a good friend. After listening to the recording and following along with my words I was able to overcome the “stuckness” and finish the piece. Writing is a welcomed, reliable, trustworthy companion these days. When I’m writing I notice nothing else. I retreat to a state of flow. I feel at peace. Maybe even happy? It’s allowed me to think fully in a way I have truly missed.

I didn’t even recognize this feeling – this change – until I stopped and acknowledge how refreshing and unfamiliar it feels to think coherently again! My friends said, “I feel like you’re back”. I nodded confidently. Slowly but surely, I’m finding parts of myself that disappeared months ago.

My words are stamping the world with imprints that are illustrative of the messiness of life. Through my work, I’m declaring “dealt with” (mostly) the things I’ve kept to myself or ignored for WAY too long. It’s liberating! The experience of spewing my thoughts, taking a break, and revisiting and reorganizing what I’m trying to say has helped me feel calmer, express myself, and gain a sense of connection I didn’t realize I’d find with myself and people across the world – literally.

I wrote this a few weeks ago and it still resonates with me: The last six months of my life have been the most challenging I’ve experienced in a while. I graduated and left a school where I was thriving. I spent nearly every day for four years feeling on top of the world. It was amazing. I felt unstoppable. I left for a glamorous name and what I expected would be the next best step for my personal and professional development. After months of struggling silently I found respite and strength in writing. Rather than just reading (daily) the articles on sites that share my values and teach me so much, I jumped into my own uncharted space and started to connect with myself and others. It’s been hugely influential to my personal growth and exploration. Earlier I wrote, “from fury comes insight.” That’s how I feel when I tame the chaos I’m experiencing by writing. This feminist writing space has shown me that people “get” that not every day can be a good day and I can tell others understand that academia can be a difficult and special space to reside especially in the face of other challenges and experiences.

The type of connection, belonging, validation, and excitement I’ve felt from my friends online is inexplicable. This journey has introduced me to some incredible, down-to-earth, empathetic people who are practically the hidden treasures of internet (they’re also just people but I’m glorifying them here because they’ve made a difference to me. Internet fame is real!).

When I’m writing, I can be myself and share my thoughts. It actually feels really vulnerable, exposed, and terrifying! Sometimes I get “stage-fright” and want to swallow my words back up or not claim them as my own. In those moments, I take the the Shonda Rhimes “yes” approach – even though it scares me. I have to own this!

Recently, I shared that I traded social media connections for authentic, personal connections. In this context, I valued in person conversations, and quality over quantity. I still value quality relationships but my parameters have expanded. Connecting with people online showed me that these connections can also be authentic, valuable, personal connections. I’ve found more people who “get it” and been more open about my experiences than I ever anticipated. I’m loving cultivating meaningful relationships as a I grow as a writer, academic, and activist.

I have discovered the world of shared experiences and stories. I feel closer and more whole than I expected or thought was possible. There’s a world out there where people absolutely get it and care. I realized that even though I feel lonely,  I am not alone. That was necessary.


 

If you’re experiencing writer’s block (or loneliness), keep writing! As much as you can, keep exploring, connecting, wondering, asking, and thinking! It’s an adventure, and in the end, it could turn out to be like nothing you ever anticipated – it might even be better!

 

 

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Why is Talking Politics Taboo?

HELP! I’m a Millennial and I don’t know who to vote for!

This election season has been loud. Honestly, it’s reminiscent of a bad run of a sloppy reality TV show. It’s underhanded, strategic, and trashy. Oh wait, that’s politics.

Full stop.

But, I’m not done. Here’s the thing: everyone keeps telling me voting is a privilege, an obligation, an expectation, but nobody is telling me how to decide. Obviously, nobody can tell me who to vote for or what campaign items I should pay attention to. Clearly, this is how democracy works. Understandably, I’m the only one who knows what I value and how I feel about each candidate’s platform. I GET IT! But, there’s a part of me that’s itching to talk this out with someone. How can I do that if talking about politics is so taboo?!?!

I’ve heard, “honestly I’m just not confident in any of the candidates.” I’ve contemplated the hypotheses about how to vote savvy and make sure some other candidate doesn’t get the nomination – lesser of the evils I guess. What I haven’t heard is anyone advocate for a candidate as opposed to against the next best alternative. I’ve even heard “this election is a joke” and “I’m moving to Canada.”

Politics is cutthroat. It’s accompanied by an overwhelming, seemingly necessary silence and cloud of fog that makes the real issues and agenda items so difficult to grasp. Some people call for more transparency from the politicians. I’m here to call for more conversations that are grounded in a desire to learn and listen rather than argue and advocate; especially, if they’re difficult to have. [Side note: this relates to more than just politics. Read between the lines!]

This is my second time voting in a presidential election. The first time, the choice was easy. I was so caught up in the excitement of voting I’m not sure I took the responsibility seriously enough. Now, I’m fully engulfed in the Millennial identity – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and I’m swimming in the narratives that remind me that my generation is “the future”. Suddenly this responsibility feels ominous and heavy. This is especially burdensome when I can’t get my hands on a single piece of unbiased media. I’m more confused than ever. I’m less confident in my preferences (candidates aside). I’m increasingly convinced my vote won’t even make a difference.  The game of politics is a triumphant, slightly elegant fanfare of trial and error disguised as strategic decision making. How can I decipher the chaos and “show” of it all and make an informed choice? 

This is important. It’s literally the future. Politics is messy. It’s uncomfortable – think #boundaries. It’s clever and a bit deceptive. But, it’s actually relevant to our lives. So, let’s talk.