To speak with my hand

Trial and Error

Morgan Robertson mug

Being a writer is much more complicated than one might think. Even to this day, I still struggle with writer’s block and terrible first drafts. I still feel nervous and wordless in front of a crowd.

There are times when I am bleeding words and I have to write, when I feel like I am words in a bag of skin and bones and nothing more. Sometimes I feel so much that I could burst, and I want to share my world.

Then, there are times when I am pulling the words out of me. When I am mentally or emotionally ill, I know what needs to happen in order to help me feel better. Writing is a painful procedure that I have to go through to get the results that I want, to be cured, to somehow heal. In those moments, I just want to close myself up. Give me a needle and thread and I will do it myself.

I told myself this summer that if I had one goal for myself I would do a lot of writing and reflecting. That didn’t happen. Now, I am working more hours and doing more writing than I ever have in my entire life, and I am doing work that is out of my comfort zone. As workshop facilitators in the writing program, our supervisors tell us that we need to learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. But they never mentioned what might come along with that uncomfortable feeling.

Enter: nerves, stress and anxiety.

I have always been a worrier. In the past, I would worry about getting to school on time, the amount of money my parents were spending on us and how we would regroup after a family crisis. I asked my mom multiple times why I was so worried all the time. She would give me a sympathetic smile and pat me on the shoulder and say, “I don’t know.”

I came to a conclusion on my own. I was over-exaggerating and over-thinking about everything. So as a freshman in high school, I put all my creative and outrageous thoughts down. I found a release in writing. I filled up journal after journal of stories, song lyrics and poems. And it was all for my eyes only.

Coming into college, I knew I wanted to be an English major. Writing was the only thing that I was even remotely good at. Earlier this summer, I had thought about my plans for after college. I thought I wanted to be a teacher. I applied for a job in which I would get to experience being in a classroom setting. So far, it’s had its ups and downs.

I don’t know where my place is. But the undeniable truth is, I am a writer.

Some see writing as a form of monumental social justice work where everything you say, everything you write is crucial for the well-being of someone else. I don’t know if I necessarily feel the same.

Writing is crucial to my well-being. I am writing all the things my soul could ever say.

As much as I tell you with my mouth, still you may never understand. I see writing as a way to speak my mind, to pour out my thoughts and to say my piece (and my peace). This form of communication, crazy as it may seem, is easier for me than speaking or presenting. I don’t like being put on the spot, and little did I know, that is exactly what this job is.

When I try to speak, I don’t sound any better. I am still learning the art of communication. I am still gathering the courage to stand in front of a group and tell them what I have been hired to tell them. I am still seeking the bravery to be myself in front of those who don’t know me. Communicating with bosses and higher-ups is something I am still getting used to. And I have made some mistakes. I have been overwhelmed, dug myself into little holes and called to be pulled out.

When I feel lonely, defeated or stressed, I go through periods of silence, when I can hardly pick up the pen to write. In these periods, I don’t talk much either. I am the cursor on the blank document. I am the voice in my chest screaming on the inside, pleading for someone to hear me. I am waiting to be moved, inspired, encouraged to write.

Although I am quiet, my mind never stops, and my emotions won’t go away, as much as I want them to. I have the most intense mood swings when I think too much. The only way to remedy them is to write it on paper. To speak it with my hand.

Morgan writes the Wednesday column on risk-taking. Contact her at [email protected].

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