This is a long story behind this blog and it’s growth that has occurred alongside my own growth. More so, it is my story behind seeing myself as a writer, then encouraging others around me to see themselves as writers, and finally creating a space where we can share in being writers together.
Set Free developing into The Release:
When I started this blog I was a junior in high school. I needed a space to put my thoughts. I didn’t share my writings for a long time because quite honestly what I was writing was unpolished journal pieces. I was in a place of really trying to figure out myself and my faith and I found that writing through that process made me feel a little more understood. Although I don’t know if I will ever be out of the place of trying to figure my faith and myself out, I do believe that I have grown over the years and that my purpose behind this blog has changed a lot. As a freshman in college I was absorbing all the newness and I was constantly learning about myself and in that process I wrote— a lot. My blog became my home base. I spent a lot of nights on my futon in my little dorm reflecting and writing. That year was where I discovered a love for metaphors and wore them out quickly in my writing. And then, it was also the year I felt a lot more courage to share my writing— I was craving to be heard. However, it was also the year I began asking others to write— to share their thoughts too. Freshman year is one of meeting a million new people. I was enthralled with getting to hear so many different people’s stories. It was so refreshing to meet someone and to know nothing about them before meeting them. I wanted to learn and hear more stories. And so, I asked people “what gets their heart excited?” and then a few months later I asked people to share what the year 2015 taught them. I was shocked by how many people were willing to share their words. Every time an email popped up with someone’s words in response to a prompt I was stopped in my tracks. People’s words helped teach me to listen. They increased in me this desire to encourage everyone to share their thoughts because I was beginning to grasp the power in so many different perspectives and thoughts being shared. My words alone can only do so much. But 20+ voices collaboratively creating a conversation around a prompt or a word— that is something special. And is where I have found a big shift in my purpose behind this blog. Yes, I occasionally share my own writing pieces; however, what I most want this space to be used for is for other voices to be lifted and heard. Or at least a space where others are encouraged to go and write and to share their own words in their own ways.
The process of seeing myself as a writer:
I never saw myself as a writer until I took a class that was all about teaching writing. One of the first concepts our professor engrained in us is how vital it is to be a writer alongside our students. The second concept was to see that everyone was, in their own way, a writer. I had already believed in the second idea, but I didn’t fully grasp what it meant to be a writer alongside my students. I knew how to encourage others to share their words, yet I did not have the courage or the confidence to see myself as a writer. Which is interesting, because as one can see through looking at this blog, I’ve been writing for a long time. And, if you know me, you know that it doesn’t take me long to fill a journal up. I love to capture my thoughts, prayers, and the moments in my day that matter to me. I write letters as my way of expressing my care and appreciation to others. I am one who needs to process and writing just so happens to be the biggest way I do that— and it has been that way for a while now. Yet, I still did not see myself as a writer for a long time. I felt as if I was a fraud english major— unworthy of being in the classes I was taking. But, then I took African American Poetry with a professor who greatly challenged me in my writing. His class pushed me. It constantly made me uncomfortable and I loved it. I went to his office hours one day because he gave me this ounce of courage to pursue my own writing and to begin seeing myself as a writer. I went to him asking him how I could find my voice as a writer. He told me that my voice was already there. I just need to grow unafraid of using it in such a way that is bold and honest. He called me out of my people pleasing tendencies and challenged me to stop writing to remain in such a neutral place. That kind of work doesn’t create change. He was right. I needed to hear that. I wanted to listen and act on what he shared. And so, I did. I wrote his final writing assignment differently. I was unafraid of breaking the page limit. Unafraid of having the “correct” format. And, afraid, yet willing to actually be vulnerable and honest in my writing. I shared my thoughts that others may really disagree with. I shared personal stories about my life. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. And it was one of the first papers I felt proud of. I think my professor and I both knew that I was breaking into finding my voice. However, he wasn’t done challenging me. He had me share my 10 page personal paper in front of my whole class. I was shaking the whole way through. My lips were dry and I was so keenly aware of it. But, by page 4 I heard it. I heard my voice. I was being released from all my fear and anxiety. I was exposed in front of my classmates, but I was free. That day changed a lot for me. That semester of learning how to be a teacher of writing and then how to be a writer myself changed everything.
And now I am on the journey of learning what all of that really means. I do see myself as a writer, but I am still learning what kind of writing I am wanting to pursue. For now, I am sticking with my random blog posts that encapsulate a bit of what I am reflecting upon and then my google documents that I draft on for days on end. But, my hope is to continue to move forward in my writing. To one day find the courage to put my voice into action. I have no idea what that means, but I am excited to find out and I am excited to see how this blog remains alongside me in this journey.
I think our writing spaces should always be changing and growing alongside us, but it took me a long time to realize that. And so, to those of you who have read some of my words from the very beginning, thank you. Thank you for hearing me as a 16 year old in high school and thank you for hearing me now.
Let’s be kind.
Let’s be humble.
And, let’s be together.