Writing: A Therapuetic Tool

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When I started my first blog site back in November 2011, I read lots of articles about how to get increased regular readers as well as site views. Then, just like that, I stopped caring. I stopping caring about views, likes, shares, and followers. I realized why I had started blogging in the first place: to write, and to create a space in which I could receive support from others regarding my writing, and just life in general. After two years of blogging every day about whatever I chose, I had gained 1,000+ followers and around 500,000 blog views. I had gained readership, recognition, and support…and I had done it without following the advice of those pesky articles I obsessed over in the beginning.

Now, three years after starting my first blog, I have a second blog…one that is not at all connected with my first. Though I’ve only had this blog for a few weeks, I can already feel myself missing the supportive community I had developed through my first blog. Granted, I didn’t have to start a new blog. It was my choice to do so. Mainly, I changed things up because my first blog site name was connected with my geographic location, and when that changed, I assumed I needed a new blog site as well. Plus, since the move has been about the beginning of a new phase in my life, I wanted to start fresh in terms of blogging as well.

So, here I am, starting fresh. Though it’s been hard to realize it’ll take quite some time to get my readership up to where it was with my first blog, I know that, ultimately, that doesn’t matter. The reason I began blogging in the first place has been about one thing: my writing. And with this new blog, it’s become clear that’s the place I need to get back to. The place where I long to share the words within my soul…words of life, love, challenges, dreams, and hope. The words that paint a picture of my struggles, but highlight one of my proudest attributes: determination.

You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.-William Faulkner

Writing, for me, has always been incredibly therapeutic. I’ve used it as a tool to get through tough times, to celebrate victories, and to reflect on experiences I’ve had throughout my life. More than anything, it’s through writing that I come face to face with the truest version of myself. With writing, I don’t portray myself as someone I’m not, I don’t shrink away from sharing that I’ve struggled with my physical disability, anxiety, and depression all my life. I don’t hide. It’s one of the few times I’ve ever felt safe enough to be totally and completely myself…even though my words may be read by thousands of people (or just a handful). 

We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.-Anais Nin

So, starting now, I’m vowing to be true to myself (and true to this blog). I’m vowing to use this blog as a way to help myself while also helping others. For me, writing is freeing. For others, reading someone else’s writing is a chance to connect with them on some level. This life, I’ve learned, is all about relationships. Whether it’s a relationship with a close friend, a boyfriend, or most importantly, oneself, each relationship is essential to survival. They hold us together, bring purpose to our life, and help us to grow into who we are meant to be. 

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.-Oscar Wilde

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To those who taught me to dream

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When I was little, I wanted nothing more than to be a ballerina. Around Christmastime, my grandmother would take me to see The Nutcracker at the Koger Center. As I sat up in the balcony in my checkered dress and patent leather shoes, I stared with admiration at the character of Clara. I imagined myself twirling around in my own leotard with a toy nutcracker in my hands, lost in the music and a dance that was all my own. When I got home from seeing The Nutcracker, I’d put on my leotard and tutu, grab a favorite stuffed animal at the time, and twirl in circles to the music only I could hear.

It was in those moments, in the safety of my childhood bedroom, that I began to dream, imagining doing things I knew I wouldn’t be able to do in reality due to my disability. I imagined dancing with a grace I had seen only in ballerinas. I put on my ballet shoes and twirled until my unstable balance got the best of me and I fell to the floor in frustration. I even remember asking my parents if I could take ballet lessons, determined to learn how to create the beauty I had seen in the character of Clara. The opportunity never arose though, simply because I didn’t have the balance to be a ballerina. Despite walking on my tiptoes, twirling around in circles on those same tiptoes was out of the question.

As I got older and I filled my head with more realistic dreams, I never stopped imagining doing the things I’d never be able to fully experience. I thought of dancing to the music of my world. I imagined running down the street and feeling the wind on my face as I chased the orange and red sunset I saw in the distance. I pictured myself climbing the huge oak tree in my backyard, wanting nothing more than to find a sturdy limb I could sit on so I could rest my back against the tree’s broad trunk and escape into my favorite book. The creative imagination I possessed placed me right into the worlds I dreamed, though I knew I was so far away from actually experiencing them.

I am forever grateful to the people throughout my life who have encouraged my imagination and dreams. Though I was constantly reminded by other kids around me of the things I was unable to do, so many of the adult figures in my life understood the importance of believing in my creativity. Because of those individuals, I have learned what it means to still hope and strive for the things that still seem a bit out of reach. Through my ability to dream, I developed a determination that has propelled me through my life, despite stumbling again and again. While I may not have had the chance to be a ballerina who twirls endlessly with the grace of a perfect melody, I have sung my heart out at a voice recital, capturing an entire room with the simple sound of my voice. I have participated in theatre productions, achieving my moment in the spotlight by being Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz. I have written of specific moments of pain during the months following intense operations, creating the same tears in the eyes of my readers that I possessed during my moments of defeat. Though I may not have had the chance to live the experiences I longed for, I have continued to move to the song of my own life, continuously grateful to those who taught me to dream and create my own destiny.