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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On New Beginnings

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The late Maya Angelou once said, Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but no more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman. Though I do not believe I am starting a new beginning in order to escape a previous negative situation, I do agree forging a new path is challenging. Of course it is. However, it can also be incredibly rewarding. Wasn’t it Christopher Columbus who said:

You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.

In less than two weeks, I will be starting my journey as a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in social work. I am very excited, and the bookish side of me is squealing over the social work textbooks I bought a week ago. Truthfully, I’m having to fight the urge to start devouring each chapter. However, I’ve been through enough school to know I’ll have plenty of time to read my textbooks over the next 13 weeks. As a matter of fact, I better soak up these last two weeks of blissful “summer vacation” before graduate school takes over my life.

When I graduated from college a few months ago with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, many of my friends gave me a dazed, yet terrified look when I asked them if they had plans following graduation. In response, they either shrugged their shoulders, mentioned travel or said something along the lines of, Get a job, I guess. That being said, I know as much as anyone how scary it is to imagine graduating from college and not knowing what to do next. Halfway through my junior year of college, I realized I’d have to go to graduate school if I planned to do anything within the field of psychology (or even a similar field). Therefore, the choice of going to graduate school was essentially a no-brainer for me. Although, I do know it’s not that easy of a decision for most people.

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Additionally, I can also understand the desire to travel following graduation. After all, these are the prime traveling years, right? We might as well get out and see the world while we have the time…and before we take on all those adult responsibilities like paying bills and working full-time. Though I’ve always loved to travel, it wasn’t until I left the comfort of the United States that I started to develop a deeper appreciation for other cultures and areas of the world. The first time I traveled out of the country (January 2010), I was a senior in high school, and I went to Peru with a group of my schoolmates for 12 days. Over the course of those 12 days, I learned more about poverty than I ever could grasp from reading a textbook. I also visited Machu Picchu, one of the seven wonders of the world,ate alpaca for the first time (and loved it!), and saw an incredible sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

Though the Peru trip was phenomenal, I wasn’t home very long before the itch to travel started up again. In June of 2012, I studied abroad in Ireland for five weeks. Ever since seeing the movie P.S. I Love You, it had been my dream to visit Ireland. Therefore, when I realized I had the chance to not only visit Ireland but to study there for four weeks, I took up the opportunity as fast as I could. Even now, two years later, I can honestly say it was the best decision I’ve ever made and the trip of a lifetime.

Since I chose to go study abroad in Ireland without knowing anyone else who was going, I made a big leap before even setting foot in Ireland. However, I wouldn’t have done a single thing differently. Not knowing anyone before leaving was a big test for my introverted personality, but I needed that push. I needed that push to do something that scared me. Because you know what I learned? I learned that traveling “alone” is the greatest way to soak up everything, but it’s also a chance to have an experience that’s solely for you. It’s not the experience your parents would want or even the one some of your friends might have had when they studied abroad. It’s yours, and it’s happily filled with as many used bookstores and ice cream parlors you can find.

We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.-Anais Nin

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

So yes, by all means, travel. Travel your little heart out. I’ve done that, and I hope to travel a lot more in the future. However, for now, graduate school has my heart…and probably my soul…for the next two years. I’m fine with it, though. I’ll be getting an education in the field I want to enter, and I’ll be gaining first-hand experience as well. It’s not quite as enjoyable as traveling, I’ll admit, but I’m determined to make it a really great two years.

~Til tomorrow, friends.