Fight for your right to write. That’s the slogan my students chose for our journalism class last year. It was so appropriate for a student-run newspaper that has to battle against censorship. We had a passionate staff that year, wanting to change the world with their school paper. Little did I know back in August of 2011 that imperative sentence was going to be so meaningful to me. In fact, I proudly wear that shirt in honor of my one-year anniversary as a blogger.
Back then I wanted to be a writer, but it was more a dream in which I occasionally dabbled than a reality. Thinking I finally had the money, time, and talent to do so, I started making plans to go on an amazing baseball trip to blog about those experiences. However, by December of 2011, those plans shattered. I thought that ended my writing dreams as well. I had to fight for my right to write, against all odds, against unimaginable obstacles.
One year ago, I published my first post. I was nervous. I shared, albeit cryptically, that I was battling some difficult situations, but that Ian’s battle and victory over Cancer made me adamant to pursue my dreams. That first post strengthened me beyond belief. I took a leap of faith into the unknown world of writing, hoping not to embarrass myself and fearing that no one would even notice if I did.
Throughout this past year, my writing has been my constant companion, becoming crucial elements in my life. It has taken the shape of a therapist, healing my soul as I explored my fears. Writing made me realize that fear is my true enemy, not the situations themselves. Writing quelled those fears.
Writing has given me a voice. Where I may have whispered my complaints about education and parenting before, I now speak boldly and with conviction about why and how we need to change to give our children a better future than the one that awaits them now. That voice extends beyond the written word as well. Writing has empowered me to speak my truth without fear.
Writing has also pushed out the darkness that so often clouds my heart and mind. I have battled with depression all my life. Depression led to insecurities, which was at the root of so many bad decisions I’ve made throughout my life. However, I’ve also discovered that depression gave me almost a sixth sense, in that I could clearly see when others were in pain. It was this discovery that helped me fight through my depression cycles, knowing I might be the only person that would say, “Are you okay?” to a struggling student (I still battle with the pain of missing Jenny’s quiet cry for help). Through my writing, I have now taken the positive spin of awareness and created another positive spin by counting my blessings when I’m at my lowest.
Writing has allowed me to look past my pain, so I could see the beauty of my life, despite my circumstances. For every blessing on my blog there was a deep pain gnawing at my heart. Writing about my blessings strengthened my resolve that this too shall pass. For every person who knows the details of what I’m dealing with, that is how I get out of bed every day; that is why I can hold my head high instead of cowering; that is why I can stay put rather than run in the opposite direction.
For these reasons, writing has been a blessing this past year: Writing has strengthened me; writing has healed me; writing has helped me make sense of my world; writing has given me a voice; writing has revealed my blessings; writing has helped me pursue my dreams.
Today, I can say with all certainty that I am a writer, and that blesses my soul.