Finding my “passion” was held heavy upon my back throughout the years of my teen-hood. As I climbed and clambered through new experiences, I was begging my soul to reach out to something—anything—and grab hold of it with no intention of ever letting go. I constantly thought back to the ever-changing dream careers my child self craved to be a part of: first an astronaut, then moving onto a doctor, a teacher, a dolphin trainer, and countless others. Everything sounded great on paper and in information pamphlets, but there was something missing. I found no comfort among the high salaries and almost guaranteed chances of getting a job. It was as if the ideas of each career phased through me like ghosts, not even evoking a chill as they passed.
As a naturally emotion-driven person, this lack of a true passion left me in a rut. I didn’t know who I was or where I wanted to be, and though my psychology teacher and counselors assured me that my identity was still being shaped, this emptiness suggested that any natural process that should have been happening just… wasn’t. My friends were already shaping their futures before even applying to college, and here I was, having no idea what I could do. I was stuck in the middle of a speeding highway, craving to merge into the fast lane.
With great care comes great burdens. Empathy overcame me and made me forget to look after the one person I could really help: myself. I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, and it was a major wake-up call. Therapists pleaded with me to tell them what I was thinking. All I could say was “I am sad,” and it was never good enough; it was never a proper explanation.
Here is a picture of what happens in my mind: imagine a beehive. There are the worker bees, the larvae, and the queen. The worker bees buzz around the hive, making a terrible noise while doing so, making any sort of communication inaudible except for a loud, droning mix of words. The queen sits stagnant on her throne, being fed by the worker bees and giving birth to the larvae. My depression gave birth to new negativity that evolved into this swarm of thoughts. As this circle of life continued, no bee was different from the other—every one was buzzing equally as loud.
One night, as I was writing in my daily journal, I decided to expand upon it more than the usual three-sentence summary of my day. I began to explain how I was feeling, and eventually, my words took to a sort of cadence. I showed them to my therapist in an effort to have her better understand my thoughts. “Wow, these are really good. Extremely good,” she said, her eyebrows raised as she continued to read. “You should share them!”
Friends, family, and even unknown people on the Internet began to praise me for my poetic work. I began developing more and more as I studied more and more poetry, and as I grew, my sense of purpose also began to become clear. Teachers encouraged me to continue on with my writing, and by senior year of high school, I was writing short stories and poems almost every week. Each piece I wrote had a bit of myself in it. Each piece presented an explanation of what I felt. My thoughts became organized on the page, and my sense of self grew stronger and stronger with each word.
Why do I write? I write because words get me through the day. Words are often more beautiful to me than any other art form. I get chills when I read Shakespeare and have had to bring myself back to reality from the pages of a good book. Words are a comfort, a challenge, a passion, and a gift. I write to understand myself and to uncover the secrets of my reality. I write because it is who I am.