As I was putting together materials for my MFA applications, I came across this piece I started about a year ago. It served as the jumping off point for pieces of my personal statement, but it also served as simple confirmation that I was starting on the right path. And I needed that.
I write because I feel alive when I’m forming words into sentences and phrases and ideas. It’s as simple as that.
Sometimes I’m afraid that there’s nothing out there in this world for me. I remain unfazed by so many opportunities, seemingly incapable of caring enough about my life to really start much of anything worthwhile. But then I look at a blank piece of paper or a Word document and I remember what it is I can give to the world. I turn from soulless to substantial. I have no choice but to write, if I want to retain what’s left of my humanity.
I am a painfully insecure person. I constantly doubt the potential of my own contribution to the world we live in, and it hurts every time my suspicions are confirmed. Not good enough. Couldn’t get the words out. Couldn’t hack it in academia. Couldn’t lock down the boy before he got tired of you.
I write because I give voice to the hurt and it hurts less. Because it makes meaningful the things that seem so senselessly unfair. Because it makes me believe that there’s a reason for me to wake up every morning and try, only to fail again.
Talking is difficult. Words never come out the way I want them to. I think about them, plan them out, but they spill out unpredictably until I’ve said something I never meant to say at all. They are untrustworthy. It is only in the act of writing that they make any kind of sense.
I think too much. I overthink the things I do and say, running them over and over in my mind until the intention is gone and they are left devoid of all significance. And if I am full of meaningless acts and sentences that boast some vague air of moral rightness, of safety, what kind of robot am I? But then I take up a pen.
I write because in writing, I discover all the things I cannot know. I find the uncertainty and instead of letting it scare me, turn me into a coward, I let it consume me until I am so exceedingly raw that no one would mistake me for anything but real. It cuts me open and I bleed the kind of honesty I could otherwise never find.
I have been shattered into pieces time and time again, and all the pieces are different shapes and sizes, and sometimes I wonder if they will ever fit together into one cohesive whole. This is my tragedy, that I am contradiction after contradiction and the world wants to fit me into a box that says “creativity” or “analysis” when I’m so fundamentally meant for both. But art lets me fit into more than one box. Art lets me disassemble the boxes and flatten them so I can lay down and look up at the stars.
Writing is the art that makes me human.
I write because I must. Because to stop would be to deny my own reality. Because it is as essential to me as oxygen. Because I am afraid that without it, I am empty of all meaning. I will wither away until my body is nothing but a shell for my wasted soul.
But I also write because it gives me clarity. Because it takes a world full of things that are senseless and unexplainable and terrifying, lays them bare and lets them be. Because it brings peace I cannot know through any other means. I accept my tragedy and live in the understanding that nothing is ever certain and that I am a beautiful, mysterious paradox.
I write because I am alive. It’s as simple as that.