I've Fallen in Love With Words (And You)

 man wearing dress shirt with paint on his hands holding a paintbrush and a pencil

When I was a kid, I thought growing meant I would feel braver. I thought it meant I would feel stronger, more competent, and more impressive in the eyes of others.

I thought I would just intuitively feel what I should do with my life.

Now I know that my thoughts were misguided.

Eventually I realized that there is a big difference between feeling something and being something. You don’t necessarily need to feel something to besomething.

The truth is, you can become something whenever you want.

I remember reading something Jeff Goins wrote about how his world changed when he started calling himself “a writer.”

That’s pretty dumb, I thought at the time.

Then, I wrote long enough on Medium, posting consistently, rain or shine, good comments or bad. It didn’t matter

What mattered is that I kept coming back for more. I kept experimenting. I wrote because I had to.

And I don’t mean that anyone was making me do it.

I wrote — and continue to write — because I feel it burst out of me.

Then something shifted inside me.

It was time. I decided: “I’m a writer.”

There was no defining moment, no momentous chain of events. I simply had developed the creative habit, and I was obsessed.

I can honestly say I love it. I love the process.

That’s what they tell us in social-work school that we must grow to love.

And I’ve grown to love it — both with mental health and with writing.

When I combine the two, it makes my electrons tingle with excitement.

I don’t even know what that means, but I wrote it down just now because words are imperfect.

I can’t perfectly capture how I feel when I write about making mental health more accessible, but still I try.

Words are inexact, but they are symbolic strands of connection. They are beautifully imperfect.

When I write, I bottle up my feelings in words and push them out into the uncertain waters of the Internet.

I want someone — a reader — to, half-dazed and emerging from the chaos of life, simply alight upon them. I want this reader to see my words as if they are words the reader actually spoke at one point in the murky past.

I know what that feeling is like from my perspective, when I stumble upon someone’s unearthed treasure — and it’s mind-blowing to imagine that it can happen as a result of what I write.

And then, when someone steps through the void to comment on one of my posts, to point out that I just connected on a human-to-human level — that’s it.

That’s living.

That’s enough right there, and I could stop writing.

But I don’t. Because the more I write, the more it grows.

Some days it’s a glacial trickle of thoughts and ideas.

Other days, it’s a mountain of madness, with each trail taking me up to oxygen-deprived heights before tumbling back down on the side that never sees the sun.

I write to better know my thoughts, to better know myself.

And when my strange thoughts are acknowledged as not so strange after all, it’s a joining of the human experience.

It’s a vacillation from nothing to meaning. And then, transformed, to meaningful nothingness once the connection has been made and the online reader and writer turn adrift and go separate ways.

It’s a dance and a fall and a hope that I’m not the only one in this world who feels the way I do.

If the medium is the message, I’m learning to adapt to the medium.

If I didn’t write here, I’d go write somewhere else.

I’d send you my thoughts in the hope that you’d know what I mean.