Writing, for me, is best defined as an exercise in self-condemnation and eventual release.

When I sit across from my computer to extract what wears on my existence it feels like tugging on a knotted rope anchored deep, deep in my soul. The tiny fibers cling to my insides, holding on with all they have to their familiar environment until they can’t fight the force from my hand–the hand they expect to nurture, not torture, them. The knots push up against my belly. I grit my teeth, choke back tears and pull. I fight the desire to let go. My mind wanders, seeking refuge in distraction. I want to slam my computer shut. My face gets hot. I feel my heart clunk in my chest.

In my adolescence I never knew that heartache doesn’t feel like the movies. I don’t throw my arms to the sky bellowing WHY? to the great universe. It’s more like an infection–a pain, a fever, an ache that tells me something isn’t right that I just can’t quite put a finger on. It’s staring across the coffee shop, unaware of the familiar faces calling my name, earbuds playing the song on repeat, but I don’t care. It’s standing quietly, alone in the mountains, the screams tickling the back of my throat. A place between rage and grief and an overwhelming desire to make it all go away.

I write to try and make it go away.

It doesn’t, despite my best efforts, un-break my heart.  It does, however, with every piece of me, feel like an exercise in my soul’s purpose. Elizabeth Gilbert says creativity is magic. Words on paper are magic, poured from our soul, looking to be made alive. I agree with her, knowing confidently this is the only magic I can generate with unbridled confidence and faith that I won't find myself abandoned, disrespected, suffering the consequences of reality–the place where the allure is a lie and everyone seeks comfort in what's easy. Words on paper have always been magic. People in my world have always been cruel. My words aren't afraid of speaking the truth. The world's words are a different story.

I write because when I write I feel like me. I wrench on the ropes inside until my hands blister and bleed, because if I don’t I feel alone–uninhabited by my own breath, my one, true story–the only thing I can count on.  A page of words, indiscernible diction from a wandering mind or carefully curated prose, feels like a win. A cursor blinking at the end of a paragraph, my blood and guts splayed around me, feels like I did something right.

The page is my one true love–the only man I’ll pour my soul, the only friend I’ll confide my deepest truths, the judgeless parent approached in pursuit of guidance. We share the darkest hours and the deepest affections. My fingers tell the story of my brain and my body and my pain. My words are my own and I am my words.

It's torture and it's release. But it's mine.