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Vocally Blue.

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back. Albert Camus

By LPublished about a month ago 4 min read
Top Story - January 2024

Long before Kylie Jenner released a widely criticized clothing line that included a blue puffer, my mom bought a teenaged me an even bigger, blue-er, shapeless puffer.

I hated the blue coat. I mean I really hated it.

Between the body dysmorphia and the fear of being perceived my teenage self faced, a giant blue puffer coat was possibly the worst sartorial choice possible.

I hated the coat so much that I went coatless during some of the NYC winter days and  on the days going with out a coat could be deadly, I pretended I was sick to avoid school and turned down hanging out with my friends until winter was over.

How does that connect to my 2024 goals for writing on Vocal?

Well, let me tell you, firstly, I still suffer in some ways from the fear of being perceived and maybe writers dysmorphia if that is a thing.

I have great trepidation, when it comes to sharing my writing. I don’t even like to read what I wrote. Therefore in 2024 I would like to work on that by writing more consistently and not deleting my work after I have submitted it.

Just like when I stared in the mirror as a teenager in a bright, blue puffer and felt like a giant blue penguin, an imposter even, my writing can feel like it sticks out in the worst way.

For 2024 I want to defy the image and feelings that can come with sharing my writing in a public space and focus on submitting more stories to help hone my work.

Body dysmorphia is a recognized disorder that causes persistent, intense focus, shame and anxiety over perceived body defects. I have the same feeling about my writing.  Not only can I be overly critical rather than constructively critical but writing can take me to some pretty dark places.

I've found writing to sometimes be a mix of dreaming and remembering.

When one has painful or anxious memories, writing can be like picking at a scab you forgot was there.

On writing Tony Morrison said

“ There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal. “. 

For me this is juxtaposed against the words from a memoir I read this year.

How to say Babylon was a emotional roller coaster of a read but something that stuck out to me was a moment when the author was experiencing some trouble writing and her professor suggested she take a break because emotional trauma might be creating the issues she was having around writing.

I am firmly between those two places I want to have some more discipline in writing and submitting work but I also want to be gentle in working with my shame and anxiety issues around writing and revisting past memories that inform or make appearances in my work.

Beyond that, as humans we can be incentivized to complete tasks, in general we are a mix of enjoying intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.

An intrinsic rewards can be the feeling  of accomplishment we get from simply finishing a task, while an extrinsic rewards can be something like getting paid for finishing the task.

I am not going to be coy, when I say the chance of winning a monetary reward on Vocal isn’t a powerful incentive for encouraging my writing.

I consider myself primarily a poet. Over my lifetime I’ve started writing many fiction stories but I never finished one until I started writing on vocal a few years ago.

A few months after I originally joined Vocal, there was a short story challenge about Bitcoin, ideas started flowing and I started writing. I agonized about submitting the story but ultimately did.

To my shock, I also came in third place.

The money I won couldn’t have come at a better time as I was still reeling from job loss during the pandemic.

Beyond that it felt incredibly validating to think that there are thousands of talented writers on vocal and someone actually read what I wrote and thought it was worthy of a monetary reward.

Therefore in 2024 I would like to enter as much vocal challenges as I can.

The benefits of walking and mindfulness have been studied extensively. Taking a walk can be very inspiring. I often walk 3-6 miles. Trying to reach my vocal goals can also help me reach my mental and physical health goals. Knowing that I often get writing ideas during my walks can encourage me to get out everyday.

In conclusion, this year I am trying to embrace the blue coat my ultimate goal this year is to look into the mirror of my writing and hope that the reflection is not necessarily one of perfection but one of growth and creating vocally.


About the Creator


“By hell there is nothing you can do that you want and by heaven you are going to do it anyway”

Anne Spencer

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Comments (18)

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  • JOSIAH NWOKO5 days ago

    nice blue

  • Anna 6 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳

  • Andrea Corwin 10 days ago

    Great piece of writing!😃

  • Ha Le Sa26 days ago

    I couldn't stop reading. Your writing was really well done!

  • Toby Hewardabout a month ago

    I understand that feeling. Not everyone will approve but thats okay.

  • Daniel J. Heckabout a month ago

    Anxiety around sharing your work is so very understandable, and you deserve to be commended for your bravery in facing that anxiety down! Considering your history that you shared, you are undoubtedly the type of writer for whom the deeper you get into your passion for it, the more catharsis you achieve, and that’s a beautiful thing. Thank you so much for laying your heart bare here via the blue puffer coat.

  • Bopoabout a month ago

  • Gift Galaxyabout a month ago

    Congratulations iphone 14 💥💥 👇❤️🇺🇸 Only USA 🇺🇸❤️👇 If you sign up now. you Have a chance to win a brand new iPhone 14!😮😮😮👇👇 Get now: All process complete then check email.

  • Bewabout a month ago

    Your compelling and skillfully written story kept me eagerly anticipating the next developments, skillfully blending emotions and suspense for a truly captivating experience. I'd appreciate it if you could also take a moment to read my work!

  • Alistairpoabout a month ago


  • Babs Iversonabout a month ago

    Awesome!!! Love the opening, middle, and closing!!! Congratulations on Top Story too!!!💕❤️❤️

  • Lamar Wigginsabout a month ago

    I love how the story began and ended with references to the blue coat! Best of luck to you this year and congrats on your top story!

  • Megabout a month ago

    Can't wait to read more of your stuff!!

  • Kelly Sibley about a month ago

    I read your story because the blue puffer jacket caught my eye. Glad it did!

  • JBazabout a month ago

    I like your comparison with the blue coat. I wish you the best on your goals and to embrace the puffy blue of life. Congratulations

  • Naveed about a month ago

    Terrific work! Keep it going—congratulations!

  • kpabout a month ago

    this was lovely. thank you for sharing <3

  • Melissa Ingoldsbyabout a month ago

    Writers dysmorphia is something I can honestly relate to in a lot of ways. Very nice personal essay!

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