Bravely Writing All I Couldn't Say Before
Tales of a Chuck-Wearing, Journaling, ex-Emo Girl
When I was a teenager, I wasn’t crazy about myself. If you’ve ever been a teenager, you can probably relate. Why did you hate yourself? For me, I detested how shy I was. I loathed how I found it so difficult to speak my mind. I was so jealous of all the people who, I believed, had such an easy time being confidently themselves while the words I wanted to speak were hopelessly trapped in my chest, squished down behind an awkward giggle and over-eager smile.
In subtle ways, I tried to show the world that I had great depth beneath my awkward surface, and that the over-eager smile didn’t always match what I was thinking. For instance, I’d frequently fill my AIM away messages with angsty lyrics that best encapsulated my difficulty with existing, hoping someone would pick up on the clues and reach out to have one of those unexpected heart-to-hearts you always seen in teen movies.
“No, you don’t know what it’s like… welcome to my life.”
“My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me… My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating.. </3”
I’d also sharpie these lyrics onto my Converse (black and pink high-tops), hoping my crush would be impressed with my knowledge of an underrated Green Day deep-track or Tim Burton movie reference or joke from the iconic early-YouTube duo Smosh.
Yes. In other words, I was an angsty teen with a penchant for being emo, but not too emo. (Yes, I had sideswept bangs, but no I did not wear excessive eyeliner. Yes, I exclusively wore Chucks, but no I never owned a spiked belt.)
But you know what I’ve realized, more than a decade after this phase of my life? Emo-ism was on to something. Not so much the obsession with jelly bands or the skin-tight graphic tees, but rather the acknowledgement that existing is hard. I’m not talking about living (which is a whole other thing)—rather just… existing.
I mean, think about it. Being born into a world you didn’t create, having to figure out the rules and play the game, not being able to not play the game, having all these emotions and thoughts and beliefs and never really feeling like you had the right words to express them—like the right words might not have even been invented yet! Do you know what I mean?
So, there I was, in my black-and-pink Chucks, trying to figure out how to find my voice when I found it hard to even exist. And what did I do? I turned to journaling.
After school, pent-up with words I couldn’t say all day, I’d rush home, race to my room, and… for lack of a better word… word-vomit all over my journal (the cover of which I’d also covered in song lyrics). I’d write about what happened in the day and how I felt about it. I’d write about the question my crush had asked me in math class (“So, what did you think of the homework?”) and the response I wish I had given him (“The homework? In the words of a band I really like, Green Day, I felt like a total basket case.”), as well as the words I actually said (“Totally, haha... wait what was your question?”)
The point is, I felt like I could write all the things I couldn’t say. If you’ve ever kept a journal, I’m sure you’ve felt the same. Even though journaling allowed me to express myself in ways that I couldn’t throughout the day, I realized over time… I was still hiding myself away from others. What good were my words doing if they were eternally locked away in journals stashed throughout my room? Even if on the off chance a great-granddaughter of mine one day read them, I would be out of the picture by the time she did so.
Finally, I realized. I didn’t just want a voice. I wanted to be brave enough to speak.
And not just in angsty lyrics.
With that all said, to you, a real reader (and not my hypothetical great-granddaughter), my wellness plan for 2021 is… well, it’s this. Writing to you. It’s simple, but not easy. The truth is, I’m so used to keeping my writing hidden away, that sharing it with the world, even in a relatively short and inconsequential story, is… kind of scary to me. But also, I’m finding it to be somehow incredibly freeing. By writing, and sharing my writing, I feel like I’m starting to be the person I always wanted to be when I was younger—someone who is brave enough to share her thoughts, stories, and feelings with the world. And not just on my Chucks.
So, in 2021, my wellness plan is to bravely write and to share that with you. It’s not for wellness of my body that I do this, but rather wellness of my soul. Thank you for being here to listen.
Now, time to go listen to some Green Day.
***If you can relate to this story, please give it a like! I still can't believe people are reading my writing and liking it, so each heart absolutely thrills me. :)