Labels and My Misfit Self: A Tumultuous Relationship

by thanklemons

I just want to tell a story. I’m blogging as an exercise in writing, nothing more. This is a space for reflection, thought fragments, and all the little pieces that I am trying doggedly to put together– a place where my writing can exist in a collection, all bundled together as one (semi-)cohesive whole.

That all seems well and good, but I’ll be honest: I run into problems when I try and pin down exactly why I ended up creating this site. I mean, there is the direct reason. My dear friend R suggested I write a blog to keep my thoughts in order and tell the story of my so-called adventurous life as a free-floating spirit in my early twenties (she’s in med school- her definition of adventurous is any lifestyle that doesn’t involve studying for twelve hours straight). I told her I didn’t think I had anything to say, and she said, “But you’re a writer- if you have nothing to say, then what about the rest of us?”

But ay, there’s the rub. Calling myself a writer has always felt somehow inauthentic. Writers are those magical people who can form stories from nothing, who can make words sing, who take quiet notes on the world and translate them into masterpieces. And they do all this because they have no choice. Poems and stories write themselves; they want to be told, and Writers are their vehicles.

Insecurity sets in when I try to dub myself a Writer. The title comes with all sorts of expectations that one is a scarf-wearing novelist, donning a uniform of sweatpants day in and day out, subsisting on coffee and crackers, plagued with the madness of cobbling words and chapters together. Writers are artists with stories to tell. For me, not only is the stereotype ill-fitting, but the idea that a Writer always has a story to tell is intimidating. I don’t have stories; I tell other people’s.

The thing is, a story is a story. I feel compelled to write, and I guess that makes me a writer, no matter whose stories I am telling. Writing is the one thing I have always done, unprompted, unguided. Words are the only things that have ever come naturally.  I can’t not write; it’s how I process and understand the world and the only way I think I actually make any sense.

So, here I am, exploring what it means to write for me. Read along, Friend.