I write because I struggle with an addiction that people do not like to talk about or see. I come from an abusive home in the middle of the desert, where the only tangible path to escape was guarded by wild coyotes and rattlesnakes that hid behind joshua trees and dry brush. I didn’t have a drunk father, a drug addicted mother, or even an sadistic, evil sibling. But my mother was abusive.
My mother was abusive not because she suffered from mental illness. She was abusive because she refused to seek help. I am an only child, and when my father could not put up with my mother’s emotional outbreaks for more than the 11 years he had, he left. When my father left, I became the unintended recipient of my mother’s misdirected anger. It was then that I started writing.
I wrote about myself in any other world I could imagine. Albus Dumbledore came to my doorstep and told me he needed my help to defeat a great evil. The CIA pulled me out of class to tell me that they needed my help with a secret mission. My three sisters and I went on outdoor adventures and discovered marvels of nature while we bonded in sisterhood. I wrote about anything other than the life I was living until my mom found my journals and threw them away.
I stopped writing with pen and paper, but I kept telling stories in a way that was destroying me little by little. I started telling stories on my wrists, my arms, my thighs. I started cutting, and I became addicted to hurting myself. I used a razor as the pen and my skin as the paper. This is how I would write my stories for the next 9 years.
I sought therapy when I started college because I didn’t want to live in that self-destructive way anymore. Within my first year there, I began to see myself as an individual not defined by my past; Shaped by it, yes, but not defined by it. I declared a major in English with a writing concentration because that I knew that I wanted to be a writer for myself.
I write now because it’s a mode of self-discovery that combats my harmful ways of thinking, but what I have also discovered is that my writing makes people think differently about life. People have told me that they relate to the feelings in my writing, and I feel so much less alone. If I can change just one person’s outlook on life or give just one person hope for the future, I will continue to write as long as I live. And, hopefully, my words will live on much longer.
When the task of writing grows inevitably arduous—and seemingly thankless—we must remember why we started. Inspired by George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Why I Write,” this introspective project highlights our motives for writing. Share your story and join the conversation. Live events are produced throughout the diverse cities of Orange County and feature author readings from curated essay submissions.
- Write a 500-word essay explaining why you write.
- Submit via Submittable.
The 1888 Podcast Network is a curated collection of educational and entertaining podcasts. Each program is designed to provide a unique platform for industry innovators to share stories about art, literature, music, history, science, or technology.