by 2022 PWN Teen Editorial Assistants: Nickole C., Sarah E., Demarie H., Freda H., Tanvi J., Sophia N., Timothy N., Bernice Z.
I’m often scared of what people think.
This means that I over-analyze
every. single. thing.
No matter how small it is, even if it’s just a greeting,
none of those thoughts come out of my mouth.
When I want to express something really badly,
I don’t think about saying it out loud.
I think about putting it on paper.
Writing for the sake of getting into a prestigious school
or to satisfy those who raised you
and demand you to be one way
is never a fun thing.
It’s forced creative fiction
and big chunks of paragraphs
amongst paragraphs of words and dialogues
that never sound correct or natural
or the way you’re supposed to do it.
Writing for the sake of contests and scholarships
because it is your future laid out in front of you
despite you not being interested,
writing to fake your way into various programs
and satisfy, only ever to satisfy, the authorities,
writing for current events
and finding yourself turning
to the simpler things in life
like gardening and truly enjoying it
only for your editors to delete everything you’ve written
and rewrite it
and take credit for your work—
writing because you have to
It is only considered a failure amongst competitions and family
because it doesn’t make money or it’s not good enough
because the words don’t transition well enough
and someone’s going to always be better than you at it,
so why even try?
When you finally satisfy those you must satisfy,
is it even good enough?
Are they just lying?
After countless rejections and failures,
are you sure this is good?
Writing because you have to
I don’t write for you.
The feeling of words embedded on my skin,
bruising and bloody.
The feeling of watching a story unfold,
the sensation overwhelming.
The feeling of forming sentences
with words in perfect position—
lined up and ready for action like little soldiers.
The feeling of putting thoughts to paper,
mind vomit spilling onto the next page.
The feeling of feeling—
I write because it’s the one instance
in which I create a safe space that’s just that.
I write to say what cannot be spoken,
to communicate emotions that are best put on the page
as opposed to described aloud.
I write to make my voice heard,
to find myself,
to further my awareness of the world,
and to lose myself in a story.
I write to make others happy
and to make myself happy.
I write so that others might look at what I write
and feel something,
so that others will never see
to make art
is to toy with words and syntax.
I write to create.
I write to close off memories that still take form in nightmares
and preserve ones I never want to lose.
I write because it’s a way of expressing my feelings.
I write to keep myself sane
and to understand what I feel.
I’m free of the fear
of having to voice whatever crosses my head
to someone else.
In writing, I won’t be judged.
I write to silence the voices in my head,
and command the voices creating noise around me.
I write when the numbers on the board no longer make sense,
in the margins of foreign formulas,
and between the lines of past trauma.
It helps me get through stress.
I write because sometimes,
it’s comforting not to have a voice talk back at you.
I write for understanding, connection,
and so much more.
I can do anything with it.
I write because growing up makes the world lose color,
and I write to replenish its vibrancy.
I write for the sake of writing.
I write about anything; I have no boundaries—
like a little bud blossoms, turning to a beautiful flower,
slowly, changing and growing.
The vision I have for things—
I hope that one day I’ll write to make others feel,
to make them connect with characters so deeply
that they can’t help but feel as if they are part of them.
What makes me me is the same as what makes everyone themselves.
It is our passion and our compassion.
While the specifics may vary,
I believe we are all tied together by this universal constant.
One is all, and all is one.