For some people, writing is a passing trend. For others, it's just a phase in their lives. For some others, it's nothing more than a hobby. Yet, for people like me, it's everything I live for.
I understand how dramatic this sounds. However, after this blog, you might come to realise otherwise. Just how much did writing change in my life? Why have I chosen the writer life? Read on to find out.
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#1: It changed my mind about suicide.
I think I mentioned this several times before. The Liberal Assassin was my suicide letter. At the age of 22, I was very done with life. It wouldn't be my first attempt at suicide in my 22 years of life back then. However, I was determined to make it a suicide that would finally be successful.
Long story short, I had a sudden thought that writing suicide letters for someone who always wanted to be a writer were too lame. Hence, I started plotting and writing The Liberal Assassin as a means to tell my brother and friends goodbye. However, in the process of writing it, I learned several things that helped me change my mind about suicide.
The first thing I realised was that suicide changed nothing about how I lived. Until the very last moment of my life, I was a prisoner of my circumstances.
Hence, I rewrote the story's entire structure and outline according to how I thought an ideal life would have been. Therein I had my second realisation.
I couldn't change the past either.
Hence I reworked my book over and over again. The first time, Titus died. The world didn't change. The second time, Titus succeeded when he died. However, the responsibilities he left behind crippled society. In the next ending, Titus became responsible for his actions but he was never able to find happiness. He was simply trapped in a new cage made out of duty.
Eventually, I came to realise that it wasn't the ending that was important at all. As stupid as it sounded, it was all about the process. Every single downfall, celebration, confusion, anger, grief and betrayal had to play a part in something bigger. There is nobody in the world who doesn't have their misgivings or misfortune. Some simply have more than others. I wasn't that different either.
Through writing the Liberal Assassin over the span of two years, my depression fluctuated wildly. I still decided eventually that to cut this cycle of recurring depression, c-PTSD and abuse in my toxic-filled life, I needed to die. However, I was going to do it my way and not anyone else's.
That decision was my turning point. I threw away my name, my past, my identity, and my ties with everyone including family. From that point forth, I shut myself off from the world completely to rebirth myself. I left my job overnight, changed my number, and looked for alternative accommodations for a while to piece together the kind of life I had left. However, the one thing I never stopped doing during that 2-year window period was writing. I might not be able to write novels but I certainly wrote journals, blogs and fanfictions.
#2: It helped me escape reality.
In people's most helpless and darkest moments in their lives, they often seek comfort and safety away from the world. For some, that is gaming. For others, it is music. For me, it was writing.
Don't get me wrong, I wasn't the type of maniac who started writing blood-chilling murder series when someone pissed me off to escape reality. I was actually more of a reader than a writer since a young age. I devoured books like how my brother inhales food. However, I actually picked up writing and blogging as a kind of therapy after an English teacher encouraged me to write in it what I couldn't speak out. She was the only person I was writing to and unlike graded homework and exam papers, she did not use red pens to correct me for anything in that book. Instead, she only wrote down replies and comments to the things I shared.
That was the first time I realised the power words held. It could connect people just as much as it could break them. After that, she signed me up for writing competitions and encouraged me to explore the writing world, even finding me a local 'renowned' author as my writing mentor (whom I later ditched for reasons I shall not disclose publically on my blog).
From one fantasy to another, I ran from the problems of my teenage tragedy. Some competitions I won, others I lost. My basic as a competition writer took a shift after a friend introduced me to a shounen-ai anime and the fan fiction world. After taking a dare to write some for her, I think I never looked back again and dived head-first into this rabbit hole of writing.
You have to admit, fiction is much more interesting than reality 9/10 times.
#3: It made me heard.
Similar to the above, writing made me heard. Just not in the way most people expected. I wasn't exactly reserved or soft-spoken. If anything, I was loud and tough and someone the kids envied or hated depending on who you were.
However, that perfect student image that I had did not allow me to have any vulnerabilities. I had to be good at everything and should never look as if I was struggling when I'm actually just a 5-year-old on the inside who wants someone to spoil me rotten, care for me and tell me it's ok when I cry.
Writing opened up that door to allow me the outlet to pour my more human side out. I didn't have to be that scholar student who knew how to kick ass in national martial art tournaments or that outstanding pride of the school who constantly won competitions from writing to debates. I could just be whoever I felt like that day under a different pen name and that newfound freedom to be me and heard for the things I really want to say was exhilarating. I could be a total bitch one week under a rotten pen name and a total baby in the next with a new pen name.
The best part? I don't have to face any criticism for being who I want to be or take responsibility for it.
#4: It helped me make real friends.
After a while of making many alter egos, I somehow stumbled upon a few people in the circle who kept appearing in my face regardless of the names I came by. They somehow could tell that it was me through my crafts. Don't ask me how they knew, it's still a mystery to me today. However, despite knowing all the uglier sides of who I was, these people remained constant.
I suppose it's the first time in my life I came to know what having a friend felt like. They didn't care if you were crazy, insecure or ugly. If anything, they'd tell you a few flaws of their own to make you feel better. It didn't matter if you just cussed them out because you had a bad day and apologised later because you were ashamed. They understand and tell you that it would happen to them too.
I know many people in my life. Most people automatically like me. However, the liking is not always mutual. They don't actually understand me as a person. They just like one aspect about me that blinds them. However, friends are the kind of people who would stay even after they realise you're actually a monster beneath all that cuteness. Yet, they'd still willingly give you pats on the heads and give you treats the same way they did before learning that you were a monster.
#5: It made me understand who I was.
It was not overnight that I came to understand who I was or what I wanted in life. Everything is a journey and most people don't manage to find the answers they seek even until the hour they die. I mean, I didn't realise that I wasn't straight until I was 27 when I learned about the term asexual and everything suddenly clicked.
What I want to say here is that through writing, I grew as a person. I might have changed in some ways and I might have simply enhanced what I originally had. Honestly, writing feels like studying for various bachelor's degrees all at once. The research that I do for what I write takes up the bulk of my writing hours. I'm not the only writer who says it. If you get on my discord server, there are many others who will tell you the same. I can't believe I read a whole thesis about the effects of centrifugal force that applies in a grindstone for Monarch of Solitude or that I had to find a chart about organs in a cow for operation for Ball of Nothing.
Apart from the extracurricular academic benefits that I gained, my intra-personal skills spiked after writing things that were out of my comfort zone like "Survival Bunker System Developer" and "Love Journal - As Told By An Emotionally Constipated Half-Genius". It made me understand my insecurities better and the kind of things I want in life as a human. Everyone desires acceptance and I was no different. However, there are many kinds of acceptance and the kind I'm looking for is rather specific.
Of course, these aren't the only reasons. However, I believe they are the main reasons why I continue on this path that I chose for myself. Without writing, I would not be this amazing and awesome person many of you claim I am today.
From that little girl who was ready to throw herself from the rooftop with a notebook full of blackmail letters to an independent lady who can pay bills using her talents while inspiring others with her presence, I guess writing didn't just change my life. It gave me an upgrade. It gave me a new life.
What about you? Did writing change your life yet?