Purpose

I spent the first 21 years and 9 months of my life trying to find my talent or a productive ability of some sorts. From graphic design to crafting, I found myself switching between smaller versions of activities my peers were exceptionally good at. But me? I’d never been the best at anything besides being a self-righteous little crap.

I remember the first piece of creative writing that I’d given to someone; I remember how easily the words tumbled down onto my keyboard and how much fun I had. It was a short piece, and a really bad one. It received a good reaction from the recipient, although I don’t think it was anything more than half-empty flattery.

For long after that, I didn’t write. It never particularly appealed to me, not when my friends were out there climbing up higher with their own work. What’s a bland hobby like writing compared to that? Anyone can string together a couple of words, right?

Writing is an art, and art is expression. That, friends, I was exceptionally bad at, always expressing too much or too little and overall just wrong. I think I still am a mess for no reason; no one’s ever forced me to grow so emotionally illiterate. I wouldn’t say I started to write to express things I otherwise couldn’t, but maybe it’s that creative energy that was building up and needed an outlet. I wanted something to be good at, something to work to improve; a fling to the future that I needed to compare my improvement to. I needed a craft, an art, as disrespectful as I’d been towards it. I pride myself in being a woman in STEM, and frankly, possibly because I am conceited and horrible, found other fields including the arts.. not as necessary.

But we crave it, don’t we? The luxury of art and beauty that comes after fulfilling all of your basic needs for survival. Maybe there is a truth that lies behind John Keating’s quote, “And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

(I’ve never seen that movie, just so you know. But I’ve grown to recognize the worth of the other half of the statement, although I’d only thoroughly believed in the first.)

I suppose my first naive conviction that my writing was good as soon as I started regularly practicing it was a blessing. But I don’t write for money, I don’t think I’ve even considered it until this very moment, and am not planning to. That’s not to undermine the efforts of people who do write for money, since my reason to write is a far more selfish thing. “Write for yourself,” some might say, but I’ve done enough for myself. There was a post on social media that said something along the lines of “when I’ve spent six hours baking a cake, I’d want people to eat it” to describe the creative process. I understand the importance of receiving an indication of people having spent time appreciating your work. I won’t write exclusively for myself, because I’ve done enough, watched shows and read books aimlessly, wallowed away in hobbies that produced nothing tangible (not directly, at least), or in ones whose products I was too embarrassed to share. It’s about time I put this out there for the world to see.

I write for attention. I write because I want people to read my work, to appreciate it; I write for feedback, to have people tell me that they relate, or that my writing’s put them on edge, or that it’s eased something in them, or dragged them through harder times. Maybe it’s a far-fetched hope of mine, but I really hope that one day, people will seek my writing to get their minds off of the harsher realities of their lives; maybe my writing is a little defiance, an insignificant effort to add a touch of beauty to this world.

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23 thoughts on “Purpose

  1. I totally get the feeling here.
    Reading what I wrote and thinking, “uh, I suck so hard.”
    Then going back and thinking, “well no…I’m not that bad.”
    and finally, “I’m pretty damn good…sometimes.”

    And then again at the end, wanting what I write to be read and appreciated. Not in a solely selfish way for praise and congratulations, but because I want someone to read it and be inspired or enjoy it like I do.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You’re very crafty with your words and they flow beautifully. This I promise is not empty flattery, but truth from a mega creative. I too believe have a found interest in STEM. However, I wouldn’t say that I am passionate about those topics, I’ve definitely always considered myself an artist, a poet, and a writer. My grandfather was an engineer for NASA and he loves writing and art as a “hobby.” For me, however, they are not a hobby. They are a passion, a sense of being, they are part of my heart and soul. If for you it is just a hobby that you enjoy that is also quite okay. I’m a strong believer in doing more of the things that bring us joy, and definitely that we can have many interests all at once. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Believe me when I say that not just anyone can string together a couple of words and have it result in something beautiful, poetic, enchanting or even coherent. Your’s is definitely a gift and I don’t feel it’s selfish of you to use it in a manner that benefits you whether that’s money, appreciation, satisfaction or therapy. Even the most selfless acts have motivation rooted in some kind of personal benefit. You are doing an amazing job!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You are so very welcome Maryam😊 I am always amazed at the wonderfully creative talent that is out there and if I can do anything that encourages that, I am more than happy to do so

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Love this piece! The brutal honesty and self-reflection is captivating. There is a Danish rap song where the lyrics translate to: “fuck the world, only my words link me to other people” somehow your piece made me think of that. Keep up the good work

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Jamie Tries to Blog and commented:
    ” I wanted something to be good at, something to work to improve;… I pride myself in being a woman in STEM, and frankly, possibly because I am conceited and horrible, found other fields including the arts.. not as necessary.”

    This post really put into words the thoughts I cannot write. I want my work to gain attention but I’m scared that when I gain too much attention, people will call me conceited or fame whore, or “only doing it for the likes.” I guess I just want my work to be appreciated just as much as I want to be appreciated. It’s always a battle between not caring about what people think and wanting to be liked.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love that Keating quote. Also, I can relate to much of what you have written. I do write for myself but also hope that my work is read by other people and that it touches their life in some way.
    I think self-doubt is common with creative pursuits, in science there is fact and certainty, but in art (and I include writing in that) there will always be an uncertainty and a reliance on individual opinion as to whether your work is deemed good. Self-belief Is required to keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics also come from a need to create and understand the world and ourselves. To quote Winston Churchill from 1938 and not the meme of “What are we fighting for?” which wasn’t said, “The arts are essential to any complete national life. The State owes it to itself to sustain and encourage them….Ill fares the race which fails to salute the arts with the reverence and delight which are their due.” Your thoughts and insights are appreciated,l but please keep working to make your writing as clear and succinct as possible. Like STEM, writing and the arts should not be tossed off with: Anyone can string together a couple of words, right? I know you went on to mitigate this in the following paragraph, but got the sense you still didn’t and don’t completely understand that the same need that drives scientists to discover how things work (simplified, i understand) drives creatives in all their endeavors.

    Like

  8. Every word of this article resonates with me. Kudos to you for having put it so accurately. Hope we all find our haven, our safe place, somewhere. For me, it’s in words. Sometimes mine, sometimes others’. And yours, definitely 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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