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amirali mirhashemian https://unsplash.com/photos/hTeYcjviZ-s

Hanging by a Thread

As I’m about to doze off, an idea strikes me. Grumbling but excited, I grab my phone and type away furiously, rephrasing sentences and rewording fragments until everything fits like a neat collage. It’s a beautiful amalgamation of words, crafted in jagged stanzas. Satisfied, I close my eyes and slip into sleep.

Daniel Hansen https://unsplash.com/photos/VFSy8iXlHP4

This is one of the many experiences I have had with writing. My thoughts are an electric current. Until pen comes to paper, my reflections sit inside my insomniac brain. Writing poetry and songs allows me to unravel feelings through double meanings and wordplay like a puzzle I’m solving. 

My writing is organic: it comes to me usually whenever I think about my life. Writing allows me to gain a better understanding of those around me and of myself. I look at people through a different lens when I write because I flesh out my thoughts rather than letting them cascade in my mind. I have a broader discernment of my classmates, friends, and parents when I see my thoughts on paper. I read them aloud, sometimes to see how they sound and other times to hear how I feel.

Since I started writing about feelings, even just keeping a digital diary, I have developed more empathy and became less reserved. I used to live in a bubble of my own problems, but after writing everything down, I saw a bigger picture.

I took a greater role in community service. I raised funds for the Mattel Children’s Hospital as a youth ambassador. By selling books I had already read and creating charity concerts with my school choir, I achieved my $1250 goal. I researched racial inequality and wrote poetry about social injustice that affected my life.

I use writing as a way to make sense of the world and to explain how I see it. It has always been the common thread through all of my adventures. And when I’m hanging by a thread, writing is what I’m holding onto.

Hailey Shah Avatar