This I Believe

Kelli - Granite City, Illinois
Entered on January 29, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I Owe Myself to a Pen and Paper

I believe in the healing power of artistic expression. I use writing as a tool to channel my thoughts, feelings, findings, and actions. I feel that when left inside of me, my emotions are like a ticking time bomb ready to go off at a moment’s notice. For me, to write is as to stay sane.

The summer before my junior year of high school became one of endless parties and long nights of heavy alcohol consumption. This time period has since been entitled my insanity stage. The bright, summer daylight did not matter. Night time was our playground.

Up to this point, my high school experience had been especially positive. I was an honor roll student, cheerleader, had plenty of friends. Teachers admired my work ethic in their classes. I had even gone through a serious relationship lasting my entire freshman and sophomore years. My family had never let me down in any way. We never struggled with a divorce or death, or anything else of that nature. We were fairly well rounded. Despite my good fortune in life, that summer turned me over and dropped me on my face.

Party hard. The single most important motto in my group of friends. If you remember the night before, you didn’t have a good time. Sadly this idea became my way of life. Alcohol became my greatest release, my best asset. I could talk to anyone I wanted, joke around, laugh, and simply enjoy myself and my surroundings. The challenge to out drink another was taken all too seriously, as a game one refused to lose. I didn’t notice the changes at the time, but I was unknowingly falling into a hole in my life. One that I didn’t know would be so difficult to exit.

Months passed, my behaviors continued. Drinking had gone from my release to my social crutch. I could no longer find the nerve to have a conversation or be social with others without being intoxicated. I became preoccupied with the opinions of others. School no longer held my attention. My once scholarly grades quickly declined and homework was often left unfinished. During class I anxiously counted down the hours and minutes left of each school day. My mind set was clear to me: go out, go party. My once healthy, loving relationship with my parents had deteriorated. The drunk, irresponsible decisions I had been making for months in addition to our newly constant arguments put a serious strain on my home life. I felt lost and alone inside myself. I had no idea who I could turn to anymore or who I was. Those moments always made me want to drink even more, which I usually did when given the chance.

At the end of my rope with no one left to turn to, I took an extensive reflection of my lifestyle and who I had become. I had nearly lost my entire sense of self. I thought back to what I truly enjoyed before booze took over. I realized that I could always write. Any idiot can write. The realization made me grab a pen and paper that very moment and truly consider what I was doing to myself. With that simple action, I had found my true release. After seeking the help of others and many more months of journaling, I gradually began to find myself again, although not after constant struggle and setbacks.

Presently in my life, I feel stable and mostly comfortable with myself and my lifestyle. Past mistakes are behind me and I just try to live each day as it comes. I know I have writing to thank for my healthy outlook. I feel that explaining myself through written word is much easier than speaking it out loud. I can be found writing at any moment of the day because I always have personal thoughts swirling inside my head. I feel I was born to communicate myself to the world this way because writing is what I truly seem to be best at doing. Whether I make this form of self expression into a career matters not to me. My only concern is having a pen and paper available to me whenever it is needed.