When we were in Bukidnon, a writer friend of mine had a talk about what writing means to her. “I write to change my mind,” these six words ended her speech. I took note of what she talked about, how writing changed her, how writing continued to mold her. For her, writing was a tool, a means of change, a compass for navigation, a steering wheel.
I asked myself.
Writing has always been a means of survival. I almost always write only when I am sad…and alone. I seem to resort to writing when I could no longer make sense of what is and what isn’t. Writing is survival. Writing is “somehow” an escape, a way out. Writing is like an ignored friend that I will only call upon whenever things go dark.
That is why I cannot blame people when they label me as a “sad” writer. A sad artist. Because I have to admit that I only resort to “art” when sadness consumes me. And that is a very limiting use of art for me, but that’s okay.
When I write things out whenever I am sad, I get to make sense of things. Vague and abstract thoughts are now dressed in words, phrases, and sentences. When I am done with a piece, for example, the vague and the abstract are now dressed in phrases, verses, rhythms, and rhymes. I get to see it.
I get to understand.
And when I understand, the confusion does not necessarily fade, but it gets a little bit clearer. And when things are clearer, there is hope. There is a chance of getting my way through it.
It is in moments of desperation and anxiety that I get to speak and write honestly. And when I see these letters and words appear in paper, I see a mirror. I see myself dressed in words. When I write, I begin to circumnavigate.
So, I write to understand.
I write to survive.