How writing made me confront my feelings

Creative outlets are essential to understanding your experiences

Image supplied by: Supplied by Aisha McIntyre
Aisha writes from the perspective of the villain.

If you had to guess my major, what would it be? English Language and Literature? Politics, Philosophy, and Economics? Sociology? If I had to take a guess at which one you’d pick, I think it would involve a ridiculous amount of writing.

Well, you’re wrong. I’m a stone-cold Health Sciences student.

Now you’re probably wondering, why on Earth is a pretentious pre-med interested in writing articles? No, it’s not to “look good on a resume” or “stand out amongst other applicants”—the typical reasons people in my program partake in anything.

There’s a much deeper meaning to this unexpected passion of mine.

My interest was sparked by something seemingly unconventional: the death of my mother when I was young. That experience forced me into the world of emotions—trauma, injustice, hardship—that broadened my perspective on the world.

As someone who tends to be “cold-hearted” and unemotional, these new emotions scared me. Despite my best attempts to bury them deep in the grave, I couldn’t keep them there forever.

Their essence came out in lingering memories, unexpected scenarios, and in unique, but morbidly beautiful, ways. I could not express the nature of these feeling through words. It was too complicated, too messy, too imperfect of a thing for me to do, and there was no way to verbally describe what I was going through without stumbling over my words every time I tried to speak.

However, when I started jotting down these complex thoughts, everything started to make sense.

After months of being constantly bombarded with triggers of things I wished to erase from my memory, I had reached my breaking point.

I had tried everything to try and dissociate from this continuous agony, but nothing seemed to work. I was too stuck in the past. My vision had become so narrow that I couldn’t see anything unless it was close enough in front of me to hit me in the face.

I so desperately wanted to leave the encapsulating box that I was trapped in. Each day, it kept closing in on me little by little, until I nearly suffocated and couldn’t breathe. I needed to escape from the broken world that had affected me so tremendously.

Writing seemed like the best option—it was a way to finally be free from the terrors in my own mind, in a way nobody else would know about.

As I started to linguistically express my innermost self, I realized it wasn’t emotions that scared me: it was their beautiful complexity, which I had yet to understand or appreciate. It was at that moment that I started to fully connect with my feelings and understand them in ways I didn’t know I could.

After that, my emotions seemed a lot less frightening, and even a bit alluring.

There’s something about having everything on paper, staring right at you, forcing you to confront your feelings, that makes you see your circumstances from a different viewpoint—as though you’ve transformed into a completely new person.

I found it substantially easier to express myself this way. I could contemplate the specific words for my feelings at length, connect certain feelings and experiences together, and figure out what was going on beyond my superficial exterior.

Eventually, words become thoughts, and thoughts become new ideas stemming from the basic premises of my life-altering experience.

These new ideas started off as chaotic, disconnected, and sporadic, but later became coherent, flowing lines of poetry describing everything I’ve gone through in an emotive, metaphorical, and somewhat dark, gruesome, and graphic way.

I don’t write from the perspective of a hero or as someone who always does everything right. Instead, I write as the villain—the person who experiences adversity, makes mistakes, and whose experiences hurt. I write as the person who accepts their flaws and history for what it is and continues moving forward.

My take: underneath every villain lies a hero.

Negative experiences are the things we learn from. They’re the things that give us insight into the issues of the world, the things that grow our character.

Can we really be classified as a hero if we’ve never had the experience of having to go through something that makes us question everything—our values, our morals, our views on life?

Beneath every person lies a deeper story, a reason why we think, act, and feel the way we do. Within that story lies a revealing truth about the world that we wouldn’t have learned if we hadn’t lived that experience. It forms the entire basis of our identity.

Without communicating that truth, how will we learn to express our true selves? How can we really appreciate life if we can’t share our identity, or feel enough to even discover it?

You can’t hide from reality. You can’t hide from emotions. You can’t hide from the things that force you to evaluate your inner working complexities. What you can do is find a way to express those buried imperfections—one that will help you understand how you’re feeling, work through your emotions, and grow throughout the experience.

You need to find that way of expression. For me, it was writing.

It gave me an outlet to confront the adversity I have faced, my flaws, and the reasons I am who I am. It gave me the chance to explain why being the villain didn’t make me the evil one in the story—all it did was show there were more underlying reasons for my identity than what other people saw.

It finally gave me the opportunity to let people know that beyond my seemingly well-structured, confident persona, lies a flawed person with a crumbled past.

Nothing is perfect. The world isn’t perfect, you aren’t perfect, and I’m certainly not perfect. These imperfections do not define us—it’s how we express them that does.


hobby, outlet, villain, writer, writing

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