my writing journey

Writing is an interesting thing.

It is healing, yet painful. It is exhilarating, yet mundane. It is easy, yet so very hard. It is fickle, yet specific.

I realized I had a knack for writing as a sophomore in high school. You see, this was a dark time in my life. I was recently heartbroken – over stories for a different day – and my AP Biology Teacher was boring me just enough. My family was facing issues, and I was facing issues with my boyfriend. Regarding my family, all of my friends were too close to talk to. As for my boyfriend issues, it was my time in life to go through the “that girl” phase, completely oblivious to his extracurriculars. I was young and I was lost, and I truly felt like I couldn’t have a candid conversation with anyone.

So, in that moment, during my 3rd hour AP Biology class, I decided to have a candid conversation with myself. Me, myself, a pen, and paper. It felt so good to be so authentic and write every unfiltered word down. From that moment on, I became secretly obsessed with writing. I wrote all the time. I wrote poems and short blurbs. I wrote in random notebooks and pieces of loose leaf and on all the edges of my notebooks. I became utterly enveloped with words and their capabilities.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. I’ve always been a writer and I just never knew it. I’ve always thought in poetry and metaphors and narratives. I’d go for a run and come back with a poem written in my head. I would spend hours researching quotes. I’d spend countless times deciphering the meaning behind songs. I constantly ask why. And, I’ve always noticed the tiny details in life, like how the snow sparkles in the streetlights, and unique hues of the sunset, each and every night.

At some point, I stopped writing for me, and I began writing for others. I had this epiphany, that if I could mask my hurt and hide behind so many things, how many other people were doing this? So I began to search for words that I needed to hear, and if I couldn’t find the words I needed, I would write those words myself, and I would post them on Instagram and Facebook in hopes of helping others. People were seriously concerned with me. They called me Goth and asked my siblings if I was okay. I always responded by saying, “This isn’t for me, it’s to help other people.” I can admit now, that it was for both.

And then, I kind of stopped altogether. My heart had somewhat healed itself. I threw myself into other things – some good, some bad. I eventually found my old self again (or my new self?). I didn’t stop buying notebooks and journals and pens and pencils, though. I wrote small things here and there. I considered myself a writer and I told people I loved to write. When I got to college, I kept it as a secret, that I’d only share with special people. But, it was always there, nagging at me.

When I was a junior in college, I took a “Reading and Writing in Elementary Education” class. My professor’s philosophy was that unless we did the work that we expected of the students, we could not fully understand how it felt to be the students doing the work. It was then that I was introduced to the Reading and Writing Workshop model. My passion for writing was slowly re-ignited and I began to ask myself questions, like: Why did I stop? Why have I been avoiding it for so long? Am I still capable?

And, after pondering this question again and again, for years now, I think the reason is this: We tell the stories we know. We tell the stories that are wrapped tightly around our hearts, even if we do so unknowingly. We tell the stories that have cut us deeply and shaped us into the people we are. And I think I knew this, and I wasn’t, and in some cases still am not, ready to relive those stories again. I am not ready to unravel them and let them go just yet. But I hope I will be soon.

love always, caitlin

9 thoughts on “my writing journey

  1. It’s great that you reignited your passion. I too had a phase where I stopped reading altogether throughout my teen years, and I’m glad I rekindled that passion, because that’s what got me into writing for a living. Wishing you the best in your writing journey!

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  2. Being a writer is clearly part of your identity. It seems that the pause in between was like this part of your identity was in a sleep. I am glad that you are awake again. If writing is what you are meant to do, if there are stories that are looking for a way out, you need to write to feel whole.

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  3. Gosh, you ARE a writer! I am more of a reader, but know that I need to do the hard stuff with my students so I force myself to write. I’ve always wanted to be more in love with writing but it’s hard!! I really enjoyed reading how a writer feels about everything they see. You explain that longing beautifully. I don’t have it, but I admire it.

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  4. My Dearest Caitlin,
    I was unsure of what I would write about today, but now I know after savoring your words. You will have to skip over to my entry to find out. You’ve prompted a new thread for me that I had not anticipated writing about in my slices this year. Blessings to you. And, thank you.
    Listen to Your Whisper,
    Shari 🙂

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  5. I’ve always been a writer too, and I related to so much of your post, but oh my goodness, the ending: wow. Just beautiful. “the stories that are wrapped around our hearts… the stories that have cut and shaped us into who we are”… <3. I feel sad for those who don't know that they have stories inside them, that writing can feel like this, that stories hold such power. I hope to help my students discover that we all have stories to tell, and the world is so much better when we let them out!

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  6. So glad you have come back to writing. Writing and reading do go together and I believe as well that we need to write if we want our students to write. I always tried to write along side my students and to share my work as they shared theirs. Enjoy the easy and the hard work of writing.

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  7. Sometimes we write for ourselves to unravel those ties to our heart but remember they don’t always have to be shared. There are times and places of course but you as the writer and the owner of those stories decide.
    Some stories are harder to tell and they need time and distance. You will know when it is ready to be released but in the meantime you can still practice your craft.
    Writing doesn’t always have to be deep and heavy.
    Thank you for sharing!

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  8. Hi Caitlin,

    I adore the fact that this epiphany happened in your AP Bio Class. What an interesting place to discover that you’re a writer.

    I’m delighted you’re along on this journey — this month — to be part of this community of writers!

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