For some, writing is a hobby. It is something fun to do in their spare time that they enjoy and find comfort or relaxation in. For others, writing is a lifeline. It stops being something fun to do and it becomes a necessity. Setting time aside to write each day is a requirement and critical to ones wellbeing. For Triber Hailey Quiazon (@hailswrites), writing saved her life on more than one occasion. Continue reading to see how.
A list of things that writing has taught me along the way and how it inevitably saved my life.
1. Me Time
I used to be a “yes” person. You know the girl who says “yes” to everything even though she should probably be saying “no”. Yeah, I was that girl. At first it was okay because I was keeping myself busy and having a good time but then after a while it started to feel like I was drowning. I couldn’t keep up with all the plans, the favors and the places I didn’t want to be. I barely had time for myself and it was a terrible lifestyle to live. When I first started writing I just wrote when I felt like it. I still do that now but in addition to that I actually set aside an hour or two solely just for writing. Those hours are my slice of heaven. Those hours are my alone time, my time to think and my time to breathe. It took awhile for me to get into the habit of setting aside time but once I did I was reminded of the importance of saying “no” and taking care of yourself.
2. Say What You Need To Say
There’s nothing worse than the feeling of words weighing down your heart. That uncomfortable constricting feeling in your chest, the overthinking… it’s terrible. Unspoken words will kill you. Sometimes you just have to say what you need to say. I get it, it’s easier said than done. This is where writing taught me there’s nothing better then getting everything off your chest. Write. Even if no one reads your words, notice how you feel a little lighter afterwards.
3. The Power Of Reflection
I wouldn’t exactly say that I journal because let’s be real, I tried that several times and it was boring. My entries went something along the lines of “Dear Journal, I have no idea what to write”. Yeah… so that didn’t last for long but hey, give me a gold star for trying alright? In my early teens I started the habit of buying notebooks that I thought looked aesthetically pleasing regardless of the fact I had a stack of them at home. Eventually I stopped my serial notebook buying habits (okay that’s a lie I still dabble in my notebook buying habits from time to time but shhh let’s just keep that between us). I don’t know why I kept most of them, maybe I’m a hoarder at heart or I grew an emotional attachment to these notebooks. Either way I’m glad I kept them. It was incredibly interesting to see my headspace at the time I wrote everything. My writing reminded me about the importance of reflection. Most days I can’t help but feel like I’m running and the faster I go it feels like the more I fall behind. But reading back on my old words gave me the confidence boost that I needed. Because truth is I have grown so much and all the words I write now will be proof of the further growth that I have yet to look forward to.
4. Overcoming Adversity
A lot of the notebooks I held on to have recorded some of my darkest days. Days where I didn’t want to leave my bed, days where all I could do was cry and days were I thought it would never get better. But through it all, I’m still here. It’s nice to have these notebooks lying around my room as a reminder of all the bad days I’ve faced. They remind me that I have gone through hell and back and whatever problems I face in life, I can conquer them and I will conquer them.
I used to think that hope was a dangerous thing. I was such a pessimistic person, I kept thinking what if this hope leads to nothing or hope is a load of bullshit. But I was wrong… hope is such a beautiful thing, it’s so powerful, and it’s important to never lose it. Through my writing I have explored ways to keep the hope in my heart alive. Sometimes when I write poetry or prose, I write it from the perspective of the future me talking to myself. I tell myself that it will get better, because “better” is just around the corner and we all deserve better. My writing is my promise to myself to keep hoping and to never give up.
6. Dealing With Depression
Like many others, I have dealt with depression and some days it’s a freaking battle. It’s like climbing up Mount Everest and other days it’s like stepping over an anthill. No matter the battle, your depression is still valid. Aside from music, I never really found an outlet…that is until I started writing. It was like I was suffocating in the negative thoughts in my mind and writing was my breath of fresh air. There’s nothing quite like writing out every single thing that goes on in your mind. No one else has to see it but writing is so cathartic. For me it served as a way to purge out every single bad thought that loomed over me like a cloud. Once it was on paper it was like I could finally let go. If it weren’t for writing I probably would have given up a long time ago.
7. Acknowledge My Problems
I lie to myself a lot; I tell myself that I’m fine just to bottle it up and have it all come out at the worst time possible. It’s a terrible habit of mine that I am learning to get rid of. Sure some problems can be solved on their own but it was unhealthy of me to take on that approach with all of my problems. Luckily I came to my senses and started to write everything out. It started off as a way just to get things off my chest. But, then I started looking back on everything I wrote and saw the reality of the situations. It brought things to light, it made my problems real and it made me find ways to solve them. Writing out my problems gave me a great sense of perspective and showed me that I could face them instead of cowering and hiding from them.
There are stages where I’ll go through denial about my feelings for something or someone and I’ll keep lying to myself that the feelings are non-existent. Writing taught me the importance of being 100% honest with yourself. When you write out your feelings, it’s your words staring at you in the face and you can’t hide from that. When I’m writing I face the truth, I discover my own truths. Mind bending denial of your feelings is not healthy at all. I’m forever grateful for this lesson I so desperately needed teaching.
9. Human Connection
For a while I have struggled to express myself. I guess that’s why for the most part I turned to music, because if I couldn’t say how I felt I could sing it. It wasn’t until I started to combine my love of music and my newfound love of writing that I saw the true beauty in human connection. It all started when I made a mixtape for my best friend and accompanied it with a letter. I handpicked every song and my letter was all the reasons why I picked them. For me it didn’t really seem like a big deal and it wasn’t until my best friend reacted by bawling her eyes out that I realized how truly special it was. I finally found my way to express myself… a combination of my love of music and writing. Writing from the heart is such an amazing thing; there is nothing that can compare to a handwritten letter. It’s like giving a piece of yourself to someone else. For me, writing was a tool to get me to better understand human connection and that to live and love in this world sometimes you just have to open your heart to someone.
10. Be myself
Thankfully from a young age I always knew it was better to be yourself then to try being anyone else. After all there’s only one of you. Writing served as a reiteration to constantly stay true to myself. In fact it’s still teaching me to be myself. As an amateur writer I feel like I haven’t found my voice yet and each day I write is a lesson in self-discovery. I’m finding my voice through the words I write. You can find yourself in many ways and I’m grateful that writing is one of the many ways for me.
11. To Not Care
There’s something empowering about writing. You can put your happiest thoughts or your darkest thoughts physically and tangibly out on paper for the entire world to see (or just yourself). Either way it is an extremely daunting thing but it is brave as fuck. To have your own words staring back at you is like having your insecurities on display and it’s kind of terrifying but exhilarating at the same time. Who cares what anyone else thinks? So long as you wrote it for you and only you that’s all that matters. It’s like I’m an exhibitionist but you know for emotions not nudity. But I guess showcasing your emotions like that makes you feel naked.
12. The Power Of Sharing
For a while the idea of sharing my works in a public space made me want to throw up, the mere thought of reading out my work would have me running. Until one day in a creative writing class, I volunteered to read out my work. It was like some unseen force took hold of me, that or the ghost of the Nike slogan “just do it” possessed me. Whatever it was that came over me, I’m so glad it did. I read out my poem and nearly passed out from how fast my heart was beating but after I did it, it felt so freeing. It was an exercise where the class could give feedback and hearing that a lot of people could relate to what I wrote was some kind of epiphany. If you told me that I’d have an Instagram dedicated to sharing my writing I probably would have laughed in your face. Yet, here I am writing this blog post with said Instagram account in tow. Sharing your writing is such a powerful thing. It showed me that I wasn’t all that alone in this world. We’re all just souls having human experiences, we share pain, love, longing, loss and every other emotion you can think of. Isn’t that freaking beautiful? So if you’re reading this I hope you find the courage to share your words, because we all probably feel the same way.
13. Writing, A Dear Friend Of Mine
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for being a badass independent woman but it can be pretty daunting to know that you’re alone in this world. That fact used to terrify me but you go through things that change you, that test you and you ultimately realize “hey this isn’t so bad, I can do this!” I can’t tell you how many times my notebooks have served as friends. It’s important to talk to people and voice out your worries. I do that constantly, so to the people who are reading this and have heard me rant, thank you endlessly. But at times I just don’t have it in me to talk to someone. Having a notebook is a way to divulge every single thing on your mind without feeling bad for burdening someone. On the days I felt extremely alone my notebook was there for me and that may sound sad but writing, my dear friend, thank you!
14. Finding Meaning
I don’t think there’s a single person in this world that knows exactly what they want to do with their life. I feel like it doesn’t really matter if you’re fresh out of high school, university, or your third job, it’s always a game of wondering just what the hell makes you want to get out of bed every morning. Some weeks I write about the same things over and over again and I can’t help but think that I’m subconsciously telling myself “hey this is what matters”. More than half the time writing is how I figure out what I want. I felt so directionless before I realized I loved writing and then all of a sudden writing didn’t become apart of my life… it became my life. Writing is something that we can all do, it’s all love and it’s beautiful.
15. To Do Nothing
Writing taught me to not write. Wait what? Sounds counter intuitive huh? But no I’m serious; writing legitimately taught me that it is okay to not write. Ever had a really bad case of writer’s block and after hours of trying to come up with something, you come up with absolutely nothing. Then one day you just stop caring, you don’t write and then you just get this burst of creativity out of nowhere. Take that same concept… but throw it onto life. Sometimes you get so caught up doing your thing, you forget that you need to breathe too. Just stop. Do nothing, trust me you’ll thank yourself for it later.
16. Starting Over
It can be daunting to throw away everything and start all over again but sometimes you just have to do it. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve written something and completely scrapped it just to start fresh. For the most part the things I re-wrote turned out a lot better than the original. This is yet another lesson writing taught me, that it is okay to start over. It’s never too late to start again, to want to do better or to strive for something new. Sometimes you just have to throw it all away to turn over a new leaf.
17. Be In The Moment
Isn’t it kind of ironic how taking a picture actually takes you away from the present moment? I love pictures but they can’t really capture the way my heart feels at any given moment. It’s why I turn to writing because the pages of my notebook capture the moments that make or break my heart. Writing reminds me of the importance to just be in the present moment. When you just wholeheartedly throw yourself into the now, you’re filled with so much peace and your heart genuinely remembers the way you felt in that given moment. Thanks to writing I’m more inclined to be here in the now. A lot of my writing captures how I felt in present moments and being able to look back on that reminds me just how precious the present is.
18. Be Grateful
The physical act of being able to read and write is a gift. There are people in the world who aren’t granted the same gifts. Children in some countries don’t even have access to a good education, which isn’t right or just in the slightest. We aren’t all given the same opportunities, the simple fact that I can read and write reminds me to be grateful for everything that I have and the things the universe has sent my way.
19. The Art Of Letting Go
Now as much as I like holding onto my old notebooks, I also really love the whole concept of out with the old and in with the new. I take this approach with the thoughts in my mind. The toxic thoughts like to cling on to my headspace at the worst times but when I write them out it feels like I’m physically letting go of the thoughts. It is so satisfying to rip up a piece of paper that no longer has any resonance with you. You can make a collage out of the pieces, burn the pages you no longer need or go on a hike and throw them off a cliff (as fun as this is please don’t do this, cause you know, the environment). These are your words and you can do what you want with them. It’s an empowering thing to let go because it’s means you’re free of what once held you down.
20. To Love
I’ve always considered myself a hopeless romantic. I have a love hate relationship with that part of me. But at the end of the day you are filled with so much love, you just have to project it. I know it’s cliché but life is too short to let words go unsaid. I can’t tell you the amount of times writing has let me express myself in a way like no other. I’ve written letters to the people most important to me and tried to capture just how much love I have with them through words. Words are like my baby steps in showing my love and appreciation for you. So if my words ever reach you, I hope they can teach you a lesson or two in love.
Thank you for reading! I hope writing can give you ways to live, love and laugh.
- Hailey Quiazon, 2018
to check Hailey out on IG and read some of her poetry, click the button below!
a special thank you to Hailey for contributing this thoughtful and reflective article! As you've expressed, writing is more than just words on a paper or a hobby to enjoy. Writing is meaningful, healthy for the mind and spirit, and critical in the growth of a human being. Words can, have, and will continue to save lives across the world and it is on us to keep the authenticity of it alive!
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love & light,