Why did I stop writing? I never stopped writing, but I know what you meant to ask- why did I stop posting? For me to explain that I have to go back to the reason I first started sharing my writing online.
Originally my poetry account was actually my personal Instagram account that started to gain a lot of traction when I switched from posting pictures of myself and my dogs to sharing my much more intimate poetry. I went from only 30 people following me from which I all knew personally, to over 2k in about over a month. People I had gone to high school with that I have never spoken to suddenly were reaching out to me. People I didn’t even know from across the globe were wanting to be my friend.
At first I was naïve, promoting anyone and everyone who I had a positive encounter with. I felt proud of what I was able to accomplish so quickly but I also felt pressured to keep up with it. I was posting every single day, during a time in my life where I was unpacking a lot of trauma. This led to a lot of oversharing about my own upbringing which although I am very proud of the people I reached that could relate to a dysfunctional home life, I am also still dealing with how I feel about so many people I don’t know knowing so much about me. Parasocial relationships, am I right?
When I write about topics such as abuse it’s not for me to be acknowledged as a victim but in hopes to acknowledge other survivors. I write for myself, and for people like myself to let us both know that we are not alone. One of my poems titled, “flinch” was actually featured on a PTSD page and to this day that is the thing I am most proud of. Reading the comments under it and hearing others share their stories meant more to me than any amount of likes or comments I had gained.
One of the main reasons I stopped posting was due to the amount of messages coming from people in my hometown. I know they didn’t mean any harm in asking about my trauma, but for me it felt like the fourth wall was broken. I felt exposed, and pressured to answer questions that even loved ones of mine don’t know the answers to. I wanted so badly to be able to be open about my past, but I wasn’t comfortable with doing so, and honestly I’m still not.
Sometimes I still get nervous about coworkers of mine reading some of the things I've written because I worry what they will think. As much as I would like to be acknowledged for my craft I despise the idea of someone looking at me completely differently for writing about the parts of me I often hide away. As much as I'd like to be able to be brave, I prefer to be nothing at all.
I think the fact that I'm not comfortable with going into detail about my trauma, aside from my writing, is so very important for me to say, and that is why I'm finally talking about this. To my survivors: you don’t owe your story to anyone, and don’t let anyone make you feel less than for enduring more than they could ever imagine. You don’t need to feel pressured into “being brave”, when you ARE brave. If you are to open up to anyone let it be on your own accord when you are comfortable.
So if you, the person reading this right now, if by chance there is a moment in which you are reading my words and start to feel bad for me do not feel bad for me, instead feel for all the people that are like me, that have stories just like mine, but unlike mine are never heard. Don’t think about me, think about them. Think about all the people you don’t know, and let’s all be a little kinder to strangers. For we are all only strangers after all.
To recap, I stopped posting because of the stress of posting daily, the worries that my work was not good enough, and the fear that other people would only perceive me as a victim, and not see the poetry for what it was. I’d just like to also add that I have not overcome any of those obstacles, I have just instead of using them as an excuse, I have used them each as a reason to keep going anyways. Keeping to a schedule is hard for me, but it’s easier when it’s not every single day. Maybe my writing isn’t good enough, but by what standard? It may not be good enough to someone, but it might also mean the world to someone else. And lastly, I can not control how other people will see me, and I might have a hard time accepting that, but I cannot let that keep me from what I want most. And I want this.
Now that you know why I left, I'm guessing you might be interested in why I've returned. I touch on my return in my first blog post if you haven’t already read it maybe you should check it out!