Poets get a lot of flack for being self-absorbed and sad creatures, but when you open your heart and soul up to the world and expose it to the toxic environment surrounding the everyday soul-crushing life that perpetuates the so-called “American Dream”, it’s easy to get down on yourself.
As a young man, I’m regularly told I’d be a lot more handsome if only, just only I would smile more. To look “happy” regardless of my actual state is an ongoing struggle for me. As with many people my age, I’m in a state of transition: too old to be a traditional college student but not quite so old as to have any aspect of my life put together yet.
I digress. It takes a lot put a smile on the face of a person like me, and the reason for that is the Big D: Depression.
The link between writers and depression is a storied one; just look at this link from bustle.com. You’ll see that those we revered the most have had some of the worst demons.
In a society where the arts are not valued as much as the ability to never take “No” for an answer, or a pretty face with a killer smile, it gets lonesome. That loneliness can bring with it a sense of bitterness and resentment.
On the worst days, and moreover the worst nights, of my life I’ve found that truly and honestly putting down the words I don’t have the strength to say is probably the greatest act I can accomplish.
We can use the raw emotion of heartbreak: from something as simple as a crush not calling to drifting apart from a group of friends. That hurt should be on a page, not because it’s unique and unheard of, but because it is so utterly mundane and completely universal. This is what makes poetry beautiful: taking the moments that seem to be of no consequence and highlighting the beauty in them.
By doing this we allow others to see they are not alone in their rituals: everyone wants Cherry Garcia and A Cinderella Story after a hard week at work, and if not, they’re lying. (Hilary Duff is amazing.)
One of the greatest things you can do is reach out across the world with some words and a computer screen and let people know that they have common ground to stand on.
It seems like a small token gesture, but it’s a lot like a kiss on the cheek from a beloved grandparent—a small moment in time that goes by without even really being noticed, yet when you stop to look at it, you find it means the world.
It won’t cure cancer or suddenly make the world become a better place, but the memory of that little thing can change your world.
This is exactly what writing can and does do for everyone. So when you’re down and alone and just need a pick-me-up because life has been kicking you around, pick up a pen and some paper, bust out an old notebook and WRITE IT OUT!
Meet the blogger:
MCKINLEY JOHNSON is a full-time student pursuing his Creative Writing degree in poetry with sights on becoming a professor and teaching his love of poetry to a new generation. He is a jack-of-all trades and has been a poet, writer, and part-time Power Ranger.