Sometimes it hurts so much to not be able to fully embrace the thing you love the most because you feel like it’s a product of your pain. Like, the two are so closely tied that you can’t experience one without the other. Whenever I write, it hurts, it’s always moments when I let out my pain, when I bleed. I started writing as a form of escape from my pain, that is what I remember about my first writing experiences. It was a tool to affirm myself, to give myself the love I so desperately yearned from those who could not see me on the days when I didn’t shine. I used to escape from all the pain of feeling out of place, into blank pages, and I cannot help but bleed every time I open up a page and start writing. How then do I pursue something that feels like dying every time I do it, something that reminds me of everything I lost/never had. Writing reminds me of pain, emptiness, it reminds me of all the ways I’ve ever felt alone. It reminds me of everyday that I spent wishing I could disappear, everyday that I felt like running away. It reminds me of every way I had to affirm myself, everyday that I spent loving myself, if only to survive. Pardon me if I don’t think I’m a great writer, if I just wanna hide all the ways I feel pain. I don’t wanna be rewarded for the lowest moments of my life, I don’t wanna be praised for all the days I escaped death, the days when empty pages became my lungs. I don’t want to be reminded how turning each page felt like a second chance. My pain is not for display, it is not something to be viewed and criticized by those who could not see me on the nights when the moon was a no show. Those who could not hear my cry for help above their happy, who could not hear my screams above their laughs and giggles. It is not for eyes veiled by criticism, too caught up in all these figures of speech to see this is my only form of redemption. This is my war cry, every way I’ve taught myself to be brave.