Today I woke up with a certain fire under my behind to simply get going. Without a specific direction or idea, but simply to make my bed, fix breakfast and go. While eating breakfast I found five words constantly playing in my mind. “I write, therefore I am.” I’ve seen this quote quite a bit online within the last year. I had no clue where it originated and still cannot seem to find one specific source. However, what I did find is the original source of its concept. Read below to see what I found on Britannica after a quick Google search .
Cogito, ergo sum, (Latin: “I think, therefore I am) dictum coined by the French philosopher René Descartes in his Discourse on Method (1637) as a first step in demonstrating the attainability of certain knowledge. It is the only statement to survive the test of his methodic doubt.
So when I say “I write, therefore I am,” it means because I do the writing thing then ultimately I am a writer. If I do not write or practice it often then how can I claim this title? Many writers have come before me and many will come after me but my focus cannot remain solely on them. My focus must be refined, structured and catered to my very own purpose. So many times we are distracted from the plan for our life due to our focus on the steps set out in front of our neighbor’s house. Say that out loud three times or more until you are able to fully take it in, comprehend and process it.
I remember in my college Creative Writing courses, I would feel bad that I didn’t know certain authors or books but didn’t realize that it was due to who I am. I didn’t grow up in a house full of writers or even readers for that matter. My home structure did however include several creatives that worked with their hands to create beauty in the form of art or design in the form of decor, cakes, clothing even, music and makeup. But I was among one of the only ones who solely focused on the fusing of thoughts into words that became worlds.
My inspiration for writing didn’t always come from simply reading the classics or books at all, often times it came from observing the creatives around me or the ones I admired on TV. I wrote from a different place of inspiration and a lot of times that place was sacred to me alone. I have cried immensely while writing at times because the words coming through felt so damn powerful. At the start of this piece, I began tearing up and had to step away to wipe my face with a tissue before I could continue.
My writing isn’t about other people and yours shouldn’t be either. I felt a sense of lack or immaturity in college when my classmates who were mainly white would discuss their love for certain authors I had never even heard of. I felt compelled to read those works to feel caught up but eventually that feeling disappeared. I had to reconcile within myself that my love for writing came from different places and mostly Black writers and creatives. I was 12 years old reading E. Lynn Harris, a Queer writer who was so transparent in his public life and in the worlds he created within his books. It is from artists like himself that I truly began to learn what it meant to simply write freely. Take the limits off of yourself, your work, and ultimately your purpose. You can truly shapeshift into the beautiful, wonderful creative being you have always been deep down inside.
For so many years I have doubted myself even in the face of compliments and accolades from others. Who am I to be as great as the contemporary writers who have written pounds of greatness before I was even a thought? But the flaw with that mindset is that we begin to pigeonhole ourselves into this space of lack. We begin to doubt ourselves in every way imaginable. If I am doubting myself as a writer, something I have been since the tender age of 8 years old, then I will continue to doubt myself in everything else that I do.
The issue with not feeling good enough is that it stems from the idea that everything you do must be seen as pleasing or palatable to the surrounding world. Instead of having the strength to reassure yourself that your work is valid, as are you, you depend on the validation of society to keep you grounded. When in reality, keeping you grounded is a form of suppression. Being able to simply do what makes your heart sing without any restrictions is a beautiful thing. This is the space in which I want to live my life. I want to be in the space of writing freely. Creating without focusing on what it will turn out like or who will enjoy it and who will not. I want to stop focusing on the money aspect of it all. Que Sera Sera (Whatever will be, will be). What is meant for me will also be. I cannot force it by worrying, I cannot force it by hustling beyond my capability nor capacity. I can only do what I can do. That is the truth and fullness of it.
Instead of having the strength to reassure yourself that your work is valid, as are you, you depend on the validation of society to keep you grounded. When in reality, keeping you grounded is a form of suppression.Tweet
As a child I wrote because it felt good. The worlds along with the characters I created brought me comfort and joy when I was going through. I had always imagined that eventually those same stories would bring joy to others but then somewhere along the lines it all stopped. Dreams, reality, and perspective became one big blur of doubt. “I can’t survive off of writing,” or “I’ve never seen anyone in my family be super successful from their creative pursuits, so who am I to be that one?”
What I should have been asking myself is, “Who am I not to be?” When we are used to living in scarcity, doubt becomes second nature. But so does resourcefulness, so instead of remaining in the spirit of doubt I plan on living in the spirit of hope and faith. I am going to challenge myself to write everyday. Even if I am uninspired, I will write something. It can be in my journal or on my blog. Regardless of what it is, I will write. I will write everyday for as long as it takes until I write as second nature. It is not something I do in passing, rather it is something that I do actively.
I write, therefore I am.