Two years ago today, I started this site. It took me weeks to muster up the courage to write my first post, and my hands were shaking as I, fearing what I imagined would be imminent ridicule or humiliation, pressed the “publish” button. It was the first time I shared any writing beyond the desks of my professors or the safe enclave of a classroom. Moreover, it was the first time I shared writing, not armored by the protective mechanisms and caveats of scholarly analysis, deeply personal to me.
Writing is often a solitary and insular endeavor, so not everything a person writes will see the light of day. For years, I had written in fragments from random bursts of inspiration, penning lines on scraps of paper and tucking them in between the pages of old books, typing frantically in my notes app on my phone, saving whole pieces in a folder on my desktop. I felt comfortable molding sentences in the dark, keeping them to myself, for a long time. I identified as an expository writer, proud of the essays on literature, sociology, gender studies, politics, and philosophy I submitted as an undergraduate. I published one article for the school paper and had several small items published in various student literary magazines. That was all.
As I approached graduate school, coming off of a relatively non-creative year, I wanted these fragments to mean something, to do something. I knew since I had submitted my application that divinity school, for better or worse, would be a period of my life saturated with questions, new discoveries, and growth. In the midst of the mundane chaos, I wanted to hold myself accountable, so that the beginning line of something written down hastily would not so often slip away from me, so that I would reflect with freshness of mind.
Against the grain of my comfort, I have written on delayed trains, at my tiny apartment desk, and at the neighborhood coffee shop, pushing myself to be clearer and more precise about how I felt, what I saw, what I read, and what might be true to say. There are days when writing here has felt like self-promotion, or like I am striving to be seen. I’ve pulled away from hitting “publish” time and again. But there are more days, when writing feels like healing, a way of giving life to new things that serve rather than harm. Writing here has been a sort of spiritual practice, like opening my hands to release something previously unknown, unseen, unheard, hidden. I am grateful to those of you who come to visit this space and for those of you who share your thoughts in a similar spirit.
Yesterday, in what feels like a surreal capstone to these last two years of effort and diligence, an essay of mine was published on The Porch Magazine. If you are interested in reading, you can find it here. As you may notice, the timing in this piece is a bit off. I wrote it first at the beginning of March, when the weather was still cold in New York, not the middle of May, when the buds have already burst and tourists have descended upon every corner. Nevertheless, I hope something in it might ring true for you and that it may inspire you to remember that your voice, your presence, your attention, your integrity matter, even in the simplest of moments.