THE TIMELINE OF WORDS

I’m realizing lately how weighty words are. Not just in their meaning, but in their physical breadth. They are substantial and… heavy. From an emotional standpoint, I’ve always been familiar with the weight and purpose that words hold and the ability they have to transform and shake a heart. But it hasn’t been until the last six months or so that I’ve been able to physically, against my bones, feel their weight.

This is a hard season. I won’t sugar coat it. I also won’t wallow. That being said, this has been a season absent of words. Absent of poetry and inspiration. Absent of creativity. And I am walking around carrying the weight of the millions of words I want to string together to create something meaningful, something honest, something so close to people's hearts, they feel like they can reach out and touch it.

I have memories of writing as early as kindergarten age. Bowl cut, denim overalls, little hands. I remember how i found such wonder and magic in writing with a pencil, watching as the illegible lines I traced against the paper created physical evidence of what my heart was designing. Even if they were just misspelled words drawn crookedly amongst a page, the way they made me feel was undeniable.

Fast forward to sometime like fourth grade. A little older, a little more awkward, not any taller (because I’ve always been 2 feet tall), and full of much more wonder. I’d learned cursive at this point so now instead of crooked misspelled words, they were twirly crooked misspelled words, that I had fallen even more in love with. This was the year of the poems. I had decided that I didn’t particularly think I was intelligent enough to form full, deep concepts and sentences. So poems it was. They made no sense. But they made everything else make sense.

Then I went to high school. I was exceptionally more awkward, quiet, and afraid of everyone. Certainly not my definition of the so called “glory years” everyone else on the planet seemed to always explain high school as being. These were the years writing transitioned for me. Words went from being something that filled me with wonder and magic and unspeakable comfort, to survival. Writing became the thing that put out the fire. It landed the crashing plane. It gave me a place to scream as loud as i could without actually having to make any noise. It provided me with an understanding of how I was feeling that I never had access to before. I could feel and feel and feel and not know what any of it meant and then I would begin writing, and it would all make sense. In seasons of loneliness and transition, it gave me the gift of learning who I was.

College. Still awkward, still short, but really honest and really glad to be who I was. Thrilled to be everywhere. For the first time, writing took on all of the forms it had been to me over the course of my life, at once. It was wonder and magic, survival and grit. And then, it was also a new thing, public. Freshman year of college was the first time I ever let my writing meet the eyes of anyone besides my mom, my best friend, and the occasional high school crush I’d write a poem for (eyeroll). Every once and a while I would post a poem on my Tumblr blog where only strangers followed me. It seemed less scary to show people I’d never see the deep, inner workings of my heart. It was safer. It was nice and cozy living in my little vacuum sealed world of words, writing and healing and not needing to explain to anyone what all of it meant. Then, freshman year, a new friend I met, scoured the depths of the internet and….. Found my blog. He was the first person who told me that my writing meant something. That it deserved the chance to help other people the way it had helped me. This made me terribly uncomfortable. One reason being, I’ve never known how to take a compliment without immediately assuming there’s ulterior motive (yes, I am a crazy person :)). Second, where would I even begin. Who do I share it with. What do I say. What if they hate all of it. Suddenly the thing that brought me peace brought me complete chaos. Long story short, I made an Instagram, and little by little, I started sharing the words that healed me. And little by little, people started to read them. This was horrifying and thrilling. Gut wrenching and joyful.

Fast forward a couple of years, nearing the end of my college career, staring adult life in the face. At this point, writing had become my full time “thing”. It was no hidden knowledge that Kath was the “writer”. At the time, living with my 7 best friends, most of them athletes, it didn’t take much for me to stick out like a sore thumb. I was labeled “the creative one”. And this is where the pressure was birthed. Now, I had a blog, I had more of a following on Instagram, and I could feel all of the eyes staring at me. For the first time, writing had become more than an act, more than a thing I did to heal, but an expectation. For the first time, it felt like I actually had to think about what to say before I wrote it. I think because for the first time, I was feeling like people were equating my words to who I was, instead of just reading them. That was scary. I didn’t want to have to live up to anything, I just wanted to write. To heal.

I’m in the present day now, a whopping 2 years after graduating college, and in small ways, I’m still in that place. That place of feeling like strangers have me set up on a silly little pedestal and I’m bound to disappoint. In the present day, I am still awkward, still short, still figuring it all out, but very certain of who I am and hyper aware of the heart that exists inside of my small and fragile chest. And writing these days is harder than it used to be. I am crippled by the pressure of appearing happier than I am, more hopeful, optimistic. Some days, I’m even fearful to write for myself, not for anyone else to see, just afraid of what I’ll find that I’m really feeling.

But even still, all these years later, all the feelings felt and all the poems written, it’s still magic when that pen hits the paper. My kindergarten curiosity still spikes when I watch what my hand can create on the page just by listening to the patterns of my heart. It’s survival and grit too, without it, I’d be crash landing. These things, words, they are something weighty, they make up so much of who I am. They’re all over me - patching up wounds, holding parts of me together. I pray that I always have the guts to pick them up and put them on paper.

I know none of this is probably very relatable to you, but I think I needed to write it. I didn't understand what I was feeling until I strung these words together, isn't that how it always goes. Thanks for tagging along.