Reasons for Writing and Seeking Understanding

The poems I wrote as a teenager helped me understand myself and my world. I didn’t know it yet, but , I was already following this blogs motto to question everything. At 14, I knew there were no simple answers. While I listened to the adults around me, I understood they could be wrong. The difference between 14 TK and TK today is that the questions haunted me. I thought everyone but me had the answers.

Somewhere in that confusion is where the following poem was born. A poem about poems, it explores the reasons behind my writing. This was written on November 21, 2004. I was a 14-year-old freshman in high school

Someone Who Knows

Most of my poems are depressing

They make you think of darkness drawing near

I would like to write something more exciting

Something filled with happiness, not tears

I guess it’s for my own sake

that I write so low

I keep all feeling bottled up inside me.

So I don’t know if anyone knows

Through my words I want to find

someone who understands the depths of my mind

Are there people out there who feel the same?

If life seems perfect, does that make you plain?

I want to know if I’m the only one

or are feelings like this inside everyone?

So I write down my soul in anger and fear

In hopes that someday I’ll find someone who knows

The pain of misunderstanding and misinterpretation

and of the confusion that then follows near.

Writing out my poems on this blog, I’ve realized my poems aren’t as depressing as I thought. While there are some particularly dark pieces, they all hold a certain amount of hope. I think I thought my poems were depressing because sadness was what motivated me to write. Rarely did I sit down to express and happy emotion because I didn’t feel happiness in such excess that I needed to write.

We often write based on an emotion we feel strongly. Whether it be a tweet or a whole blog post, whatever we have to say tends to be close to our hearts. It only stands to reason that I wouldn’t be able to write from a place of happiness if I wasn’t happy.

This poem seems ironic to me, as I express curiosity about the experiences of others. Allegedly, I wanted to know if other people felt the same way I did. Did they think the same things I did about life? Despite these questions, I refused to share my writing. People knew that I wrote, but I wouldn’t expose any of my poems to the world until extracurricular speech during my senior year. Even then, I only exposed two or three poems. This blog is the first time I have thrown everything out there.

This photo, “Henry Miller One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things” is copyright (c) 2014 BKon Flickr and made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license
This photo, “Henry Miller One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things” is copyright (c) 2014 BK on Flickr and made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license

There is one line that feels a little out-of-place if you don’t know where I’m coming from. “If life seems perfect, does that make you plain?” This one line is related to everything. There was nothing wrong on the outside. My parents were happily married and lived an apparent comfortable middle class life. I didn’t have any illnesses or injuries holding me back. As such, I felt guilty for being so depressed (which did not help me become less depressed).

My feelings were real, but were they plain because my life had no apparent problems aside from the dark clouds swimming in my head? Did that make my grievances less than those of everyone else?

This brings me to the end of the poem, where misunderstanding and misinterpretation bring on confusion. The way I thought about the world was logical and obvious to me. I don’t think I had the ability to fully understand how a person’s life could lead them to understand the world differently. An ignorant teenager, I still thought there was one truth in the world. Questioning society through my poetry, I thought I would find this elusive truth. Instead, I was slowly learning the only truth of the world is that there is no single truth. I was uncovering my own and slowly realizing that self-realization would never allow me to fully understand the truth of others. Perhaps that’s what causes so much confusion in the world.

Do you think there is one truth in this world, or does everyone find their own truth? Why do you write? Has that reason changed throughout the years? Having read my poems so far, how would you describe them? Would you say they mostly feel depressing?


24 thoughts on “Reasons for Writing and Seeking Understanding”

  1. I firmly believe we all have our own truth.
    There is indeed a Truth, capital T, in the physicality sense, of what is in the universe around us, that’s set and is the same for everyone regardless of outlooks.
    But then there’s our truths, the truths of our lives, and that is deeply unique to each of us and that’s what makes everyone of us so interesting to me. But we won’t necessarily ever get to the bottom of that truth. I think it’s a lifelong, never-ending adventure to unearth all the things within us.

    I write because my truths need to come out and I don’t know any other way. Plus sometimes I feel like that’s the only way I’ll get to know myself… 😛

    1. Amen to all of this. I get it. The way I see it, Truth with a capital T is the great plan of the universe. Our personal truths are our purposes in that plan. Each is unique because we are all here to do different things. And I also agree that we will never fully understand either while we exist on Earth. If we discovered all our truths and accomplished all we were meant to, what would be our reason to live from that point forward? Questions are vital to our existence. Without questions, we have nothing to strive for.

  2. I’m so glad you kept your writing from earlier in life. It’s a great way to see our own evolution and path. Too often people get frustrated only looking ahead and trying to plan and figure it all out. You’re smart enough to know the difference. Thanks for sharing a private moment with us so we can see another way to look at life.

  3. No, I really don’t find your poems depressing, but as my partner says, Life is messy, and mine is messier than most. Maybe she thinks that keeps her from being plain. I’m not sure, but it’s a great question.
    Really good post today.

  4. I grew up in suburban Detroit in a family that was breaking up in my early teens, right at the time I was beginning my lifelong struggle with narcolepsy, which went undiagnosed for almost a decade. I had very little positive support, no positive role models, and thus no idea how to behave or approach life’s challenges; subsequently much of my nonfiction writing is a vehicle for my self-improvement. As time moves on and I become more the person I want to be, the scope changes but the mission does not. These days I’m trying to be an influence on the happiness of others, and in effect if they read something short I have posted every day, I want them to walk away feeling better about themselves and their place in the world with themes of nature and adventure and community.

    As far as truth goes, I believe in a single truth that each individual expresses or denies in their own unique way. The funny thing is, its existence is predicated upon belief.

    1. My writing was largely for self improvement as well, but I didn’t have any family issues. I was just afraid. I was afraid even my family would reject who I was, so I kept it all hidden in my writing. At least I had that as an outlet.

  5. Yes, writers often say that their thoughts are revealed to them as they write them. I often find that I think one thing until I start writing and then I see that I actually think something different.

  6. I think there are a lot of people who like to claim much more to be true in an objective sense than in fact is as it gives them a sense of security. To feel that what is true for them is true for others also. Its also a means of controlling people in line with a socially/culturally dominant narrative. For me, any effort to prove things true objectively is wasted, all your effort should be on understanding your own truth and your own perspective better.

    1. I think that’s all true. People shouldn’t be so concerned with whether or not other people believe in the same truth. The only thing that matters is growing in greater understanding of one’s own truth.

  7. TK, Thank you for your interest in my blogs. I only wish there were enough hours in the day to read all the interesting posts. The longer I blog, the more I follow new blogs and have less time for writing, which is what I really want to do.
    Why do I often assume bloggers are male until I read their about pages? Sue

    1. I recently went through that same thing. Different bloggers make different choices, but I chose to focus on my writing first and everything else second. That’s why I’m just now answering your comment. I read it, but I only now have the free time to comment (sorry). As for your other question, perhaps make is a cultural default – much like white is thought to be our cultural default. I mean, imagine the average person, what do they look like?

  8. “If life seems perfect, does that make you plain?”

    In life, no. In the movies, yes. In the movies, perfection is boring; conflict is needed. In life, if conflict generally avoids you, it’s worth smiling about.

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