Finding Yourself Through Writing

By: Mia Lee, Class of 2024

Finding Yourself Through Writing

The Cutie Pie Times won me many Pulitzers. At least, according to my parents.

I founded the magazine when I was 8-years-old as an outlet for my imagination. With the highest quality Crayola markers available, I wrote dozens of articles about anything and everything, from book reviews to news reports to a self-drawn comics section. I remember the unbridled joy of seeing my thoughts on a page and the feeling of ownership I had in my work. I particularly thrived off the praise of my readers (the furthest reaches of my immediate family). The magazine was active for around a year – a high level of commitment for a second grader – before I tapered off and “retired” it in 2011.

2022 started off with three months of intense grief and change, something I was unprepared for as I counted down for the new year. In the struggles I’ve faced these past few months in confronting my identity, I have found that writing has helped me immensely in grounding myself.

Journaling is different from the Cutie Pie Times in many ways: I’m not writing for others, and most of the time my writing is just pages of ranting that only I can make out. But it brings me right back to the unbridled joy in writing I felt over a decade ago seeing how much power is within me to communicate what I am thinking. With writing, my feelings of ownership over my “work” have become the feeling of ownership over my actions and reactions, knowing that I can endure challenges through the catharsis of writing. I get excited about filling my journal every single night and I truly feel better than I have in a long time.

Writing feels like physical proof of my self-sufficiency. I used to often unpack my emotions by dumping them on the people I love, and while I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful support network, I’ve found that journaling has offered me a much healthier and more effective channel to unload. It’s something that has really benefited the relationships I have with the people around me, as well as my own internal locus of control.

In 2011, I was not the best writer. In 2022, I’ve swapped my Crayola markers for pencils and a $2 DGX notebook, but I am still not the best writer. There’s no “talent” threshold for writing for pleasure, but the reward you could find in it may change your life.