Why I Write

The seeds of doubt were planted at a young age. I can’t tell you exactly when, but I know it started in childhood. I was lead to believe I wasn’t capable, that I would struggle in this life. 

In particular, concerns surrounded my abilities in English. At first, my parents worried that I had a hearing problem. They believed this stunted my development. Later they had me tested for dyslexia. 

I’m not, of course. It just happened to be one of my weaknesses. And I just happened to be different. I’ve always been a daydreamer, a wanderer by nature.

Languages, the English language – spelling, grammar – has never come naturally to me. But that has never been the problem. The problem was I didn’t believe, and because I didn’t believe, I didn’t try. I internalised that belief and thought, “What’s the point?” 

“I’m no good, so why bother?”

Unfortunately, that belief took root at a much deeper level than my English proficiency.

Problems really started in adolescence – at the age of 13 – when I was first offered drugs. I didn’t say yes because I was curious. I didn’t say yes because I thought it was cool. I didn’t say yes as a form of rebellion. I said yes because I was afraid. 

I took drugs because I was too scared to say no.

So began some of the most challenging years of my life. At first, it was fun, but I soon felt trapped. At one point, I was smoking pot every single day. I suffered from intense bouts of anxiety that I hid from everyone. Depression soon followed. 

I sank deep into my shell.

I knew I needed help, but I didn’t know how to ask for it. I was too afraid to speak up. So I drowned silently. It came to a head when a friend of mine was caught in possession of my drugs. 

I was made to make a choice that day. When the deputy headmaster sat us down in his office, he asked me if I had also been using. He said I can’t help you if you’re not honest.

I was so scared at that moment. I wanted to tell the truth, but I was afraid of the repercussions. The thought of breaking my parent’s hearts broke my own. Yet, I also feared what would happen if I didn’t tell the truth.

While fighting back the tears, I admitted the truth.

It proved to be one of the most pivotal moments of my life. I was suspended, but the deputy headmaster held true to his word. No permanent record was kept. He honoured my honesty by protecting my future. How different my life would look now had I lied.

Honesty hurts to begin with, but in the long run it will set you free.

During those years, I sat my GCSEs. I didn’t care about my grades. I didn’t care about what future I had. I simply wanted to escape the hell I found myself in. As a result, I didn’t put much effort in. 

My results came as a surprise. 

I landed 4 A’s, 6 B’s and an E (in German). I was far more competent than I gave myself credit. English language and English literature were the biggest surprises. Had it not been for one teacher, in particular, my grades would have been very different. 

She taught the class with the top peers in our age group. Except she did something a little different. She took several students who were really struggling from the lowest level and placed us in hers. She had me sit in the front row.

She was petrifying, which helped. I was made to apply myself. I remember she believed I had a voice. She pushed me to do a lot of public speaking – which also scared the bejesus out of me!

My coursework marks steadily improved over the two years she taught me. Still, my coursework barely averaged a C. This made the final results even more surprising. Following our final examinations, I ended up with B’s in English language and English literature. I must have aced those exams to achieve those grades.

They’re my proudest grades from secondary school.

What she proved was more important, even if it didn’t fully register until years later. She showed that if I chose to apply myself, I was more than capable. She planted the seeds of self-belief that would bear fruit many years later.

To my English teacher, wherever you are, thank you.

I didn’t pursue English for A levels. It wasn’t for me. I also lacked clarity. As a result, I took a random collection of subjects. Art (the one subject I truly loved), Biology, History, and Geography.

I dropped Art halfway through my A levels despite getting an A. I dropped it for the wrong reasons – because no one else took it seriously. It would be an entire decade before I started drawing again. 

Somewhere along the way, I forgot. 

Doing something simply because you love it is enough. More than enough.

History was the subject I went on to take at University. I took it because my parents were adamant that I should go to University and get a degree. I took it out of preference, not because I truly loved it. The truth is I only enjoyed aspects of it. 

I later realised that what I really enjoyed was applying lessons from what history has to teach us about living life. What I was really interested in was philosophy.

During University, I fell in love with a French lady. In the second year, she asked me to edit much of her coursework. She studied media and communications. I didn’t just edit her work; I rewrote large chunks of it. 

I loved it. 

I found I had a knack for drawing conclusions. I loved finishing with the right words. I realised there was an art to it. Between her coursework and my own, these skills developed.

Then she broke my heart. I finished my degree and forgot about this. 

After University, I was clear about one thing. One thing I had always been clear about. A deep longing in my heart to travel the world.

So I applied for a cadetship offered by the airline I now work for. For the airline my father used to work for. He was keen, provided I was serious about it. So he took me flying. I didn’t look back.

And so followed the last 12 years of my life. 

There was a big break where I didn’t write. Several years passed while learning to fly and traveling the world before I decided to pick up a pen again. 

One of my hobbies is traveling through cuisine. Anthony Bourdain has long been a personal hero of mine. Inspired by him, I put together a blog documenting my travels. 

I enjoyed it for a while, but that passion started to wane as depression and anxiety took a firmer grip.

This came to a head during another pivotal moment of my life. I froze up while trying to land during my Junior First Officer training. The training captain had to take control and go around as a result.

That scarred me deeply.

Added to the list of depression and anxiety, I had PTSD to contend with too. I remember flying approaches for years afterwards where my heart would beat so hard, it felt like it was going to break through my chest.

So many times, I wanted to quit. I wanted to throw in the towel. Those demons screamed at me. “GET OUT! YOU CAN’T! YOU’RE A FRAUD! YOU’RE NOT CAPABLE!”

I kept going. 

Part of me refused to give in. I was so sick of those voices. Overcoming and passing my Junior First Officer upgrade was something I felt I had to do. So, I worked harder than I ever have in my entire life. 

My demons started to drive me.

9 months on from that day, I was upgraded to First Officer. It meant everything to me at the time. I thought that was it. I thought that would be enough to finally put those voices to bed.

I was wrong. 

It wasn’t until the birth of my first child 3 years ago that I finally sought professional help. At a low moment, I broke down. Once again, my demons were screaming at me. Telling me I couldn’t parent. That my boy deserved better. The guilt overwhelmed me, and I cried and cried.

Afterward, I felt a deep peace I’d not known in years. I knew exactly what I had to do. I picked up the phone and called for help. 

This time I was ready. 

The following 4 months of therapy were difficult, emotional, and liberating all at the same time, but I didn’t hold back. In doing so, I finally gained the clarity I needed. In seeing my demons in the light, they lost their power. 

The fog of depression finally started to lift.

Shortly afterwards, the pandemic hit, and I was left grounded. I used the time to do something I’d not done since I dropped Art during my A levels. 

I started drawing. 

And because I was feeling particularly creative – BECAUSE THAT’S WHO I AM – I started writing again. I put together a children’s book. I went to a publisher who loved it. Last summer, I became a published author. 

How do you like them apples?

At the same time, I started blogging. This time I had a different motivation. I spoke from my core. It felt like a spark had ignited something inside. I felt possessed. My intuition kept telling me to keep going. It’s leading somewhere. I don’t where yet, but it is. 

It has.

My writing has given me clarity about what I want to do next. I will be starting an online degree in psychology next year with a long-term view of changing careers. I also have an idea for a number of books I plan to write.

Once again, I hear my demons screaming. Telling me not to do it. That I can’t. That I’m making a big mistake.

There’s a difference this time. 

My relationship has changed. I know those voices will be with me till the day I die. It that doesn’t phase me anymore. Honestly, I smile. I realise I don’t want those voices to go away. You see, they’re a guide. A powerful one telling me which direction to go in. What obstacles I must take on.  

Those voices also remind me of all the pain and suffering I’ve gone through. They keep it close to my heart. That’s want I want. To use that to help others who are suffering as I have. To give meaning to my pain by helping others with theirs. 

And so, as I sit at another crossroads in my life – as I build towards my second career – I keep writing. This time I won’t ever stop. Even though it continues to scare me – every single time I hit that publish button. 

I see it now. 

I now know why it has to be this way. I was meant to write my way out. It’s poetry in motion. 

You see the seeds of doubt that were planted at such a young age. The demons that have plagued me my whole life. They all stemmed from a lack of faith in my ability to overcome one of my biggest weaknesses.

That’s why I write. 

For the boy inside who was lead to doubt himself. Who was told he couldn’t. Who was told he would struggle. 

I write for every child who suffered under the weight of their fears, for everyone whose fears have been used against them in the cruelest possible way.

I write because I can. I write because I know that you can too.

I write to call myself a writer and be called a writer, because that means more to me than words could ever convey. 

The question I have is, why do you?  

***

You can find AP2’s personal blog here at: https://clear-air-turbulence.com

You can also find him on Medium at: https://anxiouspilot2.medium.com

Or on Twitter at: @AnxiousPilot

115 thoughts on “Why I Write

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  1. I love to write for the same reason you do—to share the experience of living life through a veil of self doubt, lack of self worth, and all of the other swell attributes the ego ascribes at us that are simply not true! Thank you for sharing from the depth of your being. It’s a noble goal to serve others through being who we are!

    Liked by 12 people

    1. The thing I realised is that the ego is simply trying to protect us. It doesn’t care about our happiness. Only our survival. But peace really is innate. To find it, therefore, you have to transcend it. Thank you Julia. I believe sharing that experience can help others in a big way. Wishing you well 🙏

      Liked by 6 people

  2. I almost read it twice… If you want to really enjoy writing, I believe you have to write naked… People have to see you — butt naked, you can’t hide anything. As writers, we deposit little crumbs about ourselves in the art we create…

    Thank you for this…

    Liked by 11 people

    1. That’s no easy thing. I must admit I was nervous hitting the publish button on this one. Usually that’s a good sign though. Those are the pieces where my heart has spoken. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment

      Liked by 7 people

  3. Lovely. A glimpse deeper into you and your life and some important insights as well. This line – “doing something simply because you love it is enough. More than enough..” That’s a keeper. Like you, I forget that truth sometimes. 💖

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Thanks Em! It’s easy to forget isn’t it?We often feel we have to get something from what we are doing otherwise we are wasting our time. But doing something you love feeds the soul. That is not a waste of time. Wishing you well Em. 🙏

      Liked by 6 people

  4. I’m blown away by your honesty -if this piece doesn’t inspire the hesitant, unsure, and self denying would be writers, I don’t know what would. All writing must be honest writing, and soul rendering, confessional stuff such as this rides tall in the literary world. Keep going man! You are free as a bird!

    Liked by 9 people

  5. Heartfelt, honest, and inspiring writing.
    I am a wonderer….
    I write about anything that touches my heart, comes from my heart, or subjects that invoke strong feelings in my heart, and not necessarily, always about myself.
    I write because I love words and know they have the power to convey messages of kindness, love, empathy, acceptance, and other basic qualities needed to live harmoniously.

    Liked by 7 people

  6. What an incredible post. It’s amazing how someone believing in us can change the whole trajectory of our life. That works in reverse too. God forbid we be the ones to discourage someone because we can’t forsee the terrible consequences. I too suffer from feeling like a fraud and your post is very inspiring to me.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Thank you Hetty Eliot. We are so impressionable as children. We need those who believe in us somewhere along the way to find that belief ourselves. It means a great deal to hear this post has inspired you. Wishing you well 🙏

      Liked by 3 people

  7. I write because every life has a story worth telling. Even as I continually doubt the value of my own, I force myself to write on. I had an English teacher who scared me from writing. Now I not only write, but am an editor and help others tell their stories.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. “Every life has a story worth telling.” So so true. That’s a wonderful mission you have – to help others tell their stories too. I like that. Thank you for sharing. 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I love this! I too wanted to be a writer but had to go to university and get a job because university would qualify me for a job (my parents had a very strange logic there). My degree was not in anything I wanted to do but I’ve since gone back and done a masters to change careers.
    I’ve just started writing again after a very long absence. I’m writing for me.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Also, well done you for believing in yourself. That is courageous! I wish I could be so brave.

      Your quote:

      Doing something simply because you love it is enough. More than enough.

      resonates so much with me right now.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. I’m pleased. You’re the second person to quote that line. We often feel we have to get something out of what we do. But true happiness and joy comes from doing something we love with no expectation for anything in return. I try to keep my writing that way. Simply because I love it. To share it with others with no expectation for anything in return. Once again thank you E. you words mean a great deal. 🙏

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I often think we’ve got it wrong. University shouldn’t come straight after school. I say go out into the world first. Work a minimum wage job for a while. Travel. Gain a greater perspective about the world and who you are first, then ask yourself what you want to do. I believe we try to map our career trajectories too early. Writing for yourself is important. Thank you E. 🙏

      Liked by 3 people

  9. Reading the second half got me teary not going to lie. I’ve been feeling stuck creatively, and self doubt has taken precedent in my life right now. This is exactly what I needed. This is the first time I cried reading a piece. Thank you.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Hi Esther. It means a great deal to hear how much my post moved you. I know the feeling of being stuck creatively. I believe writers block is a very much a pyscological issue. Self doubt can be crippling. I want you to know that you’re not alone. We all go through it. I’ve found small victories are improtant during such times. Don’t forget to congratulate yourself when you take a step forward, no matter how small. The real secret to moving forward is self acceptance. Wishng you the very best, AP2🙏

      Liked by 3 people

  10. Oh, my! I should remark about just how inspiring this is! For the boy who couldn’t speak up, for the boy who doubted himself! I write because I CAN. What a strong attitude! God bless that English teacher who made a difference in your life. One good teacher can make a world of difference.
    I’m amazed and inspired by how you sailed through rough seas so well and maintained your level-headedness. I would have gone insane! It all panned out very well and here you are, sharing your thoughts in eloquent words and (possibly) changing lives for the better. Lovely to read your history and what writing is to you. 😊

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes one teacher – one act of kindness even – can make a world of difference. I can’t say I sailed through the rough seas well but somehow I found a way through to calmer waters. Thank you Sam for taking the time to read and comment. Your words mean a great deal. Wishing you well, AP2 🙏

      Liked by 3 people

  11. Thank you for sharing. Your honesty and courage shone through.
    I write to free the many thoughts circling around inside my head, moments where I need clarity. I need that release at times.
    I write on topics that speak to me.
    But I also hope that what I share encourages someone.
    My current blog is my second public attempt dedicated specifically to this form of creative expression. It seems that others see this gift I have and I don’t nearly take it that seriously. I only think of it as a release.
    So, I’m releasing it and trying again.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. That’s wonderful Natasha. Sounds like you’re writing for the right reasons. This is important in the long run. Thank you for reading and sharing. I apprecaite it. 🙏

      Like

  12. “I write to call myself a writer ” – well, you are definitely a good one.
    Your article is sooooo long and yet I could not stop reading it whole, especially because I myself usually write and prefer reading way shorter ones. A very impatient mind, sometimes unable to read even novels ! 😄 It takes sheer power of writing to keep me glued in, not to mention, to get the reading started. 👍

    Your post has answered my question – why demons of diffidence in head ? Well, it gets planted since childhood.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Yes it’s a long one alright but it’s hard to condense your life into 2000 words. I feel like I left so much out! I’m like you – I have a short attention span. If the writing doesn’t grab me I stop reading. I’m pleased my writing resonated enough to keep you engaged. It means a lot to hear you say that. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Wishing you well. 🙏

      Liked by 4 people

  13. Considering how long this post is, I think you have a lot of things to say but don’t know how to express them orally, yes? No? Because that’s why I started to write

    Writing helps me find my voice. I don’t think I have speech impediment, I just have a lot more happening inside my head and I can’t find the right way to say it. For years, I was pretty submissive, always say yes nearly to anything, even when my heart and mind say no. Writing has helped me to be more expressive and let me speak whatever inside my head

    Unfortunately, that doesn’t help me with my parents. Probably because they’ve been micromanaging me and not used to having someone disagreed with them, I still can’t actually say whatever in my mind to them. And of course, they can’t be bothered to read. When they do let me speak or listen to me, they listen to retaliate, not to understand, let alone think. They’re partially the reason why I start blogging

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Astute observation. You’re not wrong. I have many things I want to say publicly that I can’t. I would love to but it’s complicated. I work in a profession where the very topic of depression and anxiety is taboo. I live in a part of the world that is clamping down on freedom of speech. I have to be careful. Still, I want nothing more than to speak openly and honestly. I desperately want to put my real name next to my words. None of these words I keep from the people I love however. My parent, my wife, my closet family and friends read what I write. At least in that respect I don’t feel isolated. I do find I have a better way of collecting my thoughts and putting them on the page rather than saying them in person. But I realise that’s a powerful to get my message across anyway. I often write those I love letters to express my feelings. It’s my way of saying what I can’t in person. Blogging serves the same purpose. I’m sorry to hear about your struggles communicating with your family. I think having an outlet where others can hear you is important. I hope you find those who are prepared to take the time to listen and understand you. Thank you for taking the time to read and share. I wish you well. 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I can relate so much to this! I too have wasted many years and opportunities with self doubt that was instilled at a young age. so much that I forgot my passions. we can do anything we set our minds to!

    so happy you’ve reconnected with that side of you and seeked help. thank you for sharing your story!

    Liked by 6 people

  15. I also love to write my heart out. But, everytime I sit down to write, I realise this is not what I want to talk about. I want to write about things for which I can and will be judged. About my random thoughts, which I also don’t know why comes to my mind.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Write to express yourself. Write about what interests you. Write about anything and everything. Write to teach yourself or others. There are many great reasons to write. But honest self expression is best. You will be judged either way. Whether you do or do not. Best to do I say. Thank you sharing your thoughts. Wishing you well. 🙏

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Wow,a wonderful piece indeed.
    That’s a life journey worth embracing.
    However,excuse me please to share something about the said demons that keep telling you that you CAN’T.
    Since am also coming from such a generation where living to me is surmounting a revolution shift,the voices could be alluded to originate from something much deeper than that in your family lineage.
    Mine was coming from a generation curse and through meditation and introspective reflections,I was able to learn and get it right and the Lord has been guiding me on how to fix it.
    The reason I believe it may not be your guide is simply because it’s said to be a negative vibe,while our creative energies need to thrive from the positive vibes.
    All negative vibes are meant to sabotage our potential and I remember despite myself coming from such negative vibes background where people also sought to define my world,I always had a string conviction within me to the contrary that I can always do it and I have always followed that conviction however,desperate conditions life slaps me with,thus the momentum and am very daring.
    Maybe there are much we may share in common if you may be willing to plug me in to your corporate allies for exchange programs and any likely ways of working jointly.

    Thanks and God’s blessings,
    Maurice Omollo

    Liked by 1 person

  17. thankyou so much for writing this and making me feel so heard and seen. this made my day, week, month. i cannot thank you enough for using these words. i genuinely hope i get to read more about your words and story.

    Liked by 1 person

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