Why I Write

I started writing stories when I was young. My mom has file folders packed with elementary school essays and journaling pages.

I liked writing stories because I could control the ending (or, the whole thing really).

I especially liked writing the kinds of stories that have no problems, no misunderstandings, and no climax — just happy, happy, happy from beginning to end.

Which is why my stories were boring as hell.

I understand that our most challenging moments, and the big feelings that follow, are required for Real Life. I understand that’s what makes the good moments even better.

I understand, intellectually.

But I also find it deeply annoying, particularly when I’m inside the hard times. And right now, I am.

Like many of you I’ve been swimming upstream for most of the last few years.

My anxiety (or, my “dragons” as my kids like to say) reared its head in February 2021, and it’s been a bumpy ride since. I was accepted to graduate school, and then I dropped out. We decided to have a third baby, and then I lost the pregnancy.

There’s been sickness, and broken friendships, and big feelings I don’t know what to do with.

(Thank god for my therapist, and my husband, and my personal commitment to sacred practice. But still. It’s been a long year.)

For the last several weeks especially I’ve been inside this hole of anxiety that says: “You have to control everything.

You have to make the scary parts go away, and you do that by controlling what happens next.”

And as we all know by now, controlling everything (or anything) is impossible — and any attempt to make it reality only prolongs the hard moments of suffering.

I know this, intellectually.

But my body in its Wholeness is not only intellectual: my physical body needs a physical reminder that it’s safe, my mental body needs a mental reminder that it’s okay to rest, and my spiritual body needs a loving reminder that it’s important here, too (and not forgotten or ignored).

So, today I leave you with a few practices I’ve found helpful lately — this is a series of “Self-Compassion Breaks” by Dr. Kristin Neff. (I particularly enjoy the Tender Self-Compassion Break, the General Self-Compassion Break, and the Loving-Kindness Meditation.)

And some good news:

I no longer write stories full of happy beginnings, middles, and ends.

I just write.

I write not to control the story, but to tell mine from within and around the good and hard moments.

I write to process what’s happening, to move through big feelings, to tell the whole story as it relates to my life (which often allows me to relate to the whole story as it relates to your life).

I hope that’s what keeps us both connected — to ourselves, to each other, to the earth, to the collective.

xx, alycia buenger

NOTE: This was originally published as an email to my list. If you prefer to receive articles like this right inside your inbox, sign up to hear from me weekly right here — www.alyciabuenger.com/sign-up

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freelance writer, cultural critic, deschooling parent. I explore radical re-imaginings for our collective, sacred experience on this earth.

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alycia buenger

alycia buenger

freelance writer, cultural critic, deschooling parent. I explore radical re-imaginings for our collective, sacred experience on this earth.

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