Kelsey Writes
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Creative Writing Journal Life

Alive

I have been writing I am alive in various places at various times throughout my life. It is a phrase that on the surface seems so simple. A statement. A confirmation of something I have taken for granted every day of my life. But when you pull back its layers and really examine it, there is a lot more to it. The more I think about it, the more alive becomes one of those Big Words that we never really define like Love, one of those Big Words we can only hover around the edges of.

It’s not a phrase that you write accidentally. Those three words are strung together with purpose. A declaration. I think that’s why it’s a phrase I keep coming back to. I have written it in notebooks, on windows, on napkins, in messages, in poems, in sand, on skin. Every time I write it, it comes with a new meaning and a greater depth from new experiences.

I AM ALIVE written in childish uppercase on yellow construction paper in purple crayon like the bold statement it was. I was young and announcing my presence to the world, similar to saying I AM HERE. How exciting to be alive & bold & shining.

I am alive, a soft marvel of discovery scratched in blue ink in a textbook flipped open to diagrams of the skeletal system.  An exploration of my aliveness, an exploration of all the pieces that make up who I am. An exploration of all the systems working to keep me alive.

I am Alive written like a promise, like a prayer on the inside of my wrist in a dark bedroom. The relief in such a truth. The hope in moving forward. The weight of being alive beating like a drum inside me.

Three words that hold a lot of meaning to me. I come back to the word alive over and over, contemplating its definition & my own aliveness. Am I alive enough? What does that mean? How do I be more alive in the way I go through life? Alive as here & now; alive as breathing, moving, dancing; alive as anticipation; alive as more things to come.

I come back to it now, I Am Alive, and it feels different yet again. This time, full; this time, beaming. I’m writing it here in this journal entry but it sits in my chest, expanding and collapsing on itself with my lungs as I breathe. As I move. As I live. I Am Alive, each word holding its weight, each word of equal importance. I Am Alive, I am saying and this is the happiest I think I’ve ever been.

Journal

Retreating to the Creative

Retreat

To move back. To withdraw. To change one’s decisions or plans. To enter a quiet or secluded place.

I spent this past weekend at a creative retreat. I’ll admit to being a little more intimidated by it than I needed to be. Essentially, it meant that I booked myself into a cozy cottage for the weekend and gave myself an excuse to spend all my time working on creative projects.

I’ve never attended a retreat of any kind before so I didn’t know what to expect or what progress I would come out of this weekend with. I thought I might have some time to refocus in on the poetry I’ve been neglecting for awhile now and that did happen. But as it turns out, this weekend was more about working on the most important creative project in my life: me.

I have a hard time defining exactly who I am. I’m the person that freezes when asked to tell a little bit about themselves or even worse… share a fun fact. In those moments, there is nothing interesting, let alone “fun” about me. It’s gotten a lot easier over the past few years as I have narrowed down my interests, have become more grounded and accepting of my body and have stopped letting outside opinions matter so much. Exploring personality theory has also been an important step in gathering the language to define who I am and what my values are.

Looking back, I like the term retreat and how many ways it fits this context so well. To withdraw physically to a quiet place undisturbed allows you to take another step back. To withdraw and confront the soul. Confront the mind. Confront the heart. When your focus is undivided, there’s nothing to hide behind, no pressing matter that pulls your attention away. The truth has no shield and nowhere left to run.

I’ll be honest with you: I have a lot of ugly truths. A lot of flaws that I don’t particularly care for but they’re mine and a part of who I am. I have a lot of beautiful truths in me too, many of which the world hasn’t seen bloom yet. Strengths that I often underestimate.

One truth though is this: it all comes back to is writing. The thing that started it all and will continue to keep presenting itself over and over as if to say, pay attention, this is important. That is why I’m writing this. This is me accepting that writing is my truth that I don’t want to hide from anymore and hoping that maybe it’ll help me discover new ones along the way.