What do chocolate, exercise, and writing have in common? My anti-drug, drug.



When did I fall in love with writing?

My relationship with writing is not one of love, but obligation. Reading I love. Reading never lets me down. Reading is always there to comfort me. Writing is another situation entirely.

I write because I must.

I write because I’m still chasing the high of the first time. Like any addict, the first time you feel that rush of satisfaction, you have no idea how you’ve just changed your life forever. Pandora’s box is opened, and there’s no turning back. I wrote my fist poem at age six. It was about a bat who loved to fly. I was in deep.

Poetry was my gateway drug. I wrote poems because a line would come to me in the shower or while climbing trees, and I just had to make it fit into something, to exist in some real, complete way. So at night (these risky activities always happen under cover of darkness, right?) I would sit in my bed and write poems in my Bugs Bunny journal.

Before beginning I was excited and tense with anticipation. The more ink that absorbed into the veins of paper, the faster my heart would beat. My damp palms softened the pages and my crooked letters would fatten and blur. I read each stanza over as I added, reliving the catharsis of my own expulsion. When I felt satisfied that the work was complete, my cheeks were flushed with the adrenaline of my racing heart. Sometimes I would be too excited to sleep and, with shaking hands, go downstairs to show my mom what I wrote.

As I got older, I moved on from poetry to short stories, plays, and yes, even essays for school. The adrenaline rush continued to feed and perpetuate my addiction until I knew there would be no other way for me; I would always be chasing and waiting for that next hit. The feeling is absolutely exhilarating, even more so after struggling to compose. The satisfaction of feeling proud, inspired, and even surprised by my own work releases endorphins to create this natural high. Even as I write this blog post my palms are sweating and slightly shaky when I raise them off my keyboard, and my heart beats hard against my shirt.

So like chocolate and exercise, writing gives me an endorphin boost. Even when it’s hard, even when I think I cannot, even when I don’t know what to write, the physical memory of success keeps me writing. I don’t think it’s optional for me anymore. But society should thank me because…

Endorphins make you happy


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