overthinking everything, writing

Overthinking Everything: How Writing has Helped Me Become a More Open Version of Myself

Reflecting on writing with honesty and vulnerability

When I started writing my column Overthinking Everything a few months back, those who know me may have been surprised to see me sharing some of the more personal aspects of my life. For one, I’m not known to be particularly good at talking about myself, much less about my feelings. My introverted, overly self-aware nature often makes this difficult. Given this, publishing my stories has not been entirely without some reservation. But I’ve been surprised by how much easier it’s become. Not to mention how rewarding it’s been to connect with others who share similar experiences. 

Putting yourself out there, despite how doing so makes you vulnerable, can be an incredibly empowering experience. This is especially true for someone like me who tends to think before she speaks and obsesses over the words even after they’ve been said. Did I say the wrong thing? Should I have said something else? This kind of social anxiety has often kept me quiet, rationalizing that it is better to just say nothing at all.

But earlier this year, I started to feel restless in this silence. Maybe it was because of the pandemic and all the chaos happening in the world. Maybe it was that I finally began taking medication for my depression and anxiety, and for the first time in a while, felt capable of writing clearly again. What really made a difference though, I remember, was realizing that my desire to contribute to the conversation around topics I care about was greater than my fear of what others would think. I decided that I was done being quiet and pushing my opinions, and thereby my identity, to the side. So I turned to the one thing I knew would help me to sort out all my emotions and ideas – writing.  

Since starting this column roughly six months ago, I’ve slowly gained a new sense of freedom. The thoughts in my head are no longer only things that go into notebooks no one else ever sees. They have gained structure and purpose in a way that makes them feel more tangible. For this reason, writing has also proven to be therapeutic in many ways. It is not only an outlet for expression but a way to process my emotions. I find that new realizations often arise as I write, which influence not only the story I’m telling, but how I think about the challenges, experiences and relationships in my life.

One of the most rewarding parts of publishing my column has no doubt been witnessing how others have reacted to my work. It’s connected me to people around the world that I otherwise would never have met. It’s set the stage for conversations where I previously didn’t have words ready to say. 

What’s more is that it has made me more open in my relationships with others. It’s enabled deeper connection with those closest to me and has even brought some back into my life that I haven’t spoken to in a while. In fact, I think the more I’ve written, the more I’ve wanted to expose my vulnerabilities that so many of us share. And by doing so in my writing, I’ve become more comfortable showing my true self to those in my life. 

In recent months especially, I’ve found myself more talkative and honest in ways that I previously haven’t been. I’m more eager to jump into a conversation. I’m more honest about my opinions than I was before. And most notably, I’m less afraid of how I come off to others although still self-aware enough to notice these changes in myself and wonder how I am now perceived. Writing is not the only reason I feel like I’ve begun to fully embrace my personality. There are several factors contributing to this for sure. But publishing my work has no doubt given me something I felt was missing before.

I’m looking forward to continuing to write and share my work. There are many stories I have yet to write that have been building in my mind for a while.With that, I’ve decided to take a brief hiatus from my column Overthinking Everything to work on some other writing projects. You (hopefully) will see some other writing from me before my next column piece comes out in September. So don’t go anywhere. And thank you to those who have been reading and supporting me so far. I’m so happy to be going on this journey with you.

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