By Sierra Aceto

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been a writer. In some way, shape or form, I’ve felt inclined to write things down, to release my thoughts through writing and to use writing as a creative outlet.

Nine-year-old me was desperate to be a musical artist, so as early as fourth grade I was writing in stanzas instead of sentences. But while my lofty career-celebrity dreams faded away, my writing didn’t waiver.

I fell in love with my writing and English classes during school, I was never really bothered by the poetry units that bored nearly everyone else, and I almost always had a diary or journal that I regularly used to vent and create.

I still have most of these journals, and when I look back through them, I’m reminded just how much writing has helped me get through. And most of it is poetry. Whenever I felt alone, frustrated, ecstatic, contemplative or any other emotion, I was able to put pen to paper and let. That. Shit. Out.

In fact, poetry has been used as a therapy method to alleviate feelings of depression, grief and perfectionism, as well as to improve self-esteem and one’s sense of identity. Creating metaphors and images can help put words to underlying emotions that may be hard to express otherwise.

Much like music, poetry’s rhythmic nature can have a calming effect and help you express nonverbal thoughts or feelings.

While writing lets me release any tension or pent-up thoughts, it also inspires my creative process — even if I never let anyone else read the random shit I write. When I write, I’m free to mess around with style, form, word choice and, hell, sometimes I just doodle lines across the page until I can’t even read it anymore. That’s part of the freedom and stress relief that my writing brings me.  

It’s quite a relieving and soothing process to take the time to be creative in any way, especially with all the impending stress that school or work or what-have-you can impose. There’s not always someone to rant to or a way to release the negative energies that build up with excessive stress.

For me, writing is the creative process that is my therapy — at least when I’m not in actual therapy, that is.

And if poetry still doesn’t appeal to your fancy, any creative process will do. Taking up a creative practice or hobby and making time for it has been shown to help one work through stress or trauma.

Even if my future dream life as a musician doesn’t work out, at least I’ll have my writing to vent out all my disappointment.