Why I Write About Things That Make You Uncomfortable


I’ve published a lot of things on the internet. Like, a lot. On Thought Catalog alone I have 71 pages of articles, 10 articles on each page. That’s a lot of articles. A lot of words. A lot of writing.

What do I write about? I write about viral news, which is broadly defined as anything “current eventsy” that people want to read. That’s probably about 60% of my articles. Another 20% is probably media comps, collections of funny images and pictures from across the internet that make people laugh. The other 20% is probably “personal content.”

Thought Catalog is unique in that so much of our content is farmed not from the world around us, but from our own lives as writers.

The power in writing comes from relatability between the reader and the writer. It comes from when you read one of my experiences, and can identify with it. On particularly magical moments, reading a piece of writing might actually make you feel better, because you realize that someone is struggling with the same things you are. For us writers, it is those rare magical moments that drive us to write.

That’s also why, when writing, we often focus on the more challenging memories and experiences. It isn’t necessarily because we are living terrible lives, but because we want our work to have meaning. We want our work to make a difference.

In all honestly, my life probably resembles a normal curve. 95% of the time I exist between two standard deviations of happiness. That is to say, I am centered around a commonality of contentment, deviating slightly from “kinda happy” to “kinda sad.”

But, of course, there are times when I am extremely happy or extremely sad — between the 2nd and 3rd deviations on either end. 2.5% of the time I am ecstatic, and 2.5% I am really bummed. I write about that -2.5% not because it is the most important or prominent, but because I think it does the most good.

I write stories that make people who know me feel uncomfortable. I write about being sad, about feeling inadequate, about feeling overpowering loneliness. I write about my worst fears, my lowest moments, and my insecurities. These things are real, and they are important, but they aren’t the only things I experience.

That doesn’t make these stories untrue, it just makes them incomplete. My boss has a Walt Whitman line she invokes often in her work, and it seems particularly apt here:

I am not one idea, I am not one emotion. These things are always in transit, because we, as people, are always in transit.

But this is such a foreign concept in an age of social media. We always put this sugar-coated face out for the world to see. We only post the most perfectly filtered pictures. We only share the happiest news. We create ourselves into a series of caricatures that we present to the world. When someone is raw, and honest, and real, there must be Something Very Very Wrong — because that’s not how we act. But I’m here to break rules.

I don’t always feel hot, I am not always in control, I am not always happy. That does not make me ugly, crazy, or depressed. It just makes me human.

I’m not sure. I think while we have done a great job destigmatizing seeking mental health services, we haven’t destigmatized having emotions. Rather, we are all looking for the perfectly filtered life to show everyone that are in control.

Here, in this little space, it’s okay to feel things. It’s okay to just be. It’s okay to use writing as outlet and just spew. And if you ever need to talk, please know I am always here for you.