By Svenja Krautwald
The ability to form letters into words into sentences which create a different sphere for the reader to explore and get lost in has always fascinated me. I have always admired authors who were able to pull me into their stories, leaving my body physically present while my mind was completely immersed in their creations. The term ‘to get lost in a book’ applied to me 100%. If a story was good and engaging, it had the power to make me forget everything around me. The recreation of that feeling is the main motivation for me to write for others because I as well want to be able to evoke emotion in other people. However, there is also another reason for me to write which enables me to reflect on different situations as well as my psychological condition.
When I was five, my older brother entered primary school and I was so fascinated with the things he learned that I started to teach myself how to read and write. That way, I was able to read stories independently as my mother did not need to read them to me anymore. The more I read, the higher my fascination with reading and words in general became. I devoured book after book, fighting alongside brave warriors or falling in love with prince charming. My mind was and still is very imaginative, I believe that is why books have such a strong impact on me. I am able to wholly enter a story and imagine everything in my head as a fully developed world. I love how simple words on a page of paper are able to elicit vivid images in my mind. One could say that I produce my own movies in my head whenever I read a book. Because reading was a form of such enjoyable entertainment for me, I often neglected the real world as the book stories were so much more interesting than my own life. As I got older, my own life became more demanding and time-consuming which made it hard to read that much. This was difficult for me to process as I generally belong to those people who like to think and operate in a romantically artistic inspired way, which makes it hard to follow logical or rational choices sometimes. That means I often do not see the obvious solution to a problem but like to imagine many other scenarios that could potentially happen if I were to be the protagonist of a book. The child that loved to escape into different realities was no more; it had to mature into a functioning adult with no room for extra vivid imagination. It got to a point where I even stopped reading altogether.
This was definitely no straight process and once I realized what I lost because I was so focused on succeeding in being an adult, I desperately tried to change back. I was left in a panic because I thought an essential part of my personality was lost. Here it is important to mention that I do not say that adults do not read, I am just saying that reading for me was connected to freedom and no responsibilities, a condition which changed once I grew up because I suddenly had to be very responsible. The fact that it is healthy to develop constantly and adapt to new situations was disregarded because I refused to let this part of my life go without fighting for it to stay for good. That means I had to establish a way of bringing back reading into my life without forcing it to feel unnatural. At this point, writing entered the picture. I have never kept a journal, but when I started writing about how I felt and what thoughts rotated inside my head, it became easier to define what I really wanted and also who I wanted to be. Writing really helped me to contemplate life and the changes I made. I also realized that the process of writing is able to improve my problem-solving skills as I developed a new feeling of self-reflection. As of right now, writing is a very selfish act to me and directly influences mostly myself. I use it as an outlet for thoughts and ideas as well as creative imagination.
When I took up writing it would have never imagined how the simple act of writing down thoughts and feelings is able to offer alternative perspectives to certain situations. I am very proud to say that through writing, I was able to healthily integrate reading into my life again. I still get lost in books and let my thoughts wander, but I am also able to manage adult life satisfactorily. I also realized that I need to read in order to balance and stabilize my mind, which was a relieving discovery as life in general definitely became a whole lot brighter, and I am grateful for that. The struggle of growing up became more bearable when I found this outlet for my thoughts I did not know I needed before. This made me realize that the human mind is way more complex than I will ever be able to fathom, but through writing I am able to take tiny steps into a direction of understanding and accepting my innate concerns.