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by shina

I love the English language. I think I always have, since the moment the words first wrapped around my tongue. I grew up with it, and I learned to love it, and I doubt I ever will stop. As a young girl, I discovered Enid Blyton, who cultivated my love for the stained yellow pages of old books from years passed. Then, as I got older, Jodi Picoult taught me the value of life, and what it meant to feel with all your heart.

As with almost every child, there were times in my life when I felt lost and alone. In my lowest moments, books were an escape, and I realised the power that words had over me. I was happy, and sad, and angry and tortured and confused and elated all at once, when my real life was bleached of colour.

Words gave me a sense of comfort when I didn’t know who I was. At an age of discovery and growth, they helped me find myself. Language has, inevitably, become a part of my identity, without which I cannot fully define myself. Who am I, after all, if not for the feeling of words rolling off my lips, if not for the ink that I spill across the pages? How could I ever be the best version of myself without language?

Maybe I’ve always loved writing because I have something to say. The pieces I write may never be published or read by anyone other than myself, but still, my voice screams through the ink. My mind is a mess, with a hundred thoughts all vying to be heard, and a piece of paper and a pen is how I figure them all out. I am all heart and fire, and writing lets my flame singe the pages, the keyboard, calming the wildfire raging in me.

Above all, I write because I need space. We are so used to putting our lives online, to living in a digital world, that it is almost impossible to find some space where we are truly alone. For me, space has always been writing. Space has always been the words that absorbed me, my emotions, all my doubts and fears inked across the page giving them legitimacy, and me closure. Space has always been the words others wrote, page after page and chapter after chapter of a story that wasn’t mine but felt like it for just a little while. Space is knowing that the world has no part to play in the words in my life – they were all mine, not for anyone else’s tainted hand.

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