mostly edited, structured pieces of writing (in the process of migrating from Medium)

Why I write (2013)

what it means to write myself into life

I could tell you that I write because writing is my first love, that a carefully selected string of words is the best way to represent the imagery of thoughts in our minds, that the mere act of writing makes my soul sing.

I could also tell you that I write because it is important for any individual to be heard, that writing is one of the most effective ways to establish a voice, that if we don’t write, nobody would know what we stand for.

But these are not the reasons why I write.

I write, in order to exist.

Writing is my primary mode of communication. It is the only way I can attempt to understand myself, much less trying to make others understand me. The words which flow out of my hands and onto the screen, make some sense of the abstract chaos in my mind. They circumvent the disconnect I seem to have between my brain and my vocal cords.

It allows me the space to sculpt the form of my thoughts and my ideas, for the order of words matter in the chosen structure of my sentences. If you take the time to understand me, you deserve to have the best representation of my thoughts, and there can be no better way except through my writing.

Amongst the crowd, I stand at the edges. If you happen to glance upon me, I am only but a small visual representation of a human being. My body language is uncertain, but that uncertainty stems from the discomfort of verbally communicating with strangers, not from the insecurity of who I am as a person.

Without pouring through the words I write, you wouldn’t know the strength of my personal values, my ongoing impassioned plea for everybody to embrace technology and leverage it for what it is truly capable of, and the story of my life where I slowly learn what it means to love humanity.

If you didn’t know me, would I truly exist?

I have survived my existential crisis because moments of serendipity had brought me stories of people’s brave, multi-dimensional existences, either through their own writing, or someone’s (typically journalistic) desire to share a story.

In a world where we spend the precious currency of words on whether iPhones are bad for our kids and debating whether other people are worth their value in society, I am strengthened and moved by the stories of…

…the woman who wrote about her childhood sexual abuse and yet had risen above her pain to be a thriving entrepreneur,

…the 15 year old girl who copes with chronic depression and yet hangs on by sharing her beautiful poetry,

the man who survived the holocaust and found greater meaning in his life,

…the man who lost his entire family to war, yet he embodied the spirit of the human existence by living vivaciously for the rest of his life:

“How could he not feel bitterness, how could he be so positive, when he had been forced to endure such horror?” source

I could go on about the countless times I have found myself hanging by a thread, yet I was given a tiny glimmer of hope, that a light at the end of the tunnel exists. Only because there were the ones before me who have sought to pave the way first, leaving behind a trail by sharing their stories — I am not alone in walking that less trodden path.

I am able to exist, because these people exist. Through their vulnerable but courageous writing, I find out there are people out there who overcome their very trying circumstances with exceptional strength. These stories make me rethink my perception of humanity, they challenge my own purpose in this world and they make me aspire to carry a heavier weight for the ones who are unable to do so.

I carry a debt, out of my own volition, towards the ones who have written their hearts out. I understand I am consistently being sustained by their generosity to share their truth. I am choosing to pay it forward by trying to write my heart out, in hope that more people out there would one day take the step not only to write their stories, but have the courage to define the storyline of their lives as well.

I write, for the ones who cannot write. I write to consciously expose my flaws, vulnerabilities and the skeletons in my very open closet. This is how I fully honor my own existence by giving light to my wounds and scars. That perhaps it is possible to demonstrate that once we bring everything out in the open centered by love and authenticity, we bestow death upon our experiences, yet give new life to them.

Once written, our stories no longer become a source of persistent haunting from the recesses of our memories, they transform into wells of strength. What else could we not survive?

I put my words out there, in hope that the serendipitous quality of the internet can carry them towards you, in order to find some of you, and to find myself. By having the courage to light my own path with my writing, I am lighting the way for the others before and after me. I have celebrated the joys and mourned the pain for so many of you, whose stories I follow on the internet, participating in this beautiful co-existence where we co-create a reality that amplifies the meaning of being human.


The path to pursuing our dreams, whether is it trying to build a startup or being an independent creator, is always fraught with challenges, pain and tears. As a society and a community, we tend to glorify the successes without providing enough empathy for our failures and weaknesses.

The primary reason behind why I write, is because among the ‘how to design and build’ posts, we also need stories of vulnerability and authenticity, to remind us that while building a product, we are really building ourselves too. I am writing to be the change that I want, to attempt to be an example of what it truly means to be human, that I can be equally proud to share my honest failures and successes, pain and joy. I hope more of us will do the same, to remind ourselves that we as human beings, can be amazingly resilient and are capable of tremendous transformation.

Originally published on Medium.

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representation matters
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One thought on “Why I write (2013)”

  1. I love this post Winnie, I generally like all your posts. This post and “on writing to exist, and website graveyards” are ones that have really really stuck with me. I keep a journal because I have memory problems and its something that helps but I also want to publish my journal somehow and I have a blog that’s on hiatus currently because of life events, but to get to the point you have inspired me to really try and have the objective to publish my journals periodically or something one day. “I could go on about the countless times I have found myself hanging by a thread, yet I was given a tiny glimmer of hope, that a light at the end of the tunnel exists. Only because there were the ones before me who have sought to pave the way first, leaving behind a trail by sharing their stories — I am not alone in walking that less trodden path.” is one paragraph you wrote here that is one of the things that really inspired this want to publish my journals and is a motivator to try and maintain my blog. Sorry if this comment doesn’t make any sense but basically thank you for your posts!

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