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I wrote this for me. I wrote this for you.

I wrote this five times.
It's been sitting on my heart, just below my collar bone and just to the left of my sternum
I wrote this for me.
It's selfish but true. Please understand, it's almost always for me.
I wrote this because I had to. It's the only way I know to make sense of my world, to bring the chaos into order, to make the oceans of all that I feel break cleanly on the shore.
I wrote this for me, because there's this certain itch I must scratch, this particular niggle. It's under my skin and waits impatiently in my fingertips begging me all day and night to be written.
I wrote this to ease that feeling.
I wrote this for me.

I wrote this to release this thing, this intangible, magic, restless thing.
It goes by many names; the creative spirit, the gift, the voice, the urge. I imagine it's the same beautiful thing that makes artists pick up their pencils, or a pianist return to the keys. It's the thing inside that begs to be let out, to find itself embodied in something external to the body. It demands to be made. Or played or danced or spoken out loud. It demands to be written. It is perhaps the essence of a person that desires to be known.
And so I wrote this.

I wrote this for me,
I wrote this for you.

I wrote this because I watched the curious wonder cross your face when I explained to you that, no, writing wasn't always enjoyable for me.
Because it isn't.
I wrote this and it was hard.
I sat and stared at my keyboard for longer than I care to admit, made countless cups of procrastination tea, bit my nails when I said I wouldn't. I tried to write this so many times I lost count.
I wrote this over and over. I wrote this and erased it and scribbled over it and wrote it again.
I wrote this and hated it, walked away from it.
I wrote this and I loved it for a half second. Then went back to hating it.
I wrote this with borrowed words and a broken pencil and none of it felt good enough.

I wrote this and sat with it as self-doubt steamrolled through my room, scattering all the good words I had so carefully tried to arrange. I held this piece of writing tightly and listened to fear speak.
Fear said:
You are not a good writer, you do not have a special ability, you are not as good as you think you are, you will never write anything of importance, who do you think will waste their time reading this, it won't be as good as the last one, you do not have anything special to say or a new way of saying it, you do not have a good story, you do not have a voice.

I wrote this because fear is a liar.
I wrote this in spite of the fear, in the face of self-doubt and as an act of defiance to both of them.
I wrote this to be braver than I feel.

I wrote this because I know there will be a day when I might need to read it back.
And so I wrote this to remember.
To commit to memory how it feels to be here, now. How it feels to write, how it feels to feel, how far I've come, how much I am learning.
I wrote this for me.

But I also wrote this for you.
I wrote this for my grandfather, who tells me I am an old soul with a talent for turning a phrase.
I wrote this after he told me that with this talent comes a responsibility to bring life and understanding and to enrich the lives of others.
I wrote this because I'm trying really hard to honour this talent and to graciously accept the weight of that responsibility; to step into it and not shy away from it.

I wrote this for you;
For the first boy I ever loved
Who has shards of broken promises and disappointments buried in the soft folds of his heart
I write because he doesn't realise how much those pieces glimmer like glass when the light gets in.

I wrote this for the first boy who broke my heart
and the one after that.
For the friends who I have farewelled and the imagined futures I have given up and grieved.
I wrote this because sometimes we are made better in the breaking.

I wrote this for my friend with the fiery eyes
who is quick to see her flaws for she knows them by name
and cannot see the beauty of her dance for her faltering steps.

I wrote this for the welling in your eyes when you desribed the way you knew what you wanted to say but couldn’t.
When you needed the words to be loud and they were lost in your throat.

I wrote this for the things we needed to say but couldn’t.
The times we should have spoke but stayed silent.

I wrote this for you.
For friends who were once strangers but who have read these words and
come closer
we are made one in words, you and I.

I wrote this for my young cousins
vulnerable in their lipgloss smiles and bodies they don't fully know yet.
I wrote this because I still remember that tumultuous tense time
and because I desperately want them to understand their worth,
to understand that being strong sometimes looks like being honest
and it’s been the worthiest pursuit I have known.

I wrote this for the things we wished for and the years we waited and the times we were meant to win but didn’t.
I wrote this for the One.

I wrote this for
the me I was last month
when the words wouldn't write themselves no matter how hard I tried.
I wrote this for the me I was yesterday
sleepless and restless and raw
For the version of me I was three years ago and
Three days ago.
For the me I was
Three minutes ago.

I wrote this for me
I wrote this for you.

I wrote this for my mother who religiously checks this space once a day and who reminded me that I cannot run from myself (as much as I try).
I wrote this for my sister who will read it first, patiently checking the grammar and spelling because I asked her to and for
my father who is the kindest man I have known.
I wrote this for my brother, even though he might never read it.

I wrote this late at night when the wind made my room shake.
I wrote this on the bus, I wrote this in the bathroom
I wrote this between bed sheets and bad youtube videos
I wrote this alone in a crowded room.

I wrote this through the noise.
I wrote this for you.

I wrote this to shorten the distance between you and I
We are here in the middle of ourselves
Whether we have the words to say so or not.
I wrote this for you.

But please understand that first and foremost I wrote this for me.
And that I wrote this and continue to write in an attempt to get down to the core of me
or write my way to the very edge of me, to see what it looks like to get there.
I write in an attempt to understand the hidden and secret parts of me.
To expand and to distill.
I write this to peel back the layers. I write until I am raw.
I write because I don't really know myself without writing.
I write until I run out of reasons
and still I keep writing.
I write for hope, I write for love
I write for you.

and here it is.
This thing I have written.
I wrote it mostly for me but I published it for you.
And just like that
it is done.
The writing and the wrestle. The grieving and the gift.
The act of pinning words into place one by one
heart still pounding on the page.

I wrote this for me
I wrote this for you.

Extra small Look at you, you made it to the end, thanks so much for reading! There are months that are harder to write than others and there are people who lovingly push me to keep writing when the words don't seem to want to come. I owe special thanks to those smallest souls; Jenny, Jehan, Scarlett and Shaz to name a few.
This piece was influenced in part by this beautiful piece on fear and Van Gogh that my friend Amos send to me and is well worth reading. 


  1. True writers are alchemists - turning base metals into gold. You're a real, true writer Hannah and I love to read the magic you produce xxx

    1. Oh I love that Elizabeth, thank you so much x

  2. hey fellow writer, thanks for writing this one, I may have cried a lot while reading. I feel it all. you did damn good. xoxo

  3. This drew me out of my day and for a moment I was in a different world reading this. This was beautiful Henson, just like you :)