How Writing Helped Me Make Sense of Difficult Events in My Life

How Writing Helped Me Make Sense of Difficult Events in My Life

October 14, 2022 | Miles Dale

Miles Dale headshot and the Youth Communication Logo

I was struggling through my algebra homework when my tutor, Megan, recommended that I apply for the Youth Communication Summer Writing Workshop. I wasn’t entirely sure if I wanted to apply. I was shy, not good at articulating myself in words, and definitely not confident in my writing. But with Mx. Megan’s support, I managed to pull together my application. I was shocked when I heard I was accepted. 

When the virtual writing workshop started during the COVID-19 pandemic, I met a bunch of wonderful people. As the youngest writer in the program, I was intimidated by the other students. I was intimidated by their prowess—how they seemed to easily articulate their thoughts on a given topic, when, for me, even saying my name out loud was hard. I sometimes claimed that my wi-fi wasn’t working so that I could keep my camera off, because I was secretly having a panic attack. 

I’ll admit that when I started writing my story, “Breaking Free of My Mom to be My Real Self,” I was hesitant to write about an issue I was working through at the time. It was difficult, as the experience I was writing about was still too fresh: I was trying to escape my abusive mom’s tight grasp over me. I could have chosen to write about another topic, something that was done and finished. 

But it was helpful to work through my conflict through writing. It was through this process that I determined that my mom didn’t have control over me anymore. I reminded myself that I no longer had to live on her terms, since I no longer lived in her house. By writing, I was able to convince myself of this fact. I gained peace of mind. 

I also considered that another person might benefit from hearing my story. There might be another person out there, just like me, who was still stuck under the influence of their mother or another controlling person, who would need to hear my story in order to try to break free. So with the help of my amazing editor, Virginia, I was able to write my memoir-style reflection. 

I honestly cannot believe that I am a finalist for a Media for a Just Society Award in the category of Youth Media. I was in shock for a day before I built up the courage to respond to the email, and here I am now, articulating the reasons why I wrote my story in the first place. Being acknowledged for my writing brings me a wave of confidence I didn’t have before. I’d like to thank Evident Change for this opportunity, as well as the various mentors and editors who have helped me to bring my story to life. 

Miles Dale was a finalist in the 2022 Media for a Just Society Awards.

This post is part of a blog series written by Media for a Just Society Award finalists and winners. Check back often to catch the latest.