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Prior to January 23rd of this year, the last piece I had written outside of work emails (most of which were designed solely to impress my superiors) was back in 2010's Writing & Composition class, where I received a C letter grade.

Had I been the professor, I would’ve given myself an F.

The grammar was adequate enough. But I wrote with zero heart, zero passion and zero intent beyond project completion.

I couldn’t tell you exactly what coerced me to sit down at the computer earlier this year, but one thing is for certain: my previous means of self-expression weren’t getting the job done.

I obviously had a lot to say — a lot to own up to, rather. And spoken word wasn’t going over as well as I’d hoped. Raw, face-to-face relating that pushed me marginally beyond my baseline emotions wasn’t something I was handling with very much grace.

Pragmatically speaking, yes, I was making strides in the areas of in-person conversation and being more authentic. Hell, I even managed to muster up respectful eye contact for longer than a split-second — instead of my vision functioning like a pinball machine, while I panicked about what to say next.

But when you’re trying to be authentic, you’re not really being authentic.

So much like the phone, hiding behind a communication device seemed like a much safer and more direct path towards relinquishing my compensatory pride.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been self-conscious, self-deprecating and anything but sure of myself.

With this reality at the source of my writing, I’ve been able to enter a state of total empowerment — not in spite of, but because of myself.

Empowerment doesn’t necessarily breed success, however.

I’ve received plenty of criticism (mostly from close friends) since I began writing on Medium. Much of which can be characterized as the following:

  • “What are you trying to do here?”
  • “Why can’t you just stick to what you’re good at?”
  • “You need a serious background in writing to effectively reach a wide audience.”
  • “You haven’t been through enough to connect with anyone.”

All of the above are valid questions and concerns.

Following an inquisition of this nature, the “me” of old would jump right into defending himself and effectively bastardize the purity I aimed to create with my words in the first place.

No, I’m not blind to reality of criticism or ignorant to the value of producing results.

However, there’s nothing to defend. There’s only something to stand for.

For; not in defense of.

I won’t defend. I will only honor.

Because what we resist, persists.

You cannot fight war with anti-war. You fight war with peace.

Purpose over resistance.

And that purpose is…hope.

Hope that a few words may pierce the veil of unsuspecting readers, resulting in their freedom to be and act as they want — not as they have to.

Hope that I may connect with someone completely hung up on expectations, oblivious to all wonder available to them on a daily basis.

Hope that the protective shell of negativity may be cracked open to reveal the darkest crevices of the soul, frightened beyond cognition for what life and thereafter may bring.

Hope that someone trembling in pain may feel the symbolic hand of support placed upon their shoulder, quietly easing them into stillness.

Hope that the hopeless may acquire what they’re lacking.

Hope that as a new day dawns, people are listened to as possibilities; not through the filters of judgment, labels, or instances of the past.

Hope that we can be happy with what we have, while we pursue what we want.

Hope that I can put a measurable difference between the man I am today and the man I was yesterday, making just enough progress to maintain my run-of-the-mill contentment.

Hope for you.

Hope for me.

Hope for hope.

That’s why I write.

And I love you for reading — for pushing the cause forward.

What are you hopeful for?