Magic: An Essay on the Power of Words

Flashcards are my nemesis. When I was learning to read, I often sat my tiny self onto the corner of an enormous beige couch in my living room. I would sink into the crevice between the cushion and the armrest as my mom flipped through another set of flashcards about sight words, vocabulary, and punctuation. I hated learning to read.

Now, the English language is my passion.

Beginning in 7th grade, I was an avid runner. I dedicated hours a day to running, I got up at 3:00 AM to run before my classes started, I spent free time planning training schedules, and I poured my heart and soul into the sport, becoming increasingly more skilled as my dedication paid off. When I got mono my junior year, and then chronic fatigue syndrome after that, running was taken away from me. Despite this incredible hardship, I found some solace in a new hobby: calligraphy.

In October of my Junior year, symptoms of depression began. It felt like holding my breath underwater. I convinced myself that I could just hang on, but in reality, I was running out of air. When I was in the depths of suicidal idealization, I turned to quotes. I looked up lists of reasons to stay alive, I found beautiful words, and I read other people’s stories. When crippling anxiety made it impossible for me to partake in social situations, I read. When I was overcome with indignation and rage, I wrote. And when I finally found the strength to reach out for help, I was blessed to have the entirety of the English language at my disposal to communicate the pain I was going through.

Words are magic. I will forever see them as such.

As the pronunciation of two-letter words slipped my mind and piles of flashcards seemed never-ending, I was preparing myself to find power in language. Perhaps I struggled so desperately on that beige couch because difficulty always prefaces beauty.

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