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  • Writer's pictureJustin Russell


For a moment, I thought I didn't have a voice, at least that's how I have been feeling in this world lately, especially here in the United States. From a young age, I learned to keep my opinions to myself if offensive to others, mind my manners, and treat others with the same respect that I would like to receive. I am no fool. I understand that there are certain evils within this world. Unfortunately, we humans have our ways of feeling self intitled that the latest trend on social media tunes out everyday society's issues.

This past year, and a good bit of 2021. We all find ourselves in the same chaotic mental state that we were in last year. I am not sure when you are reading this, but the previous week southeast Louisiana just experience another major hurricane on the same day as the 16th anniversary of hurricane Katrina. Now granted, I'm much older than I was sixteen years ago when Katrina hit the gulf south, ravishing all eastern Louisiana, Mississippi, and parts of Alabama. But, considering this time around, instead, you believe it or not, we are still during a global pandemic, and to have a natural disaster take place during the time that the COVID-19 variant Delta cases are already record-breaking throughout the south, you have thousands of people evacuating from one disaster into another.

For this purpose, sharing this with you is a prime example of why free writing is essential. Freewriting typically uses as a writing technique in a classroom. However, it should be exercised outside the school and rooted into our daily or weekly routine in the way of self-care and good mental health. The consistently ever-changing world we live in with the challenge of keeping up with the always-changing coronavirus policies, police brutality, and the racial injustice of George Floyd that fuels the black lives matter movement that has undoubtedly pulled the curtain back on the painful truth of American culture. To the millions of people that are trying to escape the terrors of the Taliban from their homeland of Afghanistan. There has not been a better time for anyone, especially the youth of this nation and others, to freely express their feelings during these unusual and challenging times that can burden one's mental health.

Keeping a personal writing space like a journal or diary is perfect when expressing topics that might seem sensitive or confidential instead of sharing with others. It is great to have an environment where you have leeway to reflect on what you wrote, giving yourself the space and time to become humble with an outcome of a situation at hand. It is always better to think before reacting, providing that other people's perspectives may differ from yours in certain conditions, and it is another way of letting go of things that may seem out of your control.

Each day I try my hardest to write in my journal. If I am unsure what to jot down, I put what I am feeling now or what's been going through my mind that day. It is better to take a moment to vent out what you're feeling and emotions instead of keeping them bottled up inside. As well as consider talking to someone, it doesn't always have to be a professional. Yet, you can trust a close friend or family member, someone you know that would take the time out of their day to listen to you.

In addition, in a society that has become consumed using technology, they choose to turn to social media to post and share their concerns and opinions to reach out to their peers. I, myself, am a strong advocate of freedom of speech and expression. Although in a time when everyone has a microphone (cellphone) and wants their voices to be heard. We all have a witness or fallen victim to a negative comment on others opinion on your own that may or may not have led to confrontation or worst, cyberbullying. I highly suggest not doing such a thing unless the people you connected with through social platforms are those same people you can reach out to personally when you are going through something.

All that was stated, the art of writing is the best way to express words when it is hard to say them aloud. If you, like me, find your mind overflowing in a blitz of imagination, allow those crazy ideas to flow on paper, or let your fingers dig into the keyboard of your laptop or computer, you never know where your stories might take you. No matter how wild, funny, or thrilling the story might be, the characters you create help take yourself and readers to a place beyond their wildest dreams. Freewriting is an open opportunity for the youth to freely explore their thoughts in a judgment-free zone, where the only comment, like, and share is the one they give themselves.

-J. Marcell Russell

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