How Writing Saved Me

"One must have chaos in oneself in order to give birth to a dancing star.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“One must have chaos in oneself in order to give birth to a dancing star.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Dance, pain, words, this is a story about a beautiful soul that found herself in writing. Please welcome the  first guest blogger on Creative-Guru to share their soul searching story, the first  of many I do hope. Without further ado, here is Ashely from Chaos and Words 

Something you need to know about me is that I have always had a love for all things wordsy. The youngest I remember writing a story was when I was in second grade. I still have said story, miraculously, and it warms my heart to see where it all began, so to speak.

Another thing to know about me is that I grew up in a dancer household. My mother was a ballroom dancer and had also been brought up dancing. Understandably, I began a similar path at the age of 3. I figured I’d grow up to be a big-time choreographer, creating dance numbers for the stars (this was also when NSYNC and Britney Spears were all the rage). I continued both dancing and writing through high school, and I was on the dance team as well as our school’s literary magazine. Writing at that time was something I very much enjoyed, but I never thought I was good enough to make something more out of it, nor did I think I could ever make it into something more than a hobby. With college looming in the foreground, my focus remained on dance. However, things were not so black and white, as my path took an abrupt turn.

By the end of my freshman year, every dance practice left me icing my legs, unable to sleep at night because of a throbbing pain that would sometimes range my entire leg. Other times, my ankles would swell and my hips would ache. Uncertain to what could be causing this, I went to the first of a long range of doctors, who proclaimed it was probably mere growing pains and to take anti-inflammatory medication. This helped short-term at first, but I quit dance because the pain both during and after practice became too much to deal with. Long story short, I was diagnosed in college with Degenerative Disc Disease and herniated discs that had bulged into my sciatic nerve, resulting in chronic pain. I was barely into my twenties, and I couldn’t walk some days without the aid of a cane. Before long, I had two spinal steroid injections and a nerve block with absolutely no results.

I was an English major in college by this point, as I had returned to my first love of words, the only other thing I’d ever known. I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do with the degree, except that I knew I’d be happy so long as I was dealing with words.

I ultimately graduated college, unsure of what my next move would be, and still in pain. I essentially gave up on finding relief, and upon searching for jobs even remotely related to my degree, I was coming up with nothing. For over a year, I ended up working retail to pay the bills, and this sucked the life out of me. I no longer had any motivation, and I was no longer reading or writing. I was eventually referred to a neurosurgeon who recommended surgery immediately. He warned me my recovery would probably be difficult as eight plus years had passed since my first symptoms appeared. He found I had nerve damage particularly in my right leg, which had gone numb from my knee through my foot. He also warned me that I would probably never be 100% pain-free, but that my surgery would at least give the nerves room to heal.

I was out of work for three months and on short-term disability after my surgery. I’m currently in pain management and still essentially recovering with the understanding that this is part of my life. It’s not easy as I still have chronic pain, and I have to be careful with my activities. However, my post-op recovery was essential in getting me to where I am now. With time on my hands, I became increasingly restless. I turned to reading my books again. I was journaling almost daily. I also had a blog at the time that I used for my general ramblings, but it was a start. I started to feel like myself again, outside of what I grown accustomed to – someone who was always tired, moody, in pain, and unmotivated.

Writing was my passion, and recovery made this an actualization. Creating art became a struggle during this time period because I blocked my own path. Allowing me to lose motivation, to toss my hopes of writing aside, produced unhappiness and doubt in my abilities. During recovery, I began writing for myself again, no longer trying to impress others with what I thought they’d want to read. I wrote because I needed to, not for anyone else. It became easier and natural once more. I suddenly had direction in where I wanted to take my career. I knew I wanted to be an editor and a writer, and I was motivated to make it happen at long last.

I quit my retail job, moved on, and now have editorial accomplishments under my belt. I’m writing almost daily if I can manage it, and I’ve become a happier soul because of it all. Creativity has always been a part of my life in one way or another, and with hindsight, I realize how letting go of this creativity also caused me to lose heart. It is my driving force. Denying myself of what came the easiest to me was also denying me of my true self. Writing is my lifeblood and always has been.

Visit Ashley at Chaos and Words for more prose, creations, and lively events of a twenty-something writer

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Categories: Art, Blogging, How I found myself, Life


My name is Raimy, I’m a soul-searching writer and amateur photographer. Creative-guru is a by-product of a deep creative passion for personal and spiritual growth.

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11 Comments on “How Writing Saved Me”

  1. April 26, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

    Reblogged this on Chaos and Words and commented:
    Raimy from Creative-Guru was gracious enough to have me as a guest on her blog today! I’m discussing how writing has helped me remember my true self during difficult times. I hope you’ll wander over and let me know what you think!

  2. April 26, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    This was such an amazing story!

    • April 28, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed my piece, and I appreciate your comment!

  3. April 26, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    Wow, Ashley. Wow. You went through so much, and your continuing perseverance is awe-inspiring. Your story makes me think of Manette Ansay, author of a number of novels, including an Oprah Book Club Pick. She was my teacher at a writing conference and told us her background story (which she also wrote a memoir about called “Limbo”): she had a disorder that took away her ability to walk at age 19 and so she began writing. Long story short, when Oprah picked her book, it ended up bringing her so much money that she was able to afford alternative treatments and through those, she began walking again. Writing saved her.

    • April 28, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

      Thank you, as always, for your kind words, Rebecca. I will have to check out her writing. I’ve been looking to read more memoirs and non-fiction pieces, so this sounds like the perfect start. Writing can play such a wonderful role in manifesting strength in a person, which makes me love the craft even more.

  4. April 27, 2013 at 2:52 am #

    Brilliant and honest, your account of realisation of and overcoming your problems is inspiring.
    I understand the pain, I also understand that hunger to write. It took me most of my life and a serious accident to find myself. Well done you have found yourself in your twenties. Life is never easy with many twists and turns, hold on to your writing and your dreams and you will fly. Xxxx

    • April 28, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

      I’m sorry to hear about your accident, but I’m glad you came out on the other side of it. The hunger to write can act as inspiration in and of itself. It’s important to reflect and find whatever it is that moves you and to hold onto that inspiration. Thank you for sharing your point of view and offering words of wisdom. I appreciate that a great deal!

      • April 28, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

        I didn’t say much really but I would say you seem to know where you are headed in life.

  5. April 27, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

    Sometimes what we truly miss in the moment is the moment our energy says go this way… I know that pain my friend… I was in retail 26 years before it crashed me into oblivion I have such the relief from my pain.. I am truly now the man of steel a titanium cage in me that not only gave me my ability to walk I am a 15 year old boy again Lois says! 🙂 Your words have captured many and spoke to many in a depth that you were always meant to do… I would say you have the words that make you dance… I am not sure if that touched you as it should… but when you flow as you do telling the story the words dance in such a way that the reader experiences the choices you make or made. We love you for this.. and love you for being here. You have always had this gift to give the world and we are especially happy to get it from you. We believe in you! 😉 always a follower! Clark

    • April 28, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

      Thank you so much for your words of inspiration! They mean a lot, and I do believe this is what I was always meant to do. Saying my words make me dance is both accurate and moving, so thank you for that as well! To say you believe in me is a touching thing, and I appreciate it greatly. I’m so glad you have relief from your pain. You have much to offer, as we all do – we must listen to what our energy tells us, as you pointed out. Thank you again for sharing your words!

      • April 28, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

        Awe thank you as well my friend.. I am no more a relief of pain as to endure pain does as it should.. Remind us we are alive and we are more inside of the love that we can place in the pain. 🙂

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