Writing is a steadying force. Your thoughts can’t carry you away, grow so big they paralyze you or get lost and tangled if you write them down for safekeeping. Words connect like stars in constellations to create combinations wrought with beauty, clarity and wonder.

Writing is therapeutic for me — a balm for the burnout, a release of the burden, a constant in the chaos. The mounting thoughts on my mind like bated breath until transformed to exhale as they find permanence on the page. A slow relief of pressure. We all have things which we pursue that make us wild but also tame us. For me, writing is one of those things.

This is my farewell column. I’m grateful for both the conversation and criticism that came with this platform. Writing connects us because it’s vulnerable and invites others into our most personal spaces: our head and heart. When we read someone’s words, we foster community because it requires us to listen and introduces us to new perspectives. It’s an opportunity to both question and reinforce what we believe.

People have told me I’m brave to share my voice here as if the risk outweighs the reward of conveying my values and perspectives. No amount of criticism, intimidation or comments could overshadow the opportunity to try to make sense of this wild world through writing.

I was conscious of what others would think and I wasn’t immune to the hurt of criticism, but sharing my voice, even when it shook, offered great solace. This column helped me work out a lot of frustration and heartbreak but also gave me a space to capture gratitude and recognize beauty both in and around us. I never felt brave writing because it was born of a deep-seated need to do so.

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Yet, maybe there is a bravery to writing because it makes things come to life, gives them permanence and, if we do it correctly, exposes our most genuine and honest selves. Bravery is born of love and commitment. In that sense, writing is always brave, no matter the audience, if it speaks your truth and is unapologetically authentic. We don’t choose to be brave; it’s something that we become when our actions reflect our values, passions and commitments.

I’m stepping away from my column but turning towards the incessant calling of other endeavors. The beauty of writing is that it allows us to acknowledge our wants, wishes, wonders and woes. Sometimes the writer is the one forced finally to listen to herself.

The things that make us flow also ebb. They recede and other opportunities usher in. Thank you for allowing me the space to share my voice. Change is challenging because it often requires that we let something go. As impossible as it’s felt at times to put my thoughts into words, this column brought me a lot of peace, but I’m trusting my choice to chase other callings. For now, I’ll write for personal reflection and release. I’ll continue to compile memories, thoughts and ideas for safekeeping onto page while their release brings clarity and makes space for change.

Cheers to a beautiful chapter. Thank you for reading. Thank you for listening.

Click here for more columns from Josie Danz.

Danz is an avid runner, reader and writer. She’s a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead who lives, works and believes in downtown Fargo. She’s a regular contributor to The Forum’s opinion pages.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.