Hello World Out There World!
This week’s Thinking Thursday is going to focus around why I write. Many people have their reasons as to why they put pen to paper. All writers are drawn to writing for their own reasons. Either, they felt a need to write down the story they have inside or they may do it because it comes naturally to them. But, today I want to focus on why after falling in love with writing 12 years ago why I’m still writing.
I love writing because it’s a part of me.
Writing has always helped me escape the real world and figure out ways I am able to approach real life challenges through exploration in a non-real life setting. I can test my ideas through my character interactions and find a way that works for me.
When I was a kid (age 10-13) I was an outsider.
As an only child in a school made up of kids with siblings I found it hard to relate to kids my own age. I was mature for my age and got along better with the teachers than I did with my classmates. This led to name calling like teachers pet, being ostracized from others in the schoolyard, and due to the fact most of the kids at my babysitters had single parents they tormented me because my parents were together.
I understand now that I’m an adult that they were taking out their pain on me. They saw how happy I was and how much people liked me so they thought taking me down a peg would make them feel better. I understand that I was awkward and strange… that I stood out and didn’t fit in so I was an easy target but them realizing that and making my life a living hell made me realize that they didn’t know that from the torture they put me through that I already knew I was the freak in the striped overalls or the girl that no one wanted to be friends with.
My torment happened before bullies were put on the school’s radar. When I was being tormented by my classmates the faculty said it was just, “kids being kids”. They said I was just too sensitive and needed to grow thicker skin. So, when I was pushed down the hill and impaled by a tree root, or the girls in the schoolyard pulled on my pigtails or made fun of my teeth it was ‘all in good fun’. The school system failed me… so I did what I could to survive.
I huddled myself by the front doors at
recess with my book and read. When I had read everything I could and got tired of the same old happy endings or open endings I felt confident enough to start writing. Sure, I started writing to prove that I could write a better book than those I was reading but I soon realized that I was able to escape easier into a world of my own creation. My characters had the friends I couldn’t make in school. They were able to do things I would never be able to do. The world I wrote had no boundaries asides from the ones I put in place. While I was tortured in reality by classmates that bullied me to feel better about themselves I was able to hide myself away in a world that couldn’t harm me.
People liked me in my world. Challenges didn’t stand in my way because I could always find an answer and soon I realized how small everything outside of writing was. While I worked away on this dream of becoming a writer I started making friends that were passionate about writing or the arts – in high school. As I started to realize I wasn’t alone and wasn’t the only person that the school system failed I knew I wanted to make a bigger difference. I wanted to share what writing had done… what the creative programs in my life had done for me and others like me. I continued my passion of writing into university where soon it became clear that I didn’t need to write to escape anymore.
In university I had friends that liked my quirkiness and loved me for my bluntness. I could hang out with a mature crowd and not be made fun of for my opinions. I could be me and for once in my life I didn’t need a crutch.
Did I still write?
Sure I did… not as much but I wrote more non-fiction than fiction. My stories stuck in reality than flying off on the backs of gryphons to some medieval castle like I had when I was a child. I still had the drive to be a published author one day. I still told people one day I would be an author, but my life was focused on reality. I dreamed about being a teacher and sharing my experiences with my students. I wanted to tell them that things would get better and that if you are really passionate about something that the only person that is standing in your way is yourself. I wanted to tell them that the impossible is possible and that if you work hard enough your goals can become reality.
After school when my friends moved away and the focus of getting a job was looming over me I needed to find a way to escape. My dream of becoming a teacher wasn’t working out and no one was looking for someone with my teachable skill set for their schools… so instead of being sucked down into a depression I focused my emotions towards writing again. Not as obsessively as I did when I was a child but enough to distract myself from the looming feeling of failure to reach my career goal of becoming a teacher.
To me, writing is relaxing. Writing is a form of therapy where I can get whatever is on my mind off so I can move on. With school done and the realization of having to find a job I didn’t go to school for closing in I knew it was time to make my childhood dream a reality. I sketched out characters and the world I wanted the story to take place. I spent so much time planning, researching, and noting that I never got around to any actual writing. That was until my already crumbling reality suddenly shattered.
When my mother died I needed to escape. A coping strategy from when I was a kid. The real world got too much for me so I hide away within the pages of a world I had created. Those 6-7 months it took to write Child of the Light was enough time for me to work through the loss of the most influential person in my life. Her death pushed me to reach the goal I always put aside for other more ‘realistic’ endeavors. Her death made me take the risk I was always afraid to take.
When I held my first book in my hands I felt like I had done something right. I knew feeling the glossy cover gripped in my sweaty fingers that all that pain that started this journey helped me find my true purpose.
So, why do I write?
Writing gave me a place to escape when I was young and scared. It gave me a voice when I believed I didn’t have one. It helped me work through the problems in my life when I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone about how I was feeling. Writing became a part of me just as much as the blood that runs through my veins or my heart that pumps in my chest. It has helped me survive all the challenges in my life and was able to show a scared little girl that she could do something when her peers were telling her she was nothing.