I grew up knowing I was different. I loved words and books and music. My mind wandered often and built complexities that no one around me understood. From Dr. Seuss books, to hours at my desk, to the headphones that accompanied me often, I moved gradually through my childhood toward the love of words. No one seemed to appreciate the way that I was. I didn’t want to be outside or play sports. I would rather collect worksheets than toys. I loved voicing my opinions and articulating my thoughts to everyone who would hear me. I was stared at, laughed about, and picked on. I was pushed toward the things that other children enjoyed, though my disdain for being like everyone else was clear.
In sixth grade, that love of words came together on paper. I discovered poetry and loved the flow that it allowed for all those thoughts that flew at warp speed through my head. This was my outlet, my voice. My differences with other children, as well as my own family, did not exist when I was writing. I felt complete with every word that tipped from that pen and cemented itself with its companions.
And, my talents did not go unnoticed. My teachers, as well as my peers, were drawn to the words that I had transcribed. They may not have completely understood who I was, but my writing opened that door to all that was unspoken. It was the clarity that I needed to connect with the world around me.
As I entered high school, the writing became stories, more complex poetry, and an overall outpouring of my beliefs. When my mind wandered now, I knew that it had a purpose. I kept paper with me on almost every occasion and played off of the sparks in my thought process. Those sparks were my drive. I knew I had to find a way to make writing my future.
My family never got it. I never fit the mold that was expected of me, and I was made to feel ashamed for my gift. I was told that there was no income with a writing career and that I needed to be realistic. It was constantly suggested that I become a teacher or a secretary. Those were not my dreams, and I could care less if writing put money in my pocket.
I wanted the world to hear me, to see that I was special. I had so much to say and so many stories to tell. I longed to see my words in print and know that they would not be laughed over or trivialized. I craved to see those words grow to something amazing.
I should have fought them. The school of my dreams was too expensive, and there was no alternative within the budget so I caved. I gave into life and what was expected of me and went to school for a run-of-the-mill profession that was thrown away in the end anyway.
It has been 16 years since I began to write poems, and guess what? It wasn’t a phase. I am now a stay-at-home mom to two wonderful little boys. I have a successful husband, a beautiful house, and a zoo of rescue animals. One would see this life that I live and say that it was nothing short of a success. But, I never let go of my writing.
A binder of my poems has tagged along with me through this life, and is now splitting at the seams with thoughts dated back to my 12 year old mind. For years, I have put my heart and soul into a story that has never been seen by anyone else. And, I have this blog.
The criticisms never stopped. I was elated to have the chance to share my writing with the public, to finally be heard. But, in no time…I faced the same harsh words of my childhood. When my family finally took the time to read what I had to say, their first reaction was disgust. Regulations had to be put on my writing. How dare I mention them? Why would I discuss this? My truths did not fit into their box, and they were once again ashamed of my writing.
I am here to defend the words that have been threatened from me for so long. The verses, the stories, the feelings—They are mine alone. My life is my own, and the writing belongs to me. If you are a part of what I have to say, then that is because you were a part of the life that I lived…but it is still my story to tell, as uncensored and as raw as I need to. The purpose is not to hurt you; it is to relieve my own aching for the words that were shut away to live a life that was expected of me.
Writing allows me to fly. No matter what is happening in my life or what demons haunt me from my past, this is my tool to spread my wings away from the realm that admonishes me. I do not belong in your box.