The one thing I have been before I was anything else, was a writer. Reading was an escape, but writing came as natural as the air I breathed. My material was mostly dark because it reflected my inner turmoil.
This mostly made me believe something was wrong with my writing. I didn’t know I just needed new life experiences, and my imagination will soar. I gradually stopped writing as my teenage years passed. I still journal though not religiously, and I have kept a blog for years. But this is nothing compared to the short and long story books I used to write. I had different unfinished chapters of many unfinished books. I remember my high school principal called me out on assembly for never finishing my novels. He called me a procrastinator who was unserious about her craft. His message was for everyone in my school to not be like me. Eish. Talk about having your spirit crushed. Ironically the first book I finished in my local dialect and gave him to proofread, he said he lost it barely a week later. I believed him for a long time before I realised I had been scammed and he’d probably printed the book naming himself as the author.
I realise now that I don’t want to be anything else anymore. This is not a passing trait. It is a character trait. And I have never wanted to hone anything more than this precious skill.
I once heard somewhere that a lot of people like me never achieve our full potential because we want too many things out of life at the same time. Something about having too many talents and having the curse of indecision. He made an analogy of going to a nice restaurant, and ordering an item on the menu. Then 2 minutes later you send another order to the kitchen. On and on and on you keep changing your mind just as the chef is about to start the next order. 30 minutes later he still hasn’t cooked anything. He’s probably frustrated now and has stopped completely to give allowance for you to change your mind. The kitchen is like our brain. We keep changing what we want to be in the future every 5 months, just because we think we can. Because we can be anything we want to be.
For 2 years that I focused on being a chef, I was very successful at it. It was my first big success in my adult life. And I got the point of being focused. Being under the haze of mental strifes my whole life, it hasn’t been easy getting here. It also turns out, having a borderline personality, and a constant wavering sense of self, is highly needed to be a writer. Key ingredient in fact.
Neil Gaiman comes to mind as he recounts his time as a young writer:
“I had a facility with voices. I could do, essentially, impressions of other writers. I could write things that felt kind of all what other writers would have written and written well. But I didn’t have anything to say!”
He further goes on to explain why he lacked his voice. “That was because I wasn’t really prepared to say anything true about who I was.”
Writing is so beautiful. And powerful.
It relieves my headaches and chest pains.
It makes me smile when I have no reason to.
It makes me happy when I forget how to.
In the words of best-selling Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho:
“I only write to understand myself better… I don’t try to show how intelligent or how cultivated I am, I just try to share my soul. Sharing is part of life.”
I have never claimed superiority of opinion, even though I am aware I have come off as that several times. Sometimes the passion in my voice betrays the point I’m trying to make. Sharing is a huge part of my life. I just always haven’t found the right medium. And in the last few weeks of solitude, and going through a final end to an old chapter, a fire awoken.
My life is my best story. It is my money maker. I always felt it was too silly, stupid, unfair, to capitalise on my trauma. I have been told to move on. But I don’t want to. I also don’t have to. It is my origin, it is my drive, it is where I get my essence from. Many get it from their rosy childhood and warm hugs. I didn’t have that.. So why have I always been asked to draw from a well that was never filled, when there’s an overflowing well I could simply learn to distill and drink from.
Be careful of how the world tells you to live. In fact when things are being echoed a lot, it is a sign to literally go the other way. Be who, and what they do not want you to be.
We all have fear. “I’m afraid of failing at whatever story I’m writing — that it won’t come up for me, or that I won’t be able to finish it.” — Stephen King, Rolling Stone 2014 interview.