Since as early as I can remember, I lost myself in words both read and written. There were always stories floating around in my head, scenes and characters living their lives quietly as I daydreamed my way through mine. Sometimes, I get them down on paper, but mostly, I enjoyed them just where they were, a part of me.
I wrote some stories here and there growing up, but mostly just for school project. The worlds and characters were just for me, and I selfishly held the captive until they faded and were replaced with new ideas.
When I hit high school though, things started to change. I felt the need to write. I had years of ideas in my head and I finally felt I was ready to let them fly. I wrote all the time. I wrote in dingy old composition notebooks, leaned against a tree at lunchtime. I wrote poems in science class, hiding the words deep in my notes, swirling them around so no one would see. I got onto the school newspaper and I wrote articles, letting people finally see the world I was creating. I wrote like a writer would write.
Then, it all changed. I went through a pretty rough upbringing, which really toke it’s toll on me my senior year and continued to permeate long into my adulthood. I started writing less and less, until finally I wasn’t writing at all. The stories and the characters were still there, begging to be told, willing my hands to write them, but I didn’t; or I couldn’t.
Suddenly, words from my mother, became all I could hear. That I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t talented, that I would never make it. Her doubts became my fears. I wasn’t strong enough to tell her that I didn’t need her approval. My faith in myself was already ridden with fault lines and bruises, so her constant badgering was all it took to take my world down.
Years passed and I didn’t write a word beyond emails and status updates. I longed to write. To me, it felt like breathing and without it I was surly suffocating. My fears overrode my desires, and I become so worried that someone might read what I wrote and disapprove. I knew writing was my passion, and deep down I believed it was my only talent, therefore, if someone came along once more and told me it was garbage, I knew I would shatter and break.
As I began to battle depression, writing became even more sacred to me. It became the one thing I could hold onto when I was losing so many pieces of myself. When everything was in chaos and my thoughts felt foreign, I knew my writing and stories were still there, and were still mine. I was a writer, no one could take that from me.
Things changed for me like seasons, gradually and then all at once. I started falling in love with reading again, carrying totes bags of books out of the library like they were treasures. Then, my own words and stories started filling my head again, just like before, only this time I knew I didn’t want to lose them. I would jot notes down quickly on post-it’s or index cards, preserving the ideas for later.
Then one night, I started praying on an idea I had. I was being hit hard with stories of my past, and I felt like the only way through it was to tell these stories, even if just for myself. I thought about people that might be going through the same and wanted to see if my stories could help other people too. I wanted to assemble other writers as well, to tell their stories, and to show people that brokenness is about of life’s story and it’s not a flaw. That’s when Small, Still Voices was born. I gathered four other woman and we began telling our stories. Sometimes it was hard to hit post, where old fears would creep into my thoughts and I worried about being ridiculed or criticized. Instead, I get amazing feedback from people who were listening and being changed by my words.
Now, I am a writer again. I let my words hit the pages as often as I can. I strive for the same goal I had when I was little and innocent and truly believed I could be anything I wanted in this world.
I’ve learned that our gifts and talents are always ours, and that no one or darkness in our paths have the right to steal them from us. Writing helps me heal, writing helps me conquer my fears, and writing is who I am.
We all have hopes and dreams that seem out of our reach. Whenever I let my insecurities get the best of me, or someone scoffs when I say I want to be a writer, or I get negative feedback, I don’t let it derail me anymore. Instead, I close my eyes and remember what it was like to be a child, when the idea’s were endless, when dreams weren’t just dreams, but hopes for the future. When wanting to be president, or an astronaut, or even a writer, were things within our tiny little grasps. Because, that was the one time in our lives we truly trusted our guts. When we believed in ourselves whole-heartidly and never, ever let the world crush our dreams. I want to be that girl, always.
I am going to be a writer.
What was your childhood dream?
Photo Credit by: Flickr Creative Commons Erichhh