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My Big Fat Life – #WhyIWrite

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2015 at 11:42 pm

Today was national Why I Write Day. I missed the boat.

For me, today was supposed to be about something else. A diversion in plans instead finds me at home, sitting at the table, the kids in bed, and no noise other than the sound of the keys clicking as I type. When I saw that today was a day that writers were encouraged to share why they write, I decided that I had missed the boat and contributing to the movement would probably be a moment lost, but then all the times I had told myself that I had missed a moment and let things go were moments I couldn’t get back, I thought.. what the hell.

My earliest memory of my love for words takes me back to the time I was about 9. My first attempt at writing a book was a story about a dragon who lived in a cave and could only be seen by those who believed in him enough to venture into the cave where he dwelled. These courageous believers overcame their fears to walk into places where lights didn’t exist. Their hopes of meeting the kindly dragon was the only thing guiding them on their journey. Those who were lucky enough to overcome their fear of stepping into the unknown, were rewarded with meeting the kind and gentle dragon who was timid and afraid of the unknown on the other side. Both the dragon and the children had their own fears of the unknown to overcome, and realizing fear was the only thing separating the two from something wonderful on the other side. I wrote this out with a pencil that was probably a stub, a bit eraser, and on some school paper I had stapled together. The illustrations were rough, but in my young eyes were less concerned with perfection and more about how I saw the dragon in my mind. I remember when I finished the book I took it to my Mom and asked her if she liked it. When she didn’t answer, I felt beyond rejected, and tore it up into a million pieces, which in reality more like 5. To this day I wish I had that book, but it lives on in memory.

Those who know me now, would probably never believe me if I told them that while I was a chatty kid I really had a hard time talking to people. I bounced back and forth between my mom’s house where we were rarely acknowledged, to my grandparents home where children had the role to obey and nothing more. I don’t blame my grandparents, they were doing the best they could for raising my moms children, but left a lot of confusion on how I was supposed to talk to people. Any trace of emotion found us sitting on the step of the garage entryway, and with no allowance to return the house until the moment had passed. It was on that step that I escaped into my imagination and wrote numerous stories where I was a child living a typical childhood. Nothing grand, nothing courageous, just a kid who lived in a home where things were functional and I felt loved. Nothing grand, no heroes, no big conquest… just a kid who went to bed unafraid of monsters under my bed and a comforting sense of peace.  I’ve cursed the suppression of that step in the entryway many times since, and the lesson of keeping things inside that it taught me yet some of the most grand escapes in my imagination happened on that very step.

It would be years before I would learn to talk to people and not have a panic attack at the same time. Sometimes I still fall victim to questioning the sound of my own voice, and often I retreat to writing it out before I say it. There have been so many times I had wished I could just write things out instead of talking to people, but I know how powerful it has become for me to learn how to talk when I would rather just retreat, and so I force myself to take the anxiety on as I hear the sound of  words coming from my mouth.

Why I write, well.. I guess it’s because I don’t feel so awkward when I am here. I don’t struggle for the words to come out of my mouth, and I don’t worry if I am writing the wrong thing because I can always hit the delete button and that isn’t something we can do once the words fall from our face. I write because if I don’t, I just become a prisoner of the things I want to say, and just can’t seem to otherwise. I write because I’m afraid. I write because I am alive. I write because I don’t want to forget and because I don’t want to remember.

I write because the written word has helped me live an audible life.

I write because it’s saved my life.

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