I am a writer.
I’m not sure the first time I applied that to myself. I’ve felt that I was a writer my entire life, but it seemed too lofty a title to apply to me. Writers are people like Hemingway and L’Engle. Hawthorne and Thoreau. My father was a literature professor. He taught about writers. Clearly I did not belong in that illustrious list.
But in my heart I wrote. In the third grade, I wrote a play about pilgrims that our class presented to the entire school. I have no memory of writing the play, nor do I have a copy of it, but I have a mental picture of myself dressed as a pilgrim in my black dress, white apron, and white cap. My bangs are in disarray, but I’m smiling my snaggletooth grin, as I stand front and center on the stage taking a bow as the author.
I wrote vociferously all through middle school and high school. Pouring out angst on to lined notebook paper. Writing all the things I couldn’t say aloud for fear of judgment or humiliation, and then I would rip those pages to shreds and throw them into trashcans, humiliated and embarrassed by my own self-centeredness and gall.
In later years I attempted to keep a diary, but I was so concerned with someone else finding it and reading it that I was hampered in expressing my reality. So those diaries looked more like log books of daily occurrences and “appropriate” commentary on life. It wasn’t until I began to acknowledge the abuse I suffered as a child that I began to write in my true voice, and even then I worried that I was creating – writing not my true voice, but the voice I thought I should have. It took 9 years before I put anything out for public consumption -- a leap of terrifying faith in myself to post a blog. Who could possibly care what I had to say? Surely the world would come crashing down on me for having the nerve to share what I thought and felt.
I’ve been writing regularly for nearly 6 years. I write something almost every day. I don’t need someone else to validate it, but it’s nice when that happens. I write because that’s the best way for me to stay connected with my own voice. Sure I write for other people, and I always hope that my words help someone else in some way, but mostly I write because I want to, because I love it. I love doing it and having done it and having evidence of what goes on in my brain.