Monthly Archives: March 2012
As a kid I wanted to fit in so badly I could’ve screamed. I wanted to be the outspoken pretty girl who got phone calls from boys, got invited to parties (or, hell, even just asked out!), and who got good grades in school.
But I wasn’t any of those. I won’t say I didn’t have the potential to be all that *and* a bag of chips — but my parents raised me better than that. I was raised with parents who truly loved, respected and *talked* to each other, so that’s what I expected and wanted from any relationship I had. I wasn’t raised to be a flirty cheerleader type who had a new boyfriend every semester and name brand clothing. I was raised to look past the surface to the person beneath the school facade. Sometimes what I found hurt. Being dumped by three girls I thought were my close friends because I refused to become a cheerleader in ninth grade hurt. But gaining as my best friend the girl no-one spoke to because she was ‘weird’ was priceless, as was meeting a girl in 3rd grade who would wind up being my oldest life-long friend.
I was a pariah. Not because of the way I looked, but because I was shy and I read. Sure, the boys in school knew who I was…I was the one they came to when our English teacher assigned poetry as homework and they didn’t have a clue. But I wasn’t the girl to go out with. I was too busy reading and learning most of them weren’t worth my time of day.
Not that it didn’t hurt. I mean, come on, what girl doesn’t want to think a guy finds her attractive? Or be asked out, not because they believe her self-esteem is so slow she’s ‘easy’, but because they actually like her? I think that happened twice in high school. And the guys didn’t even go to the same school. But I survived it.
It taught me that it was okay to dance to the beat of my own drum and not wait for others to tap out a rhythm for me. I gained the strength to pick myself up and move on when life got really, incredibly painful and hard. And it taught me that it’s okay to opt out of being a ‘sheepel’; to be different not for the sake of being different, but to be different because that is who I am.
I am a pariah in college. Online college, no less. If I’m lucky, one other person responds to my required class discussion threads. ONE, out of a class of nearly twenty. I was upset about it at first, watching all the posts racking up responses, while mine sat, lonely at a whopping two (and that INCLUDES the teacher reply!). But you know what? I’m the outcast getting straight A’s. And I’m good with that.
2012 is my year. Moreso than last year ever was. This year I started college, I have a ‘core’ group of people who support my writing beyond the ‘Yay! It’s great!’ cheer leading which, while important, is only part of being supportive. I’ve finally figured out who I’ll share my work with; whose opinions I value over others; and who will understand that, at heart, I’m insecure when it comes to my writing… and that’s okay, because it doesn’t mean I’ll stop.
I stepped back and decided, this year, to focus on one creative endeavor at a time. My first one is to strengthen and submit a manuscript. I plan on throwing off the shackles of my fear and embracing the wilds of agent submissions. The theory being if you throw something at a wall enough, eventually it’s bound to stick…right? (Don’t hit me with the whole ‘paper won’t stick to walls!’, etc. I’m not looking for logical responses, here! 😀 ) After that will come the novella I’ll eventually self-publish. After all, the turtle won the race by running slow and steady… the hare just got winded. I’m tired of being winded. 😀
This year is my year. Not because it’s been easy. It hasn’t.
Mike lost his job a month ago. Nothing like an unexpected kick to make you clench your teeth and try not to scream to the heavens. But he has a new job now. A better job; maybe not in terms of what he’s doing (back to driving for a living), but in terms of benefits. It’s headquartered literally ten minutes from our house. No more budgeting out over $100 a week for gas prices. This also means I have access to our car when I have a need. I just have to take him to work and pick him back up. His pay scale is better, as well. And the company follows D.O.T. regulations, which means he has a cap on the number of hours they are allowed to work him in a week. After the whole broken foot incident, that makes me extremely happy.
I feel stronger this year than I did last year. I have a plan for my life and the means and support to see it through. I’m not focusing on the ‘should’ve, could’ve’ of my past. The past is what it is. I can’t change it and I won’t be beaten down any longer because of it. I made my choices and they all led me here.
And here is pretty damn good.
A writing instructor I once had told all the students in her class to tell her why we thought we were writers. My answer was ‘Because I can’t not write.’ The written word keeps my heart beating, it keeps the blood flowing through my veins. Writing is not something I want to do to make money, or gain fame. Writing is who I am. Words are solace when the world lets me down. They’re the scribblings on random bits of paper that will one day form a cohesive whole, the whispered tidbits from newly formed characters in my head late at night when I should be sleeping, the barely legible sentences written in the dark… They are my escape.
With words I can be anyone I choose. I can be brave and adventurous, and passionate. I can be utterly feminine, yet know how to wield a sword or shoot a bow. I can be a former queen, desperate to save her child, or the lovely tomboy with the royal heritage who falls in love with an outlaw of the forest; the demon who desperately wants to be human, or the healer who has no magical abilities in a world filled with magic.
Words take me beyond my now; past being a stay at home educator, a mother and yes, even a wife. With words, I fly. I soar. I am that creator of worlds, the keeper of all magics and the author of my destiny.
Because I can’t not write.