English was always my favorite subject-- especially writing. The way that you could have more than one answer has always enthralled me. I could create new worlds simply with the flick of a pencil. Now, any honest elementary school teacher I had would tell you that I wasn't the next Emily Dickinson or JK Rowling, but I was alright once you got passed the spelling mistakes.
The invention of Google Docs helped me extend my love for writing. When I found myself waiting for my mom to finish her after-school meetings, I would be on the outdated computers typing away. My imagination was able to flow from my mind to the screen in front of me, and I would eagerly show my mom when she came to pick me up.
Often, I would keep writing through her multiple warnings to leave and would find myself scrambling to save my work after the lights were turned off. I wanted to be sure I could squeeze every last word out. I was fascinated that I could create a world just through words, that my imagination could become a physical thing that I could show others.
I don't remember when I stopped showing people my work. When I was in middle school and the early parts of high school I wrote constantly and was usually found in my bedroom on one of my parents' laptop. I found myself being open and vulnerable, expressing myself fully with my short stories and poems.
My young heart was poured into my work to its fullest extent. When I wasn't writing--which wasn't very often-- I was thinking about writing. My fingers danced across surfaces, imagining there was a keyboard underneath. Stories flowed out of me even when I wasn't trying to. Writing was part of my everyday life, my every moment.
My sophomore year I took a creative writing class. This was a horrible paradox. I loved writing, but I didn't want to show my writing. I told myself if they don't like my work, they don't like me. I found myself scrubbing my work, writing things that were basic and unextraordinary. Instead of expressing myself through my poems, I wrote pieces that were uninspired and impersonal.
My work became extremely censored and wasn't really my writing at all. I put as much distance as I possibly could between what I was writing and myself. I simply wrote what I needed to to get an A, and that was it. What I did write outside of class was kept private, read only by me. To the world, I wasn't a writer.
I tell some people I like to write, but they don't normally have any follow up questions. For that, I am thankful. However, one of my friends did follow up. They asked me how I come up with ideas for writing. This stumped me because really, I'm constantly writing.
I see the world in bits of poems and stories, each moment as an opportunity to write. I think about how life is so much better when it's observed to its fullest extent, about how every single detail makes a story. Overthinking is how I live my life, and what I believe makes my life more beautiful. My mind is wired to wander and create a story.
I have to express that I do not find myself to be a great writer. I don't hold myself to some high esteem, or believe that my words create magic on the page. I don't fool myself by believing that my poetry will one day be held to the same standards as Emily Dickinson, or I'll someday be a bestselling author like JK Rowling.
I also don't know if I'll share my true work with the people around me. My poems and my stories are the things that I consider to be private, and I don't know if I could handle criticism. Somewhere in the back of my head, there's the little girl who still believes if they don't like my work, they don't like me.
However, that doesn't mean that I'm not a writer. Being a writer is more than sharing your work. For me, writing is a way of expressing myself, a way of observing the world around me and a way to break down everything I'm thinking. It's the lens in which I view the world. In my heart, I am a writer, and I have started to come to terms with that.