On Beginnings

On Beginnings

How Escapism Led Me To Writing
91
views

Every now and again, we’ve to look back to our past and consider the lives we’ve lived. Up to this point, overall, I’ve not lived a bad life. Yet, who I am today stems from the moments of my life that I didn’t wish to face, whether it be due to pain, anxiety, or the desire to be elsewhere.

Growing up I had the good fortune of being part of a family who took great pleasure in vacationing. They didn’t vacation for the adventure of traveling, but rather for the indulgence of escaping a ordinary life.

It was never the destinations that drove them to a location; local culture, history, and art did not interest them. Instead, it was the prospect of complete service. The idea that they could spend money upfront to have others care for them. At least, when I think back to it, this is how it seemed to be.

Every now and again they’d sign us up for an excursion, but most of these vacations were spent around the pool, with me fetching them drinks, over-eating at the buffet, and sleeping.

Over the years, when the number of family-friends who joined in climbed, we started looking into different resorts, but the similar areas. For me, most of the time, I was on my own during these vacations to Mexico.

Being the youngest, I had to find ways to entertain myself, to get away from the feeling of being an outsider. Aside from being the youngest, I was a shy, heavy-set child. To do something alone was terrifying, yet to sit around the pool and watch all others laughing and becoming drunk would worsen that sense of not belonging.

I suppose I should’ve added that I began reading at a young age. Not necessarily because I wanted to, but because I was told it would help with my speech—for a number of years in elementary school, I was part of the speech therapy program. Through reading, I found a kind of pleasure in the act of fantasizing the material. Like many other children, I would daydream constantly, and I found that reading only served to deepen those daydreams. In a way, I read to bring about more intricate, enjoyable dreams.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when all the anxieties begin in life. When did walking into a room of strangers become terrifying? When did the shaking in my hands, the sensation of my body locking up begin? When did my dreams become nightmares?

At some point in my childhood, things changed. Fears began. Shame started to grow within me. Things that I had found joy in seem to lose the appeal they once had. Dreaming became a frightful act of violence. My subconscious had seemingly turned on me, and night after night I tried to stay awake, to keep away from dreaming. This was the time that night terrors began.

During these years, I stopped reading. Before, before the terrors, I would record my dreams down in a notebook. Now, I tried to keep away from them. Most nights when I’d sleep over at friends, I’d wake in the middle of the night, crying, demanding to go home—the only place I thought of as comforting.

It was also during these years where I began playing video games, and it was through video games where I found pleasure in escaping the present. It was a means to live a life that was not my own, yet, in some aspect, was my own. After all, I was the mind behind each character I played through as, guiding them through their world. I had become a hand of fate to these fictitious characters.

With the ongoing divorce of my parents, and the hard move away from my childhood home—a house that I always said I’d never leave—this is how I spent a large portion of my teenage years: hiding away in digital realities.

When I was nineteen, after working a year in a UPS warehouse, I landed a job at Barnes & Noble. They hired me because of my experience in that warehouse. Not due to my background or remote love for literature. In short, I had no idea what literature even was. I was in community college at the time, on academic probation for nearly flunking the spring semester. Life wasn’t what I thought it would be. All my close friends were away at universities, and I was struggling with community college, working at a Barnes & Noble for extra money.

The feeling of being an outsider was, perhaps, a feeling that never truly left me. There were numerous times, early in the morning, as I stocked the book aisles, when I’d think back to those days of my youth spent on vacations with my family, about the time wasted hiding away in video games, about the night terror—which were returning at this age after years of calm. I was nineteen, and I didn’t know who I was, or what I was supposed to do.

One day, relatively early on in my days at Barnes & Noble, I was shelving fiction books. I flipped through the first pages of the books I had heard about in high school—Slaughterhouse-Five, Frankenstein, Catcher and the Rye. After that shift, I bought three books. Among those three books was The Alchemist.

I didn’t know anything about it, or Paulo Coelho, only that a friend I worked with at that time, Janna, highly recommended it. It was in that book that I started discovering the wonders of language, the light that’s tucked between the pages. It was The Alchemist that allowed me to escape, yet with a purpose.

The next morning, after finishing the novel, I sat down beside the fireplace of my home at the time, opened a blank page, and began writing for myself. It was with these first lines, which grew into one of my first short stories, that taught me who I am, what I am, and how to become that which we’re meant to become.

Often the world works against us. However, every now and again, we manage to remain quiet enough to hear its whisper ushering us into a specific direction, towards the light that remains at a distance in the dark.

Cover Image Credit: Coty Poynter

Popular Right Now

22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.

49481
views

"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hor air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

Cover Image Credit:

Author's illustration

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

11 Ways To Deal With Two-Faced People

Because you can't always cut them out.

66
views

Since entering college, it seems like it's been one train wreck after another. The past year has given me several blows––with family, finances, personal health, and family well-being. The Lord is helping me deal with a lot of obstacles right now, and I'm trusting Him to carry me through to the other side.

With everything going on, it's safe to say that I have little to no room for disingenuous people in my life. You know who they are. The two-faced individuals who have nothing but smiles, friendship and understanding for you to your face, but the minute you turn away, they're spreading lies and rumors like wildfire. They laugh at you when they think you aren't looking.

There are articles and tips spanning the internet on how to cut toxic people out of your life, but sadly, that's not always an option. So what do you do when you have to grit your teeth and bear it?

1. Take stock of who you can trust

25.media.tumblr.com

When dealing with people who can't seem to give it to you straight, it's best to lean on those who do. Maybe it's a small handful or even a single person, but they can make a world of difference for your mental health.

2. Put your faith where it belongs

media.giphy.com

I put my faith in God, my family and my friends. It's not always easy, but it's comforting when you don't have it in yourself. Not everyone is going to understand or support you, and that's OK. You don't need them or their approval.

3. Limit your interactions



img.buzzfeed.com

Maybe they're family, a coworker or a classmate––you can't always get away. Be that as it may, you can limit your interactions. If you don't have to speak to them, don't. Go about your business as best as possible, then move on when you can.

4. Keep your guard up

vignette.wikia.nocookie.net

People will have a field day making assumptions about you. Most times, they don't realize how hypocritical this makes them. That's their problem to own, not yours. Although you don't want to keep walls up in every part of your life, it can occasionally be a healthy choice. It's best not to invest trust or emotions into those who will double-cross you.

5. Don't forget to stay positive

media1.popsugar-assets.com

When people drag you down, it's hard to shake off their grasp. It's amazing how free you can feel when you don't let them get in your head. Don't let them dim your light!

6. Let your actions speak for themselves

cdn1.clevver.com

Circumstances can arise that hinder your performance or attitude. That's life, it happens! Don't feel bad for not being a robot––perfectly tuned to everyone else's expectations. You're human. You may not be perfect, but you can do your best. This may not be enough for them, but it is for those who care about you.

7. Avoid stooping to their level

media0.giphy.com

Sometimes the best way to fight back is to rise above it all. Seeking revenge and copying their actions does nothing but make you like them. Be better than that.

8. Try not to take their words to heart

media1.giphy.com

This is the hardest. It's so much easier to let the lies get past your guard than the truth. Let those double-crossers do or say what they will––that reflects on them and who they are more than anything else. You can't change who they are, but you can control your reaction.

9. If you're comfortable, confront them

big.assets.huffingtonpost.com

If it's something you feel safe doing, confront them. You don't need to be aggressive, but you can be honest. Tell them about the rumors circulating. Tell them how this makes you feel. Remind them that you once put your trust in them, and they betrayed that trust. After that, the ball is in their court.

10. Laugh it off

i.pinimg.com

You don't need to convince anyone of your value if they refuse to see it. Mark it up as a good story to tell, a lesson in toughening your skin and move on. The people in your life should feel lucky to have you in theirs, and if they don't, they don't need to be a priority.

11. Be patient

static.advice-and-resources.cbcortex.com

Find comfort in the knowledge that you aren't the only one who sees both of their faces. If they're double-crossing you, chances are, they have done it and are doing it to others. They may be fooling some, but certainly not everyone.

Cover Image Credit:

Chester Wade

Related Content

Facebook Comments