When people used to ask me about my favorite subject in school, english was always at the top of my list. I sat through years and years of english classes, listening attentively to my teachers and classmates, reading endless stacks of books, and then taking everything that I heard, saw, and learned, and pouring it into my writing. My writing. It was how I expressed myself. It was how I showed my teachers that I listened, even when I sat there and refused to speak. And ultimately, they heard me loud and clear.
Although my writing matured as I attempted to analyze and question some of the greatest works of literature, such as Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" or F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby," where I found the most joy was in creative writing. I loved to tell stories and write poetry. I loved possessing the freedom to choose whether my work would be true or imaginary, whether or not I based the story on real feelings and circumstances or something completely made up.
My passion continued throughout high school, but when I went off to college, I yearned to express myself through creative writing like I once did in english class. Then I found out that my school had an Odyssey community for which I could write, so I decided to apply. I soon realized, however, that while obtaining the position of 'Content Creator' was easy, actually creating the content proved much more difficult than I had originally expected.
I started out writing about all sorts of general things: my hometown, my high school, my college experience. Topics that I thought would be relatable to people, that I thought were interesting and captivating. But as time went on, I began stumbling upon some other extremely well-written, engrossing, and interesting Odyssey articles. From sharing personal stories about losing yourself in college to articulating why the younger generation needs to start dating again, just to name a few, these other content creators wrote articles far more interesting and captivating than anything I could ever dream of writing. And while I wished so desperately for them to spark my own creative thinking, instead, it completely derailed.
I racked my brain searching for something, anything to write about. But the pressure to live up to the standards of these other articles, of these other people, was too great. My mind went numb. I stared at the blank white screen with it's blinking cursor, feeling hopeless. I did not possess any strong passion for a specific cause and I did not experience anything in life that seemed worth writing about.
I simply could not find the words. So I just stopped writing.
I gave up on ideas before I even got past the first few lines. I created and deleted numerous drafts of articles. I didn't even try to make my deadlines because I knew that they would inevitably be missed. The only semi-productive thing I could come up with to do was to go back through my old high school assignments and see if anything was worth publishing. So I dug out my old Macbook Pro and began to sift through various documents until I found the folder labeled 'English'. And as I read the words of those seemingly ancient stories and poems, I remembered why I fell in love with writing in the first place.
It wasn't to compare my work to others, and it wasn't to fit a certain mold. I fell in love with writing because through writing, I can create anything that I want to create. I can express myself in more ways than my spoken word knows how, and I can find the courage to articulate my innermost thoughts and beliefs in such ways that they can be understood. I can portray parts of my life that relate to other people to remind them that they're not alone, and in doing so, I hope that I am making even the smallest of differences.