I learned how to read at the ripe age of four, and ever since then, literature has filled a gaping hole in my life. For others, that hole may be filled with the pride of a strategic soccer goal, the gracefulness of a ballet routine or even the satisfaction of receiving that envious 100 percent on every single test.
Writing is not a common hobby, at least not among my youthful peers. Writing is typically associated with the daunting chore of English essays, or the 20-page research report worth 15 percent of your business class.
But for me, writing has always been an expressive outlet that was there for me, even when nobody else was.
I discovered writing at age 12, when I stumbled upon One Direction fan fiction on Wattpad. I decided, "Hey! I can do that!" And that I did. I wrote a Hunger Games knock-off that devoured half of my summer. Boy, was it worth it. My story gained a thousand reads, and it fed my boastful ego.
It gave me the confidence that I never found in anything else.
My love of writing only increased from there. I wrote every chance I could. I kept a diary from that day on, and I still write in it to this day. I never had anybody who would care enough to sit through a dull, detailed description of my everyday life. Then, there was this obedient, spiraled notebook covered with butterflies. It was mine, and it was there for me whenever I needed it - even when boys were being obnoxious and girls were being catty.
I didn't need to rely on anybody when I had a pen and paper.
I wrote things that I was too afraid to say out loud. I wrote things that I was terrified to think, and I wrote when I needed a physical reminder of what was real. I wrote when I was filled with love and promise, and I wrote when thunderstorms filled my hopeless mind.
There wasn't a single emotion I felt that wasn't reflected in my diary. In all honesty, that diary was a physical manifestation of my constant thoughts and worries.
The diary is now a relic that marks my past as something real. Those moments I had, alone and never witnessed by any bystander, became permanent on those sheets of paper. With my old diaries, I am not allowed to forget.
There is no such as a "fading memory" because every time I skim through the summary of my life, I relive every moment as if I were there.
I am allowed to remember my uncle's seafood Christmas dinner in 2008. I can remember how that boy in elementary school caused a tornado in my belly when he asked me for a pencil. I remember the white-hot rage I felt when my brother would pull my hair after I slapped his head. I get to laugh at how ridiculously important some things were to me that I would never think twice about now.
Then there's the creative outlook on writing. I've always been an expressive person, but painting and writing songs have never been feasible options for me. The only way I can express is through words — whether it's through a make-believe character that represents some aspect of me or a puddle of words about my strong beliefs.
I took a creative writing class in high school, and it changed me. It was the first time I was surrounded by like-minded students who praised me and allowed me to grow through them and their words. That class forced me to write through the writer's block I'd suffered since the beginning of high school, the same writer's block that made me suppress my dearly beloved hobby.
I wrote poems, monologues and a 3601-word short story, the first story I had ever written with a fully developed plot and the cast of characters. It was the most incredible experience for me. I felt like I was having an out of body experience when my classmates sat in a circle, positively critiquing my writing.
For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was actually a part of something.
I hope I can continue my journey with writing, and I hope becoming an Odyssey writer will help me further develop my passion to create.
A monologue assignment I wrote from the perspective of the late Vincent Van Gogh and his years as a tortured artist.