Warning: It's a bit lengthy!
When I was just a child, not so long ago, I used to write short stories with my cousin. We would get a spark of inspiration from anything as simple as three letters written on the side of a truck, or someone we noticed standing in line at the store. Right where we were, we’d start throwing ideas back and forth, coming up with some silly story we would later on write down.
At the time I never thought much of it. My cousin and I both loved to read. We would spend our summers side by side reading novels and then switching when we were done. I never realized that I actually loved to write as well. I just assumed I had a bit of a wild imagination, that my silly stories would make my friends and family laugh and that was enough reason to keep writing them.
As I got older and I began to change not only physically but emotionally, my short stories changed, too. Certain things had taken place in my life that were not exactly thrilling and as my world began to change so did my writing. No longer did I write my silly stories about big nosed principals, or talking mosquitos. I became a horror fan, and I loved to kill off my characters. No more happy endings. Everyone must die.
A lot of the writing I did was for school. I loved English class and even when I didn’t have to submit a short story I still wrote. All through grade 7 and 8 I wrote in my spare time. Still, I didn’t think anything of it. I wasn’t a writer, I was just someone who liked writing. It was a great way for me to deal with my emotions and the events that took place in my life.
When I entered high school I found more interesting things to do then sit around by myself writing fictional stories. I began going out with my friends more, staying out late, getting into trouble. Nothing too serious; let’s just say I was never brought home by the police or expelled. We were just teenagers having fun.
I had a baby when I was 17 and dropped out of high school. My daughter became my whole world and everything I’ve done since then, I’ve done with her in mind. I knew that graduating high school would be the best thing for her, so I did it. I knew that having a good paying job would be the best thing for her, so I aimed for that.
There was a problem though, I wasn’t happy in any job I found and it showed. I went through so many different jobs, everything from being a banquet waitress, construction labourer, cashier, sales associate, bookkeeper, etc. No matter what I did, I would eventually quit, sure that there was something better out there that would pay. Besides, my boyfriend, who is Sidney’s father, made good money and I could take the time I needed to figure things out.
Well, he and I broke up a couple of years ago. I was completely devastated, but when things just aren’t working what can you do? By this time our daughter was four years old and starting Kindergarten full-time. I was on welfare, too upset to even look for work. So I did the only thing I could think of – I began writing down my feelings, not just in my journal like I’ve always done, but I began writing short stories about love and heartbreak. I wrote while she was in school, I wrote every night, I wrote whenever I had time to myself because when I wasn’t writing all I could do was pace and stew. Heartache turned to anger, and the best way to channel those emotions was to write.
We were separated for 3 months. It was one of the most difficult three months I’ve had to go through. I had never been through a breakup before then, but I finally knew what all of those movies and books were talking about. It was like grieving his death, except I had to see him for a few minutes every Wednesday evening and every other weekend whenever he picked Sidney up and dropped her off.
Eventually we worked things out and Sid and I moved back into our old apartment. Things were different though, not just between Nick and me, but I had changed as a person. For the first time in five years I had been on my own and allowed myself to think for myself. I felt selfish, but maybe I needed that.
I told Nick I wanted to be a writer. That nothing else could do. I didn’t know if I would ever make money writing, I wasn’t sure how it could support our family financially but I finally admitted to myself that through all of the doubt and self-criticism, I was in fact a writer. Writing made me happy.
Fast forward two years from that crucial moment of finally saying, “I am a writer” and here I am today. Even in those past two years there has been doubt, and criticism and wondering. I don’t have anything published. I don’t even know what kind of writer I want to be, do I want to write fiction or non-fiction? Who knows? Who cares? All I know is that I want to write, and that I do write almost every day.
Maybe no one ever reads what I’ve written, it’s not about being noticed, not right now. All that matters is that I write, because I am a writer.