Growing up, I always found a way to be different.
Nine and squirming at the back of the line on picture day, the shortest kid in the class.
Thirteen and stick thin, coming home from 3-hour-long gymnastics practices to sit in front of the television and watch ER. Bowl of ice cream in one hand. Spoon in the other.
Always and forever unable to sit still in itchy tights or pantyhose that ran the moment I reached to adjust them.
Fifteen in sweatpants and crumpled t-shirts, my straightened hair awkwardly juxtaposing this.
And yet I forgot for a time that there’s a beauty in being different. Being weird.
Writers always say they’ve been writing since they could spell out the alphabet. I didn’t leech onto writing like that. My room was cluttered with ribbons, medals and trophies. My eclectic stack of diaries were pushed to the bottom of my desk drawer, buried under stacks of computer paper and old homework assignments.
But now, twice a week, I free myself from all expectations of reality for 75 minutes at a time and allow myself to be whoever I want to be.
There’s a beauty in that. I cannot even begin to justify it to the non-writers, the naysayers.
Anyone who can fill out a job application by themselves can write. They can sit down with a fresh sheet of loose-leaf paper and let the words bleed together incoherently on the page until what once was clean has become dirty. What was once a tree becomes a work of calligraphy. An artist’s canvas. What once was pure has been tarnished with our broken thoughts, unspoken worries and grandiose dreams.
It took me twenty years to become a writer. But I was one all along. I wrote for my intermediate school newspaper in fifth grade. Swore that off for about eight years.
And at barely seventeen, in a sleep-deprived and delusional state, I made the ridiculous decision to write a 50,000-word novel in a single summer.
Normal kids worked and goofed off. Wasted three months trying to turn six shades of orange. I did that too. Had a foolproof method for that, actually.
Turn on iPod. Bake in sun until I couldn’t stand it any longer. Jump into pool. Climb back out. Grab earphones. Repeat.
I worked nights at Rita’s sitting on the freezer and relishing in all-you-can-eat free water ice. After my shift, my stick red lips stained, I’d come home to write until 2 a.m. Often forgetting I still had that red polo on. Just clacking away at a keyboard in my room, the whole house quiet while I hashed out details of a romance I’d only dreamed about. The kind of guy I wanted to fall in love with me. My best friend kept me writing. “I want him to be real,” she once said.
I hadn’t met him yet, but I knew everything about him.
There are bloggers and there are writers. And then, there are writers (like me) who blog.
I’m compelled to figure out why some guy is complaining about a blind woman who lives in the apartment above him playing classical music. Why does anyone hear entirely fabricated conversations in their head? Please, please oh please, tell me I am not insane. I’m just a writer.
That is all I ask of you, my fellow writers and bloggers. I ask you to believe that writing is uncontrollable. That I cannot put up an invisible fence and expect myself to not run into it and get electrocuted.
Sometimes, I feel like I’m running in circles, but in the end, I always return to the person I was meant to be. A little bit weird. A lot bit crazy. A writer.