As children, we’re taught how to string letters into words, words into sentences. We’re taught how to weave stories based around the childish world inside our minds. It’s an innocent act scribbled out on lined paper with pictures drawn in crayon. Then we get older. Writing becomes a necessary evil if we have any hope of surviving school. What once brought us joy now brings dread and boredom. Many of us forget what writing can truly be and accept that all we’ll ever write is essays and emails.
Like normal, I was the odd ball. For a girl who’s creative mind tended to confuse and isolate her, writing became a way of expression, a way of escaping from reality when it got too dull or too dark. I wrote tales of a princess with the power to bend the very earth to her will and a quest to reclaim her kingdom. I created the story of a thief who took whatever she wished until a run in with the law caused her to play for the other side. There was even one of a freak with claws and green eyes who hid from the world until love entered into her life.
Hours were spent in their worlds, constructing characters and adventures. My body would be riding the bus home or sitting in class, while my mind wandered elsewhere carried along the taps of my fingers. As I’ve gotten older, writing become a form of peace. Whenever I feel upset or alone, I escape into the void of words and make believe. In some way, it helps to clear my head and understand the thoughts whirling within.
What I didn’t realize is the cost.
You see very few know that in order to write, you must sacrifice a piece of yourself. You can’t create a fantasy world without starting with a real one. The characters themselves have ties to people the writer interacts with. Their hopes, dreams, fears and ideas are woven into the tales. Their realities are the building blocks for worlds that exist within the pages.
Many don’t see that beauty. They simply see the art as a source of entertainment. They fail to see the blood racing through the letters or the soul resting on the pages. They take what they need like a shot of cocaine in order to briefly escape their lives. Only a lucky few finish and leave with something more in their hearts.
Those are the people I fear. It’s sad I know, but it’s the truth. Like every writer before me, I’ve hidden pieces of myself within my work. Sometimes unknowingly, but they’re there nonetheless. Some are simple; others are far more dark and raw. They’re parts of me that I don’t want the world to see but need a place to release them. That’s why most of my work never leaves my computer. Most of them sit silent, as I jump from one story to another, putting portions of me away for safekeeping.
That’s no way to live though. A life of fear is one that’s not fully lived and one that I don’t want.
So stories started to slip out. This past year a huge tale of mine saw the light of day, but instead of the judgement I expected, I found acceptance. The friends who I feared would see parts of me instead found the same passion that caused me to create it in the first place. They stood by me and sacrificed in order to bring my world to life. That is a gift I can never repay them for and one that meant more than I could ever explain.
Their love and their acceptance showed me that my art is nothing to hide. The fear of judgement may be strong, but art like this is a gift to the world. It’s the giving of one’s self so that others may learn from your mistakes and your victories. It allows them to find acceptance and escape, that the writer too once found. By sharing, you’re passing along your dreams and hopes to another generation, and they will do the same, continuing the tradition of sharing humanity.
That’s what I want to pass along through my work. If that means I have to place my heart on my sleeve or my soul on paper, then I’m happy to do so. I just hope someone else will find the strength to do the same.