'She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future' - Proverbs 31:25
Friday, March 26, 2010
I remember distinctly the first time I wrote a paper for someone other than my mom (was homeschooled, remember?) and the praise I received felt so good. I was 12 or 13 at the time and on cloud nine at being told I was an excellent writer for my age and grade. I remember relaying the praise to someone whose opinion meant the world to me and being shot down, told I wasn’t nearly as good as my sister. Which, while true, burst my bubble at the time.
See, Rae was better than me at most things academic. Maybe not sign language, since she didn’t actually take that. Honestly, she deserved to be. She was a much harder worker than I was and she earned every perfect score she got. It never bothered me as I was her biggest cheerleader. I have incredibly talented, beautiful, intellegent sisters and I adore them. Rachel is unbelievably hard working and Ruth has the most incredible memory I’ve ever seen. Ruth can recall anything in vivid detail. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if she remembers being born!
I never really remember feeling competitive with either of my sisters. Were each so different and our gifts are uniquely ours. But I do remember this particular time, wishing that the person in the question wouldn’t have felt the need to compare my newly discovered love (and skill?) for writing with that of my older sister. I firmly believe that for each of my talents there is someone, somewhere who is better than I at it. I’m ok with that. I do however, like the ownership of having something that is mine.
For years after that comment I avoided letting my writing be seen. I ‘blogged’ before it was called blogging under a fake name on of all sites, Livejournal! Yes, I was emo like that. I went through the rest of middle school and high school proofing my own papers, avoiding the critical eyes of others. I loved to write and I was afraid that criticism would take the joy out of just being able to let my fingers fly over the keys and leave my thoughts behind them.
I was fortunate to have wonderful teachers in college. I minored in English because by sixteen I couldn’t keep my nose out of books or my hands off keyboards long enough to care about much else. I wasn’t sure I wanted to (or would be able to) make a career out of either, but I was sure I wanted to soak up as much literary knowledge and new writing skills as possible. In high school I was already taking 3 college classes per semester in downtown Indy. My first writing teacher was incredible. She had a way of giving me just the right amount of creative criticism so that I could improve without dampering my spirit. She and the peers I was finally forced to allow to read my work encouraged me to keep writing. I did.
Reading and writing didn’t come naturally too me as I have (self diagnosed) dyslexia. I see things backwards and you should have heard me try to read aloud as a kid! I hated reading as a child since everyone seemed to be faster than me and as I’ve confessed in previous entries, I’m a wee bit (cough) competitive. Over time it got easier and more natural and with that came more confidence. To this day I’m a slower reader and when I get tired I can’t read straight.
After taking every English class I could get my hands on in college while still getting done my classes for my major, my love to writing only grew. After moving to Florida I started to get my feet on the ground and have confidence in who I was becoming. With that eventually came blogging in the open, as me. It’s been a smooth transition into writing not only knowing that other people would see it but wanting them too. Blogging really is much more fun when people are reading it.
That person may have been right about my wirting abilities not being anything special, but in one year 13,000 people have read what I have to say anyway. So as I’ve come to see it now, people can only hold you down as far as you let them. Their words are only powerful if you let them fuel the fire of your insecurities. I don’t write to be the greatest writer that’s ever written. I write for me and for those of you who loyally read.