Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language and mature content.
My experiences as a writer and learner so far are not necessarily pleasant or remarkable. As a writer, I recall ridicule the most. This ridicule came from my mother, dissecting and disapproving of my first few attempts to write creatively during middle school, which turned me into a writing recluse. I no longer share my works with my family directly; I only talk about them in theory, not what’s actually on the page or the inspiration behind it. There was ridicule from my classmates, teasing me and constantly trying to steal my work so they could read it, only to make fun of what I wrote out loud during class; from my former friends in a self-made creative writing guild, who shunned and disapproved my writing because it wasn’t as gothic or gory as theirs or tended to be more academic than theirs. Again, this reinforced my transition into a recluse. I also faced ridicule from my teachers, particularly Mrs. Utley and Mrs. Pryor, both of whom rolled up my academic works prepared for Advanced English 10 and AP English 11 and 12 and handed them back to me to “redo” because they didn’t agree with the topic I selected; also from my undergraduate professors, particularly Dr. Montgomery and Dr. Slobodchekov, who continually used passages from my works, both creative and critical, as poor examples or “what not to do’s” in class, when the truth boiled down to a difference in opinion, close-mindedness, and differing perspectives, since I had ample reference material to disprove them. The end result was ridicule from myself, for feeling like my writing is not good enough, that I will never be able to do more than journal or daydream through my fantasies and historical fictions, that my academic writing will never be anything more than just regurgitating what the teacher wants to hear, read, see, agree…
It wasn’t just writing, though. Reading was just as uncomfortable and discouraging, considering that my first memory of reading in school is my first grade teacher accusing me of cheating on the STAR Reading Level test, berating me in front of the entire class over it, making me retake it only to score the exact same grade twice, and then yelling at me when I tried to check out a third grade level book anyway - which was well within my STAR range. It took five teachers, four grade levels, countless trips with my mother to the public library and bookstores - since I avoided the school library like the plague after my first grade experience - and an antique gift from a stranger in Troy (and by antique, I mean a book published and printed in 1933, which I still have to this day) to inspire me to try reading for my own pleasure again. Even then, I hated reading. I told myself for years that I hated to read. And for the longest time, I actually believed it.
Until I met Tylor and began to explore reading and writing for my own personal uses and benefit, I hated English and was definitely not an advocate for it. Although I did read a lot, I convinced myself it was more of an obligation than anything. I hated it to the point that I willingly jumped into Pre-vet school, despite the fact that I maxed out the ACT English score and won every essay and playwriting contest I ever attempted. I have been exploring this stigma of mine for a couple of years, as I’m trying to get back into the passion of reading and writing. The truth that I have discovered is this: I have never actually hated reading and writing. On the contrary, they are part of who I am and how I navigate life. Personally, reading takes me away from uncomfortable situations and memories; it helps me understand and cope with things that other people have committed suicide over. Reading also inspires me and encourages me to seek truth and deeper knowledge in the world around me. Writing, for me, is my way to express myself wholly, without fear of ridicule from others or having to share uncomfortable and even painful memories out loud. Writing itself is silent expression. Blank pages and the backs of scratch paper know more about me and my life than even my closest relatives and friends. These pages understand me more because of the personal allegories that I put upon them.
Writing is my voice. Writing is my thoughts on a page. Writing is the salvation of my sanity.