But I Didn't Know
I was at a crisis point in my life, and something had to change.
After college, graduate school, a career I struggled to be passionate about, marriage, children, and being frustrated about not knowing, I had to find the thing I was uniquely created to do. I was tired of being lost, wandering the road of life, and feeling like an Israelite trying to get to my version of the Promised Land.
Laying across my bed one night, journaling as I had done so many times before about my unhappiness, something began to click. One of my greatest joys came from what I was doing at that moment, using my words to create. I began to be flooded with memories of my childhood writings and went to retrieve from my closet “the blue bag” that held everything I had ever written.
As I read college essays and the coveted front-page article I wrote for my high school newspaper, I began to think that maybe the writer's life was possible. Was it possible if I only believed it was and stopped being afraid of it?
My earliest childhood memories are of me with my favorite companions: books, paper, and pens. I have always loved to read and write. My favorite things are beautiful journals, fancy paper, the perfect writing instrument, libraries, and bookstores. At family gatherings, someone always tells the story about how I never went anywhere without a book, which is still true to this day.
But… I did not know that I was supposed to be a writer.
As I continued to reflect that night, the memories that flooded my mind were continuous and numerous. They kept showing up, one after the other, clear and vibrant.
Growing up, I would faithfully watch my two favorite shows, Little House on the Prairie and Good Times. I would sit in front of the little-colored television that was in our kitchen, watching Laura and Mary as they walked home from school talking about “mean old Nellie Olsen.” Then I would see what was going on with the Evans family on Good Times, as they struggled to make it in a Chicago housing project. Strikingly diverse television shows for a little nine-year-old girl who paid very close attention to what was happening on the little screen. Afterward, I would write detailed summaries about each episode on my yellow, lined school paper.
In seventh grade, I won first place and a $100 savings bond for my essay on Martin Luther King Jr., A victory that I savored because my essay beat out the smartest boy in the entire seventh grade. My creative output was diverse. I wrote poems, short stories and journaled as if my life depended on it. I wrote for my high school newspaper, dreamed of attending Syracuse University’s School of Journalism, and held aspirations of becoming editor in chief of Seventeen Magazine. My first job was even working in the office of the local town newspaper after school.
The signs were there, and so was my purpose, but… I did not know I was supposed to be a writer.
Sometimes you have to get lost in your life to find your life. I was like the cars you see on the side of the road broke down and abandoned. It seemed I abandoned my dreams, but for some reason, my dreams had not abandoned me. Though my life looked like I had strayed away from that of a writer, when I looked back that night, I realized that along with the written pieces from high school and college that had been meticulously saved in manila folders in “the blue bag”; there were other writings from my adult years taking up space in those folders too. Poems that had a more mature tone to them, a play that I had written for a church Christmas program one year, short stories, and other pages filled with scribbles of ideas for books and magazine articles.
But… I did not know I was supposed to be a writer.
That night something shifted. A new sense of clarity came to me in a way in which I never experienced. The writing thing… it began to make sense. The missing piece of the puzzle, the answer to my frustrations and misdirection in life, had been with me all along. I was having my “aha” moment. My purpose had been determined, and when I looked back at the path behind me, I could see that it was paved with the words of a writer. The road signs had been pointing me in my right direction, and that night I realized that I needed to follow the path to wherever it was leading. I needed to make writing a central part of my daily life.
I did not know. All I knew is that I needed to do something. After all, who walks around with titles for books and articles if they are not supposed to write those books and articles?The something I choose was to start a blog.
With fear and frustration, I followed through on my idea for the blog. For someone who primarily wrote in secret and rarely shared her work with anyone, the thought of publishing my writings and release them into the unknown was terrifying, to say the least. And for someone who was technologically challenged, the prospect of venturing into the world of social media was not high on my list. My interactions with computers up until that point was limited to emails, googling directions or some other piece of information I needed, infrequent texting, and the occasional scrolling of blogs.
My learning curve was steep. A self-taught study of the blogging world, the perfecting of initial posts, a commitment to writing, and my refusal to let fear win led to my site in March 2015 and the journey towards fulfilling my dreams.
Sometimes writing is hard. It challenges me. It stretches me. It forces me to look at myself, especially the parts I would rather keep hidden. But what I know now is that writing is the thing I must do. The books I carried around as a child, the television summaries I would write, the journals I kept, and the dreams of being a writer I held in my heart for so many years ago; I now know this is what I am meant to do. And it is with the confident hope that putting words to paper will somehow make a difference in the lives of those who read what I create.
When did you know what you were created to do? Send me an email to share your story.
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