Does Writing Make a Writer?

It’s not a simple idea for me to own being a writer.  I never wanted to be a writer.  It wasn’t something that was ever who I am or in my bones.  I didn’t breathe in every moment knowing this is who I am.  It just happens.  Words come out.  It feels better.

I was a scientist once.  There was a moment when the world in perfect excellence shattered for me and I was a scientist.  I fell deeply in love with Geology and I wanted to be a rock doctor.  I wanted to climb mountains and camp along active volcanoes and wear that big, shiny suit to take measurements.  I wanted to pick up and analyze rocks.  I wanted to weigh and measure and even bite dirt to see what the grains felt like.  I was a scientist. And I still stick rocks in my pocket.

To know me is to think of me with every sensory caress of the ocean; every rock that looks special; every butterfly that floats by.

Being a scientist at the time didn’t really take in the needs of a young family.  I couldn’t leave my family for field trips to study the earth and really thought about taking them with me.  I didn’t have the security of knowing that I could leave and their Dad could run the house.  This sounds harsh, but if you think about my first childbirth, it makes sense.  I had Kid1.  My ex got food poisoning and when I got home from the hospital, I had to make my own dinner.  I hit the ground running from that moment on.  I’d be hospitalized, and get home with laundry waiting for me.  I wasn’t allowed to lift a laundry basket and my help looked like someone willing to carry the laundry basket to and from the laundry room, but I was still on my own for everything else.  I couldn’t see leaving my family to study the earth as an option.

Then there was the math.  I struggled with math in the 3rd grade when I was suppoed to be memorizing multiplication tables.  It wasn’t just the math. It was at a time when I was sitting at a desk next to a boy that kept touching my legs and wanting to explore grown things.  I was curious too.  My teacher never noticed. I was not at all focused on math.  Not having that foundation, I struggled.  By the time I got through college level algebra with 2 kids and one on the way, it started to look impossible.  I was facing chemistry, calculus, and physics, and it seemed impossible when I had to fit homework in after my family fell asleep.  I imagined getting through with really bad grades and I wanted better.  I wanted an easier major.  I was no longer a scientist, but I fell into being an english major.

English and literature were easier for me.  I loved reading from the time I would steal my sister’s trashy bodice ripping romance novels.  I loved literary porn from the 8th grade, not realizing how much I was warping my ideals of love and romance and real relationships.  I got older and had  a family of my own and would spend hours reading books as an escape.  Some days I would read 3 novels in a day, forgetting to eat, and barely feeding my family.  The housework would sit.  I was in bed reading, while my ex was watching television, and it was okay to run away without leaving.

When I was in the 10th grade I started keeping a journal.  It started after a breakup and became a place to pour out all of my darkness.  I would write and forget about what was bothering me.  That first journal was full of terrible men jokes.  When I got married, at first I thought it was okay to share everything, so I did.  When you share what is hurting you in a way where it was written only for you, it can look hurtful and mean, even if that was never the intention.  I began keeping my journal to myself, but the new boundary was never honored.  I stopped writing.  At one point, I had several entries a day and it was a cleansing ritual.  It became sporadic.  I remember writing an entry after a 4 year gap.  I would write for healing, but it was covered in shame. Then it was hidden, because I couldn’t own how I felt.

In the months where I was still trying to save my marriage, I destroyed and threw away over 20 years of journals.  This was at a time when I couldn’t write.  I was trying to write creatively, and I couldn’t string together a paragraph.  I felt like my writing killed my marriage and I couldn’t get it out because I was so broken.  I tried starting a new journal. I wanted it to be new and not include the dark, but more optimism.  It was easier to not write. I tried writing a story and got bored while writing.  Why would anyone want to read what I’m too bored to write?

In February of this year I started blogging here.  It was free therapy.  My words made me feel better.  It was more positive because bashing people isn’t what I want to do and knowing the words are for someone else means I am held accountable by faceless numbers of blog hits and subscriptions.

But I still haven’t stepped into being a writer.  I blog.  It’s a hobby.  My Dad identifies himself as a writer, and I never liked what that looked like to me.  He was writing and I wanted to snuggle.  His dreams came with disappointment. Writers are made for rejection.  It becomes great material. I think that’s why I’m in love with falling in love and my superficial crushes mean more to me than the men actually did.  It might be why I still refer to them as boys.

One day I might call myself a writer.  Today I own the fact that the words I string together can be compelling.  Much like a train wreck. It’s enough.

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