I was thinking about how I first got into writing a couple days ago. I thought it happened in college, when I decided to major in English, when I realized that I was taking more writing classes than surveys. It was a big part in me becoming a writer. If it wasn’t for college, I wouldn’t have realized I had a talent for it, but it wasn’t the first time I wrote.
The first time–naturally–has a story to it. Here it is:
Growing up in my family was–I don’t want to say tough–very difficult. My father isn’t easy to please and is incredibly strict. My mother was my source of safety, but there were times where she had no choice but to back my father up. And in my family, if you are upset, you can’t express it. Incredibly tough, nearly impossible for someone not even ten years old, me.
If you’ve read some of my non fiction work, you’ll know I have a brother with a severe case of autism and down syndrome, and another on the spectrum, but for the most part, normal. We won’t focus on the latter.
My brother, Peter, feeds off our emotions. He doesn’t need to know why we’re happy or sad to laugh or cry. Innocence at its finest. I’ll always love him for it. But it also ruined me in the long term. I was always very emotional. I always cried. And I always got in trouble for it, or was told to go away and cry so my brother can’t see.
One day, when I was very little, I don’t remember exactly what I was doing, but I know I hurt myself playing in the house. It was enough for me to cry. My parents rush in, making sure I’m okay. I remember that I wasn’t so I started crying louder. My brother was in the room next to me and heard me. I was told to calm down, so I don’t upset Peter.
It was already too late. He heard enough. Tears started coming down his face, and my mother tried to comfort him, but he started yelling and scratching. When she backed off, he got worse and started hitting his head against the wall as hard as he can. It was loud enough to hear through the wall and into the living room. I was still upset, but that no longer mattered.
My parents went from trying to comfort me to being forced to yell at me. My sadness immediately turned to anger. I never hated them more in my life. But there was no way to express it. I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t yell back. I needed a way to let it out. I couldn’t bottle it up anymore.
I went into my basement and started to draw. I was always horrible, I still am, and never enjoyed it as much as I wished I had. I don’t know what happened after, or what inspired me–a muse found me, maybe–but I just started writing. The paper was messy and I couldn’t find any looseleaf. I didn’t want to check my father’s desk and mess anything up, so I used computer paper. I even drew my own lines on the paper with a ruler. I was dedicated, in another world where something like this is normal. I wrote down everything that happened, similar to what I’m doing right now.
I poured my heart out onto that piece of paper. I couldn’t stop it. I was even scared at how easy it was. I knew I had to, though, if I wanted to feel better. When I was done, I read it over, and liked what I had done. I couldn’t throw it out, but I couldn’t just keep it lying around for someone to find. So I hid it. Near my dad’s desk, of course.
I don’t know how long it took for them to find it. But I know they did because the next time I got in trouble, my mother decided to call me out on it, telling me not to do that again. At the time, it was just an idea. I had no urgency to write again. What I hated more was the fact that she found it. Telling me not to write wasn’t a big deal. I was I can’t do what I want my entire life. So that was the last time I wrote for a long time. Not until college, did I start writing again, and not until a year after I graduated, did i realize that this was the original reason.
Why did I write this now? I bet you can guess. Something shitty just happened, again. I’m not going to get into it yet. If I’m not too tired when I get home from work, I’ll write something for you guys. This is going to sound terrible and depressing and cliche, but you really don’t learn who you are until you hit rock bottom, where things get so bad, you truly believe there’s no way out. But then you find a way out. My way is with paper and pen–in this case a keyboard, but you know what I mean. I won’t let what happened get to me because I know what I have to do. I will move forward because I have no other choice. It’s a constant battle not feeling selfish for having feelings. I haven’t won yet, but I will.
When did you first realize you were a writer?