Expressing myself came very naturally, at a very young. In my eyes, everything I wrote was clear and glorious. Until I got to the Eight grade and placed in the lower level English class. I thought I was good at school. I thought I loved to read and write, until that year. I was thirteen and had no one to process any of the emotions that came with being ranked in the “slow” class. I spent all year trying to impress my English teacher by doing my homework on time, by working hard in class–as hard as an eighth grader filled with needs to be social and dream about her crush could.
As I grew as a learner, I began to slowly define myself as a hard worker–instead of an intelligent writer. I always said and even sometimes today say that I am not smart, I just work hard. You see my brother was the brains in the family, while I, the hard worker. Thus, through high school I began to neglect my English classes. I have three pieces of writing in all four years that I am proud of: The Canto I wrote in Mrs. McCool-Hennessey’s 10th grade Honors English Class, The Canterbury Tale I wrote in Mrs. Dibler’s 12th grade AP English class, and The Thoreau and Huck Finn Compare/Contrast Essay I wrote in Ms. Braxton’s 11th grade Honors English Class. Although as I write this, I realize that these were amazing works of writing, at the time I thought myself to be a failure. One who didn’t know how to write and had no clue how to get there, no matter the amount of work I put into it. Writing was such an abstract concept, one that even with teacher feedback, I had no way of figuring out how to become better.
“You just have to read a lot to become a better writer,” was my brother’s standard response, any time I grumbled about not getting the grade I wanted.
Uncertain about having what it takes to become an actor, I settled to major in English. At least I enjoyed reading, even if I wasn’t a good writer. I dreamily signed up each semester for English Lit. classes thinking, surely this semester I’ll show them. I made it through college with average grades and one memorable essay about The Color Purple. It was the first novel that lit an analytical fire inside of me, one that I could not put out until the essay had been written. Due to circumstances out of my control, however, I turned that paper in late and received a C / A on it. My professor had penalized me for turning it late with the C, but wanted me to see what I would’ve received, if it had been on time. It didn’t matter! I celebrated this A as if it were a real A, even though it didn’t have an impact on my actual grade. It was the first time that someone else had acknowledged my abilities as a writer. I’ll never forget one of the comments on this paper. It said: “Where was your passion in all your other essays?” We had read and written about Frost’s poetry which bored me and because it is sacrilege to even think this as an English major, I did the least amount of analysis needed for each essay about Mr. Frost’s poems.
In an unexpected turn of events, I became a middle school English teacher. A person who spends her days teaching students how to read, discuss, and write. I sometimes wonder what my former English teachers would think if they knew I became an English teacher. I often wondered, especially when I was a younger teacher, if I was fulfilling the “those who can’t teach” prophecy.
Then, on late winter/early spring eve in my small, but luxurious, Boston apartment, I got a notice on Facebook that alerted me that a friend of mine, K, had started her own blog to share her life experiences and grow from them. It occurred to me that I desperately wanted to do this for a almost year now, and had even created an account with WordPress, but hadn’t written a word from fear of the world scorning my abilities.
After reading K’s powerful writing that chronicled the complete truth about life, I sat down to write my first blog post and didn’t get up for two hours. Upon completion of my blog, I felt relieved like you do after a good yoga class or a good meditation. I clicked the blue publish button with a flourish and waited for the world to respond. It was here on WordPress that I began to believe in the possibility of myself as a writer. It was here on Color My Palate that I realized maybe, just maybe I could attempt to write a novel. It was here that I began to not just dream, but place each brick down one at a time to build my unrealized, undernourished dream to be a writer.
So as November and National Novel Writing Month and National Blog Posting Month approach , I begin to simultaneously feel that fire to write and fear that I am not a writer. I fear that I won’t have the time or the stamina as a teacher to blog or write everyday. I fear that no one will care or read what I write each day. I fear that I won’t have anything smart, funny, insightful to write about.
I once heard a famous young actress say that if she isn’t scared shit-less, then the film wasn’t worth it. So here I am declaring that I’m scared, but ready. I sit in my bed with a plan to hopefully execute posting everyday for NaBloPoMo this November.