It would be a misnomer to say “I have decided to become a writer.” Because the truth is, I have always been a writer. And in retrospect, the source of my discontent these last few years may have been, at least partly, denial of that truth.
I am not a religious person, but writing is my God-given talent. It always has been and always will be. It’s what I was put on this earth to do. Some people are good with numbers, with objects, with people or abstract concepts. I am good with words. How do I know this? I can’t articulate it; I just know.
As a teenager I wrote ferociously with the burden of the world upon me, filled with all the teen angst one could imagine. Rereading those words now, I am moved by the passion and emotion I once displayed.
For many more years I used words as a weapon to protect myself against real and imaginary threats. My words were biting, stinging against those who challenged or didn’t agree with me. I wrote less in those years, projecting my anger and pain onto others instead of a blank page where they belonged. Still, I had talent, however misused.
And then I began to lose my voice. My days were filled with corporate speak and politics and buzz words that held no meaning. Straight talk was frowned upon; the truth, obscured with euphemisms and caveats. At one job, there was no appetite for creativity or imagination; at another, no time. My evenings and weekends were spent in exhaustion, recovering from the office and staying as far away from a computer as I could. I had no energy or mental capacity left to write.
It never occurred to me, until now, that maybe there was a better way. That maybe I could be exhilarated, not exhausted by the way I made a living. I am no longer embittered with teen angst, and I no longer use my words as weapons, but I haven’t been able to let go of the desire to express myself, freely, and with a frankness and imagination that’s been sorely lacking from my life.
I am a writer, and it terrifies me. What now?
Writers, they are known for being poor, reclusive, eccentric. For being excessive coffee drinkers and chain smokers. For owning a lot of cats. Sadly, there is a grain of truth in every stereotype, but even if I became the most famous writer in the world, I don’t want to be a crazy old cat lady who never leaves the house.
And on that note, “what now?” can be answered another day. I’m going outside for some fresh air. (Notebook and pen with me, of course, just in case.)