When I was a young girl, I first discovered literature, then classic literature…and then at last, poetry.
The right poem will change a person’s life. For me, that poem was the Charge of the Light Brigade by Sir Alfred Tennyson. I believe I was in the seventh or eight grade the first time I heard it, and it touched something inside me – something deep, something aching to be recognized, something desperate to find a way out. When I first read this poem, I F E L T it. Prior to this, I had never experienced such emotion when reading anything.
As a teen, I was the picture of awkwardness. I didn’t feel comfortable in my body, I didn’t feel that I fit in with my peers at school, I had a hard time getting along with my parents, I didn’t get along with my sisters at home, despite the fact that we were very close in age. I felt out of place. Always. Even with close friends, I felt that something was missing, that I was constantly struggling to maintain the friendship. I felt socially inept for most of my teen years.
I was one of those, “no one understands me” teenagers. No one ever picked on me, I always had a group of friends and one or two best friends, but it didn’t even matter – I never felt “normal.” I already began to struggle with depression in the eight grade of middle school. I suffered from constant headaches, which the doctor attributed to stress about my upcoming SATs (for those of you who are not from my generation, the SATs were the tests we used to take before they came up with the FCATS). In high school, things only got worse. To add to my existing social issues was the problem of my parents being very over-protective; it only further alienated me from my peers.
When I discovered poetry, it was an outlet. It was an escape. It felt as though, through writing down those innermost thoughts and feelings, I was purging…releasing all of the hurt, the loneliness, the isolation, the misunderstanding. I was a very unhappy, depressed teenager. I considered suicide on more than one occasion, but I always knew that the unhappiness was temporary. I knew that once I got older and had more power, I could change the things that made me so unhappy. In the meantime, it was all about making it through the day, the best way I knew how.
Poetry was one of the one means I had for expressing myself in a very strict, religious household. I may not have always had someone to talk to about my feelings towards different things that happened in my life, but I was always free to write about it. Whereas I couldn’t always find the words to make my parents understand why I was so unhappy with our relationship, or ever make them see my point of view, or agree with me…while I may have always been powerless to change my environment, I was always able to expel some of the negativity that was welling up within me by writing about it.
I felt as though the words were crawling their way up my soul, clawing at me to me get out. I would spend hours on one verse, pouring over the dictionary and thesaurus, making sure that every word was perfect. Unlike in real-time life, I had a limitless amount of time to get each poem right. Once they were on paper, I always felt as though a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. It was as if I had exercised demons.
I continued writing throughout high school and into my early adulthood. I had a few little things published anonymously in girl’s magazines over the years, and I wish I had kept copies of them – all of those magazines have long since gone out of business. Once I was married, working, raising a child, well, it all sort of got in the way of writing. For so long, I had written as a means for unloading my sorrows. When I found happiness, I felt that I simply didn’t have anything to write about anymore. Employers would often comment on correspondence or business documents that I wrote – someone always noticed a certain flair for writing – but that was the extent of my writing.
After quite a few years, I began to feel a little lost. I had continued reading throughout my adulthood, but something was lacking in the creative arena. I had no outlet. I had overcome my social awkwardness and had close, personal relationships with many people over the years. I always had someone to talk to, some to understand (aside from my husband who is rather stoic)…but something just wasn’t right. I began to feel a little itch.
What makes writers want to write? I had never really thought about it until about two years ago. I wanted to write again, although I felt that I didn’t know how anymore. I began by writing haiku every now and then, just for myself. I began to read blogs and eventually began to blog myself.
I have a story to tell…I have many stories to tell. Some are true, some are fiction, but they are all beginning to grow impatient. I feel a big one, an important one, beginning to slowly make its way to the surface…