Let self-rediscovery guide you to authentic living and working in a post-pandemic world.
When I was in sixth grade, my language arts teacher asked us to write a story in our journals. I think it was Halloween or something. When the time was up, she asked if anyone wanted to share. I raised my hand, and I read my story to the class. After I finished, I heard whispers from around the room.
That was really good.
Wow, that’s way better than mine.
I didn’t know she could write like that.
Nobody did. I had been writing for as long as I could remember. Journaling, stories, poems, everything. It was all just for me, though. It was something that I loved and something I had never shared with anybody else until that day.
As my teacher dismissed us, she asked me to stay back for a moment. She asked me what classes I was in and if I was in any ‘honors’ classes. I told her that I was in honors reading, and she told me she thought I needed to be in honors writing, too. The very next day I had a new schedule.
I loved my new class. I felt challenged by the work and by my new classmates. I felt motivated to improve and do better and to share what I could do. Above all, I felt proud.
I felt proud when my dad came to parent-teacher conferences and mused with my teachers that maybe I would be a journalist. I felt proud when I got to tell my mom that my short story had been published in The Columbus Dispatch. I felt proud when I was selected to write competitively in a program called Power of the Pen.
I felt like me. And I felt seen. Two things that I wouldn’t feel again for a very long time.
I believe it must be a rite of passage to have something that you love, something that you feel defines you, muddled or muted in some ugly way until you put it away and pretend it doesn’t exist. That’s what happened to my writing.
Awkward and/or traumatic experiences in your formative years are not an anomaly, and I certainly had my fair share of them- sometimes I think more so than the average damaged adult. After a series of critically defining events, I forgot that day in sixth grade ever happened. I forgot what it was like to feel challenged…