|I’ve questioned myself a million times “Why do you write?”|
I recall doing writing prompts for state tests in elementary school and having my 3rd grade teacher tell me that I was a great writer. At the time, I was pretty cocky already because at that age I felt like I was the smartest kid in the world. Nonetheless, life takes over and reality set in when I was placed in a gifted program in the 4th grade.
When you’re used to your surroundings it’s easy to be comfortable and feel immortal sometimes. But the real challenges come when you are pulled out of the comfort of your own environment and forced to communicate with people who do not have the same background as you, and therefore they don’t think like you.
So, there I was…Coming from an elementary classroom where my peers were predominately Black and Hispanic to a middle school classroom where I was the ONLY minority. These kids were talking about mind benders, stocks, medieval times, and a bunch of stuff that went over my head. I was so out of place. I thought to myself, “Damn, I thought I was smart, but these kids are smart-smart.” I eventually quit because I couldn’t stand it.
Fast forward to when I attended middle school for real and my whole world was just a mess. From my hormones as a pre-teen to me battling some personal demons, I had lost my juice. I no longer felt as smart as I once felt. I did enough to pass (which was still great now that I’m looking back on it). But I know that I could’ve done so much better.
High school was even worse. I barely applied myself and still became a part of the National Honor Society. But I would often wonder how. I never felt that I deserved any of the accolades that came my way.
College was the same way. I attended an HBCU (Historically Black College/ University) and graduated summa cum laude. Still, I felt that I could do more than I had done. My peers would often congratulate me, and I appreciated the support, but it made me even more upset.
Let me put this in a simpler perspective. In environments where I was among my own (minorities) I was intelligent without even fully applying myself. But in an environment where I was among others (majorities) I was barely scratching the surface of their definition of intelligence. It bothered me a lot. Until this past year, I was still frustrated about it.
So, what changed?
Well, after getting married, having 3 children, and quitting my job to spend more time with them, I also had more time to think. My thoughts weren’t always pleasant (I’m still a work in progress) but I did come to the realization that I was caught up in a web of feeling worthless due to that instance in elementary school and many more instances where a White child/adult was viewed as more superior. Not to mention how all the history books are written. Better yet, the history books that they spoon feed to us before we’re even able to read on our own.
But when I decided to home school my oldest child, I made a vow to myself that I would not pass that feeling of inferiority to her or my younger daughters. And to be sure that I kept my promise, I had to dig deep within myself and fix my way of thinking.
Truth is, I’ve always had a certain confidence about myself on the surface. But underneath, I was always wondering if I was good enough. Now, I don’t even wonder. Especially when it comes to my writing.
There is no code to writing when you write with feeling and from experience. No one can tell you that you’re wrong if you have an opinion different from someone else.
There is no right or wrong answer in a poem. My short stories or novels belong to me. No standardized test, degree or any other accolade can define the amount of effort I put into my craft or the emotion that drives me to publish my work.
Why do I write?
Maybe because it is natural for my thoughts to come out on a page as opposed to me stumbling over my words with my tongue pushing against the gap in my teeth as I try to find the right words to say.
When I write, I’m not thinking about what anyone else feels but me. If you vibe with it, that’s cool. If not, that’s cool too. Writing is my outlet. Writing is my escape from every thought or situation that told me I was not good enough.
When I write, I am who I am, unapologetically. And as a Black woman, wife, and mom, I will continue to write my truths and encourage others to only look within themselves for acceptance and nowhere else.
It’s a new year, but I have the same agenda. I am going to write, and write, and write to save myself, my husband, my children, and you from any negativity that makes you feel like you can’t, because you can.
#strongandgifted, #keepwriting, #youcan, #unapologeticallyme, #2021agenda, #blackandproud, #HBCU, #stayathomemom, #homeschool, #zerotohero