I am not a writer, but I do write.
When I was a teenager I used to write angsty poems about boys. I also wrote said boys intense love letters that I would never send. I wrote in journals at this point. Journals I still have. Journals I hide. I still feel embarrassed to let anyone read them. I guess it’s because somewhere inside of me I am still that chubby girl who feels the sting from loving and never being loved in return. So when I was a teenager my favorite part about writing was having a place to put these feelings of sadness, loneliness, and rejection.
When I was first in college I wrote many an essay on feminism and women’s lives. Believe it or not, at age 19 I knew all about what it was like to be a woman. Sometimes I discovered a little something about myself, but self-reflection was not really my goal. I was too busy with the important work of being a young feminist and making my mark on feminism. I didn’t realize I had to know myself in order to be a good feminist. As I worked toward my bachelor’s degree at Ithaca College, my focus had switched from feminism in general to the broader reach of sociology. I wrote a lot of heady work about the connection between race, class, and gender oppression. I became interested in politics, and I really thought I could change the world. At this point I wrote of course because I had to. But my writing really made me feel powerful. To be studying these concepts and being able to effectively break them down to people who knew nothing about them made me thirst for more. I wanted to go to grad school and write and talk about race, class, and gender oppression forever. I wanted to be a writer.
And then I didn’t get into the grad school I wanted to go to, and I kind of gave up hope. And then I got married. And then I got pregnant with a surprise baby. And then all I wanted to do was be home with my surprise baby. So now, somewhere between five and ten years post-college, I have done a lot of things that do not include writing. I brought two beautiful babies into the world. I have crafted countless amounts of baby clothes, tutu’s, and greeting cards. I have schooled myself in graphic and web design and marketing so I can have a career that is satisfying and that will allow me to stay at home. I was fortunate to land a job as a freelance researcher and blogger, which got me back into writing. It was boring and I don’t do the blogging part anymore. But just getting back into writing every day gave the confidence I needed to blog for myself. I thought I wanted to rediscover myself as a witty, self-effacing mommy blogger. And I still kind of do, but after doing some writing and reflecting on my life I have realized that I don’t really know myself at all. Life has happened, and I’ve lived through it without giving it much thought. Writing for me now means a lot more because I have the confidence to discover who I am and share it with the world. Writing now is about having a conversation with myself and with my readers. It is about storytelling; telling the gory details about what it is like to be a wife and a mother, and still hold myself and everyone else together. Writing is about connection; being part of a support system and a cheerleader for other women. Writing for me now is about self-discovery.
I am a writer, because I write.