It is Defining Me

Can you define it? Put it in a little display box up on a shelf? Feel the numbness it leaves pricking at your fingertips? Hear it in the hoarse of your voice when someone catches you daydreaming about it? Listen to the way every other thing sounds like you are under water when you are contemplating it. Does it plague you with sleepless nights or in my case, mornings? How many times a day is too much? Watch the leaves dancing and dream they are speaking to you. Hear the whispers of strangers as they pass by you on a foreign street. Even your cup of coffee has turned against you. The very deliciousness you seek in it’s warmth invades your heart. There is no hiding from it. The sweet diligence that is that forever hum in your ear. There is no escape. Be sure to hold your head above that water. Be sure to catch these feelings in your chest, like the last breath in your lungs before death. Yes, I can define it. Or better yet, it is defining me.
The earliest memory I have about it was when I was in middle school. I have never been good at math, so I took to reading and occasionally writing. I got honorable mention for an essay I wrote about Martin Luther King Jr. I didn’t win. I didn’t even get second place. Yet, somehow, I felt things brewing inside of me. These things came in waves. I remember in middle school, my friend, who rarely passed out compliments, told me I was a good writer. I remember thinking, “why did she say that?” She had no reason to tell me that. I’m sure she never read a single thing I wrote. She believed in me though. Besides my parents, she may have been the first.
High school was different. I had a serious boyfriend who didn’t enjoy reading or writing. I worked hard to keep my grades up and somehow the stories in English class always interested me the most. This was also a very emotional time for me, as my parents divorced and of course things changed. If I would have written during that time, I’m sure it would have been dark and angry. Then, when I started college, I thought I had to be a nurse. If you become a nurse, you are guaranteed a job and a paycheck. I did my first year of prerequisites while I was on the waiting list for the program. I remember about two weeks before classes started in the fall, I had this disgusting, sinking feeling. I went to the registrar’s office and took my name off the list for the nursing program. I didn’t want to be a nurse. I hated blood. Next, I transferred to a small private college and pretty soon, my major was journalism. I did radio shows, I worked at the newspaper and I interned at the television station in my hometown. After graduation, I had that prick of excitement about moving somewhere new. I just knew that there was some tiny little cubical, at some tiny little newspaper, with my name on it in Texas or North Dakota or even Alaska. I wanted adventure. I wanted to live and most of all, I wanted to write. I must have sent out 7,251 résumés. I got zero job offers. Fast forward a few years and here I am.
I want to write. I love to write. I. Must. Write. I need to be that face and byline that lines the inside of your recycling bin. I’m not old. People change their careers when they are 60. I don’t see any reason why I can’t find mine before I’m 30. Until then, don’t take offense if you have to repeat something you have said to me. I’m not tuning you out, not on purpose.



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