Why am I blogging?
Why am I writing?
I don’t know. It must have something to do with being “Yappity”, as my father nicknamed me that one night.
I will admit that when I was about, oh, twelve years old, I decided that I wanted to become a writer. I was a total bookworm. I was a complete story junkie. I even wrote a poem around that age about books that expressed how I felt about the world of literature. I would spend hours playing with my Fisher-Price toys making up all sorts of scenarios. This family in the yellow dollhouse had a feud with the family that lived above the barber shop in the village. This boy in the schoolhouse had a crush on the girl who lived in the chalet. Yeah. I had that many Fisher-Price toys. And I played with them until I was eleven. At which time, my friend’s older sister started making fun of me for it, and I reluctantly packed them all away.
I was an introvert. Very much so. I am an only child. I used to think that this particular circumstance factored into my avoidance of social life, but now that I’ve had two children of my own, both of whom detest any sort of attention whatsoever, I see that it may simply be a genetic tendency. My husband, too, is an introverted person. Double whammy for my offspring.
Wait. A “yappity” introvert?
I might have been a bit of an introvert (my mother, an extrovert, was constantly trying to get me to be more “social”; pushing me to play with other kids in our apartment complex; pushing me to get out of my room, out of my books, out of my “selfish” playing alone with my toys. I think she now regrets it; now that she knows those kids were most definitely NOT good influences…) but, still, I wanted to be able to express myself somehow. I wanted to write. I wanted to be an artist. It was the perfect solution.
So, I had this idea in my head from a pretty early age that I was going to write. I was going to write about all sorts of things – because I also had an innate sense of justice/injustice that I wanted to address. I didn’t have the confidence to vocalize it to those around me, so putting it in writing seemed the way to go.
Becoming A Writer became my secret identity. (Is it any wonder that “Harriet the Spy” was one of my favorite childhood books?) I began keeping journals (which are no longer in existence; a subject for a different post). But somewhere in Junior High, that hope, that dream, of being a writer, and the confidence that I would someday achieve it, started to crack apart.
Ms. Baker. Yep. I am going to use her real name. Ms. Baker and her red marker and her red question mark next to the A that she – oh so reluctantly! – gave me on a story I was formulating in the writing journal that she assigned us to create.
She questioned the authenticity of the story I was writing. “Original??” she wrote in the column – next to the “A”. I was called in to talk to her after class. A humiliating, confusing, interrogation. And that interrogation stayed with me, followed me, haunted me, the rest of my life. It made me question my ability to be original, to have an original idea, to be able to write well enough, to be good enough, to be “true” enough….
It was the beginning to the end of my ambition.
It was also an unfortunate coincidence that I had the makings in my brain chemistry at that time for the development of Depression. Clinical Depression.
Yeah. Couple that with puberty and what do you get?
A hot mess.