I was 11.
A little younger than some of my classmates; and imaginarily less “attractive” than girls who had convex flesh bracing their nipples, or the area between their waists and legs. That was all that mattered then. How old you were. How much fawning attention of the opposite sex you got. How well you could dance. How many people were in your “crew”, the weight of your social traction. Your grades were those things that made your parents buy the things you wanted. Or caused them to compare you to your siblings and other kids.
I was only 11.
And all I had were an interesting mind, good grades, and the ability to strings words and sentences together pretty enviably. So one day I wrote. But it wasn’t what they wanted to read, so they tore it. They also made fun of me. Dancing round me in circles, they chanted. And chanted. Till days became nights which faded into weeks. Till my nights became silent sobs into unyielding cotton sheets.
I was just 11.
And I’d finished writing two novels. Short stories, we would now call them. The unpublished beginning of dreams, nightmares, fantasies and frustrations. They became the last novels I ended. Books I’ld write in future became placations. The half-loaf cliché pronounces to be better than none.
One day Beau said writing owns me.
I kept quiet. Hated how close he’d hit home. I’d tried occupying life with other things, to spend time not writing the novel in my head. So I can just stay with my articles and story pieces. The things that don’t cause stirs. That don’t cause anyone to sing my name in lines of derisive chants. That don’t shed pain in bunched pillows…
A chapter a day. That’s today’s resolution.
And this is for you like me, with great dreams and haunting fears. Here’s my challenge to us both. That we do not live in fearsome shadows of adolescent mishaps. Because life needs us. It needs our dreams and our tales to truly be beautiful. To reach inked fingers and widen a stranger’s view. To widen their lips till their teeth flash at the sky, soothe their pains, resonate with their spirit… Name your fear and the shadows holding you back. Life is short. Too darn short to not live your dream, and there’s no better time to start than today.