I was twelve and submerged in the hormonal morass that is adolescence. I was an overachiever - exceptional student (adored by teachers, cursed by my peers), a ballerina studying at one of the best ballet schools in NYC, a model, an actress, an avid reader...and I was rapidly becoming a loner full of self-loathing.
I was the only child of color in my elementary and dance schools. The only child of a single mom in a neighborhood where large families were the norm and divorce was taboo. The little-me of an alcoholic father who could not love himself. I was too sensitive, too emotional, too concerned with what others thought of me.
A marble black and white, college-ruled notebook (the first of dozens) became my confidant, my holder of secrets and fears, of dreams and desires. Of sappy, lovesick poetry. Of philosophical musings and political reflections. My writing became a source of both self-discovery and catharsis.
As an adult, my journal writing transitioned to creative writing, especially after I married and my husband thought he should be able to read my journals. I kept a journal of my son’s life from birth to eighteen, but have not kept one of my personal journey in thirty years.
Instead, I have boxes full of novels I spent some fifteen years writing and re-writing, as I wrestled with the myriad trials of career, marriage, family, and child-rearing as well as mulptile suicides that somehow stayed the razors in my hand while lighting creative fires.
Writing made my life bearable.
It still does.
Earlier this month, I made my mom cry after she read a piece that had won a challenge on Prose. Her response made me happy. It was the first time she reacted so strongly to one of my stories.
I'd like to do that again.