Sometimes I find myself wondering if I’m a good person. I used to wonder if I was a good woman because that’s all I thought was important, as a girl: Who I was to other people and what I meant to/did for them, but then I learned that there’s more to me than my gender and what people expect of me because of it.
I am a lot of things at the same time, but above all else, at the forefront of my experience on this Earth, I am a Black female writer.
That I am, all the time.
I don’t recall a time when I wasn’t.
I used to love reading. God, how I adored books! No one ever needed to force me to read something, by the time they got around to recommending it I was probably already done. I was so into reading that I would read the labels on things in the bathroom to calm down and release when I was constipated.
They soothed me. They taught me. They raised me.
As for being a writer… I can’t say whether or not I’ve always been a writer. I have always written, but with no urgency. It was a hobby, a habit, just a thing.
It wasn’t until my early teen years that I found myself gravitating towards it as a form of expression. I had a tiny journal I used to try make my best friend a la American High School movies. I even did the whole “Dear Diary” thing and everything.
I stopped that for a while after my mother found [Well, not really.. It wasn’t hidden or anything but you know] and read it. She wasn’t too impressed with the one part where I called her a bitch for asking me to do my homework so I thought it best to keep my thoughts to myself. In my defense I was a shitty teenager [those two words together are redundant, I’ve come to learn] doing what shitty teenagers do.
So I stopped actually writing and went about my life: Going to school, hanging out,flashing my bra and learning how to handle alcohol. Learning the habits of legends like drinking and pondering the meaning of life and stuff.
A year later I found myself “in love” with a boy and absolutely infatuated with a bunch of others. I thought “This is my first real romantic dilemma” and documented this time in a series of cryptic poems I find myself unable to decipher now.
They’re terrible by the way, as only teenage poems can be.
Anyway, I grew, and wrote, and fucked up, and repeated that process.
I sometimes sit and think about my relationship with words and the trials we’ve faced, both at my hand and due to other people. The many times we’ve been apart and how I always somehow end up writing, reading and loving: Immersed in them.
When I was in Grade 6 I checked this beautiful book out from the library. Something about Witchcraft in Louis the something’s court [The Affair of the Poisons, I looked it up]. It wasn’t about the content of the book, although I’ve always had a fascination with the ghoulish, I just really liked the cover. The shade of purple on it tickled me to no end.
But see, that wasn’t a good enough reason to have such a book in my parents’ house, according to them.
“You’re bringing the Devil into our house!” I recall my father bellowing. My mother was equally unimpressed, but quiet. He went on for an hour or so, contemplating sending me to church “for deliverance”, then left me to my own devices, but not before telling me that I was to stop reading anything that wasn’t on the curriculum.
It was ridiculous, but I began hiding books, lying about them being recommended to me by teachers because I was so far ahead of everyone else [I sort of was though] and the whole thing was just really dumb.
That was then.
I grew and learned what I could leave lying around and what needed to be hidden, but I don’t think I’ve really forced down and accepted that that happened. That my parents at some point tried to get me to stop reading all books for an indefinite period of time.
There’s still resentment there, no matter how many times I try to rationalize their reaction to myself.
Then I became a teenager, as I said, and stopped myself from writing. It was uncool, it was time consuming for someone who just wanted to lay about and it was too fucking honest.
I didn’t want to bother with it.
Over the next four years or so of High School I’d randomly scribble when I felt overwhelmed, of course, but it was really inconsistent and usually just trash about boys.
Who though about hobbies beyond the school curriculum then? Not I, nor my friends, we were D cups, dammit. Who the fuck cared about all that other mess? Not we.
High School ended and we straightened our backs and prepared to enter Varsity. IGCSE certificates in hand, Bad Bitch aspirations in mind, we soldiered on.
And ran straight into brick walls, individually. Everyone ended up in their own personal Hell.
For the first time in my life I was indecisive, feeling stupid, lost and trapped. This would be when my issues with depression began, in all honesty.
They say you “find yourself” as you grow, and maybe some people do but I think a lot of us do more losing than anything else and at some point find ourselves far from anything recognizable and lacking the energy plot a way back.
In a space of three years or so I was involved in and left an abusive relationship, dropped out of school twice and drank enough vodka to shame a few old Russian alcoholics. Everything was shitty. I didn’t know if my life had meaning, no less if I wanted to go back to school, and I was hanging onto… actually, fuck if I know.. Probably more drinking, to be honest.
And that’s when I started this blog.
I was just trying to figure some shit out. I needed to talk and couldn’t find the words, nor the people to listen, so I did what came naturally.
These posts have kept me alive, sometimes literally. I have broken down while writing and after, due to certain things I simply couldn’t address, certain truths revealed.
Words have comforted and nurtured me at my lowest.
I have told many truths here and said a lot of things I cannot express sometimes because of the environment[s] I find myself in.
This place, my job, what started out as a hobby has been my life, in more ways than one.
While going through the terrible poems I used to write a few years ago [I will probably say the same thing of this post, one day] I read one that stated “I don’t know who I am, what’s going on or why I’m even alive..” A part of me hurt, to know that I used to feel that way, but a bigger part of me wanted to text the old me and tell her we turned out just fine.
That we figured it out.
No it’s not a fucking glamorous job, it’s never easy when people want to dismiss what you do as a hobby, ask anyone in the arts, but man, I love two things in my life: This here, and my brother.
Everything else is just extra.
Writing gives me peace of mind. It hurts sometimes, other times I feel like I shouldn’t even bother, to be honest, but I do it anyway.
And few things feel as good as knowing it touched somebody’s life, because I know what it’s like to not be able to articulate what I need to get out. To feel like no one relates. To be stuck, in a vacuum.
I get more support from strangers on the net than I do from many people in my life. I will probably never meet many of my readers, but I appreciate a lot of you, on all platforms.
You help me do what I do when I feel like I can’t/shouldn’t.
You help me heal, sometimes.
I have a difficult time doing what I do when I think about what those who didn’t get/chose not to create the lives they wanted have to say about it, so I rarely do, but sometimes it gets on my mind and stays there for too long, an unwanted Sunday visitor.
This has been one of those weeks.
But if I’ve learned anything it’s that you love what you love, even when it hurts and when you’re ridiculed for it. [This only applies for things that can’t speak, as far as I’m concerned.]
I appreciated this.
I appreciate you.
And that’s all that matters.