As a child, I despised reading because I didn’t comprehend words as well as other kids and I struggled with spelling. I failed every spelling test and I could never sound out words. I found out, later on, I had a learning disability which I took extremely harshly.
There was a constant conflict in my head about what the right thing to do was. I found myself constantly wanting to prove to the world I was capable of Honors and AP courses. Though, I also knew that I was risking placing myself in a deeper rabbit hole – the thing was that I was constantly comparing myself to others. Most of my friend groups throughout my life dominated in accelerated courses. I envied my friends and desperately wished to find ways to get to this level of unrealistic ideals.
Every morning throughout middle school, my friends either went to the library or the computer and discussed their homework. It was always awkward for me since I was the only one not in accelerated classes besides math. Though, they were in advanced math too. I could never relate to them and it sucked to know that all my friends had classes together and I was the outsider. What bothered me more was that I thought the material I was learning was too easy for them and that they would think of me as unintelligent. Whenever I struggled, I refused to ask for their help, fearing they would make fun of me. It wasn’t ever the case. I knew they would have been more than happy to help me, but it was this idea I created inside my mind that I couldn’t quite get over.
With these unrealistic goals, I got decent grades and worked hard. It was the fact that whenever I was almost finished with something, my friends had already done it and moved on. I felt I couldn’t keep up. Plus, my friends never actually judged me or said anything. They were always supportive and wanted me to be at least in their study groups. I just never accepted these truths.
In high school, these issues came back to get me. I attempted an AP course which was the worst decision of my life (sorry, mom!). Though I did take more honor courses, I still found myself getting competitive with my friends inside my head. It wouldn’t be easy to let let go of those thoughts, but at the end of the day it was only weighing me down. I got better at accepting that I had my limits with how much I could handle, but it wasn’t something I wanted to do.
So while taking my classes, I made the effort to work harder in what I was already in, instead of trying to aim for more difficult courses. Back in middle school, I realized I enjoyed poetry and free writing, though I didn’t think much of it. It just happened that the honors classes were for English but the writing pieces focused on analyzing reading and how it related to real-world situations. So much for being creative. It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I realized I had doubted myself.
One random day while cleaning my room, I found some old writing I had done in middle school and thought it would be fun to rewrite it. I was actually having a ton of fun and started writing more often. The thing was that I never told anyone about the writing. I wrote many little stories and pieces but that was about it. I don’t know why I did, but one day as my parents were driving me to work, I asked if I could read them some of the work I did. They were polite and said yes, so I read the very first piece I had done which was the retype of my middle school story.
Their reactions confused me so much. One of the first things that came out of my mother’s mouth was something along the lines of, “You wrote this?” My stepdad was shocked and was stating similar things. I wasn’t sure at first how to react. Though they went on to explain that it was amazing and they never knew I had a passion for writing. They told me to keep writing and that they wanted more.
I couldn’t even express in words what that day did to me. I was speechless and overjoyed. I felt that I had done something even though I had no idea what I did. I have never seen the potential until they said those things to me. It made me feel proud and I realized that writing was mine. It was something I was good at. It changed my mindset and I finally accepted that I may not be in honors classes or AP courses, but we all have talents. We can all do something if we set our mind to it. I stopped comparing myself to the world and started finding things that I was good at and embraced them.
Our differences make us who we are. Life would be boring if we all did the same things. Creative writing gave me this space to let out my feelings and emotions. It also allowed me to find myself and what type of writing I loved. It’s one of the best things that could have happened. Writing became a whole new part of my world and I have no idea what I would do without it.
I once had the opportunity to have an author read my work and he told me to “KEEP THE FIRE BURNING.” (Yes, he wrote it in all caps). I have lived by that ever since. If you take anything away from this piece, I encourage you to find that thing that ignites your fire. You never know where that fire will take you.