time to write my own story.

time to write my own story.

As a little girl, I was always writing stories.

There was the family of ladybugs. There was the X-Files fan fiction. There was the Revolutionary War drama. There was the Italian countryside during World War I. There was the 1930s kid on her typewriter during the Depression.

There was always a story in my head that I was hiding away in, and eventually they’d make their ways out onto the lined pages of lime green composition notebooks or documents in dated Microsoft Word programs. It was always my go-to activity, after reading. I would shakily put pencil to paper in the backseat of the station wagon on long family road trips, hiding out on my top bunk before school in the mornings, hogging my time on the family computer as I typed up plot outline after plot outline, family tree after family tree.

I distinctly remember the feeling inside of all that story-telling – it seemed miraculous to me that I could create any reality I wanted. I could dream up the most preposterous scenario and it wasn’t preposterous because it was a story. It wasn’t real. I could make the main character as thin and beautiful as I liked, I could make a romance as whirlwind and ridiculous as I liked, I could make the setting as gorgeous and Hollywood-worthy as I liked, I could make the family members and friends as nice and kind as I liked.

They were stories. And in them, I could be whoever I wanted. There was nothing holding me back, no reality to take into consideration, no limits. I could literally dream up the life I envisioned as “perfect,” and make it somewhat real.

This was where I lived. I had found power. And no one could shut it down.

But over the next fifteen years the stories became less and less frequent. I went from bookwormy homeschooled kid to public high school transplant and although I liked being in the creative writing club, it wasn’t cool. I tucked away all my historical romance plans and tried my hand at a few nonsense angsty poems (which were really the only things acceptable within our tortured teenage writing realm) and hated it.

Writing became less and less important to me. My creative writing teacher in high school was actually a 20-something, uninterested psych major who took points off when I started a sentence with “And.” My creative writing teacher in college had us doing things like writing descriptions of the weather and going around the circle sharing what our favorite words were. It was painful, and I was slowly letting go of any leftover passion from the backseat family road trips. Families of ladybugs frolicking in cornfields were things of the past.

And then a funny thing happened. Last year I began making vision boards for each month at the new moon, and in August a board took shape with the words “time to write my own story,” smack in the middle. Of course, the idea of writing a story was just an analogy for creating one’s own life, and…..it held the same exact feelings I’d found in writing all those years before – a power in ownership, awe at the thought of creating whatever I wanted, no need to hold back.

All those stories I was making up? I could actually do that. I could actually dream up what I wanted my real life to look like and make that happen. Write my own damn story. I didn’t need to take on anyone else’s story as my own. I didn’t need to let things happen to me. I didn’t need to passively float through the pages of someone else’s story.

I could write one myself. From scratch. I could gather the paper and bind it together and decorate the cover and begin to fill it with words, words that resonated and meant something to me. Words that I wanted there. Words that were beautiful and hopeful and inspiring. When I got down to it, I knew exactly what I wanted and didn’t want in those pages.

And so I started writing my own damn story. Slowly, slowly, it’s been taking shape and starting to look like how I dreamed it would. Because I stood in my power. Because I took pen to paper and created it.

And the funny thing is – once I started getting back to that little girl that found joy in creating extensive 1920s Italian family trees, I realized…..I actually am a writer. I’ve actually always been a writer. I have piles and piles of journals and diaries filled with words. I have a diploma proving that I studied words for four years. I have a blog that’s now almost five years old, filled with words. But really, none of that even matters…..because if I want to be a writer, I can be. If I feel like a writer, it’s because I made myself one.

That’s what I’m writing. That’s what I’m keeping. That’s what I’m creating.

Let’s write our own damn stories.