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Story of how I got into writing stories
If you are a creator, I am sure you have gotten the question, “what got you into this (XYZ)?”
Well, I’ll tell you how writing.
Let me explain.
When I was younger, I struggled, I mean struggled with anxiety. I was hyper-fixated on death and the lack of control over it. If I swallowed a speck of dust, I thought my lungs would shut down, (which is ironic, because I am asthmatic now) and if I drank something from a restaurant, I would wait for the “poison,” to kick in. I was attempting to catch up with an invisible character who was finding articles of myself and tearing them apart before I could pry them away; peace, childhood, comfort.
I remember when I first caught fire with anxiety. It was about 8 or 9 years old and me and my sisters were at a party at a friend’s house. We were sitting on the trampoline in a circle when one girl relayed that a man had prophesized that an asteroid was going to collide with the Earth.
That was it.
That is when I lost the original Kate, and I wonder sometimes what she would have been like if I had never heard that. Maybe my brain would have opened up for these fears to infiltrate later on. Maybe I would be less antsy, maybe, maybe, and maybe, but the fact is, there is no Maybe in my name. This is what I can tell you though, that day made me unravel and hold onto prophecies with the same intensity as someone would hold onto air after breaking through the water.
If anyone made a reference to an asteroid coming, I would have to research it until I knew we were safe, pages upon pages opened until I found the straw in the needle stack that said, “no chance of impact.” Fun fact, I even emailed NASA a question on if an asteroid would collide with Earth anytime soon. The good news is that they said the chances of that happening is 1 in 50,000. (My blood pressure still lowers at that ratio.)
But in my childhood, I hated death, so, I made my own worlds in composition notebooks to survive. The same mind that was tearing me apart was making something as if an apology for disrupting my days. I saw stories in my head like movies and kept my head down in the hopes to pin them to paper. I led imaginings at playdates to create scenes from stories. I drifted from daydreams and reality and vice versa. I would escape into plotlines and converse with characters because that was safety, and it kept growing until it was 100 pages, 200 pages, and 300 pages. I shared my worlds with family, specifically my mom and my Paw, and they loved it. I would peek around my Paw’s armchair as he would look through my stories, with a smile on his face, nodding his snow-capped head. Mom would blink at me wide-eyed, saying how well she had seen the scenes I had written down, asking about what would happen next, my biggest fan.
So, I kept writing.
I was so anxious, that I was mute in class, only responding to questions directed toward me while I was writing, or if I wanted to play with others, that was the cap of my word count. But, other kids were interested in what this Dora the Explorer-haircut having girl was doing in her notebook, so they asked, and I spoke, the teachers asked, and I showed them. Some teachers were marked by their favoritism if I let them read my whole book (you know who you are, if you are reading this, thank you). There was an English teacher who would do readings of my book to the class, and I was not the quiet one, I was the writer, I was Kate.
It was like I was holding a dumbbell for years, never letting it drop, muscles locked, eyes ahead, breathing through my teeth and praying that it would be over. I imagine a little kid struggling with a shield, wobbling while trying to balance the weight, hiding after bracing herself, encompassed by metal. Now, I had been trained and could discard the shield, living life and only armoring up when I heard the monsters closing in from the distance.
I made a world to escape from it, to live in it for a while, and in turn, it let me evolve into a stronger person, with a different perspective on life, double-edged, from my past as well as the tamer future.
That is why and how - I became a writer, and how I fell in love with sharing stories with others in the hopes that someone, maybe a kid with their head in a notebook, can become a hero to their shelled selves, keep writing, and fall in love with the world that is you. Thank you.