For the longest time I’ve played around with ideas in my head thinking I’d eventually get to writing the “great American novel” or the century’s most celebrated book ever written. You want to be a writer so you vomit all of your thoughts onto the page like modern art where someone just splats a bunch of colors on a white canvas calling it a deep, subjective meaningful piece of art that rebels and exceeds all of society’s standards. After vomiting your thoughts on paper or screen, you start getting bored and then you stop and get a cup of tea or you listen to a song on your iPod or you walk down the street to the corner market and buy snacks and then you come back home turning the TV on and then mindlessly doze off into sleep forgetting what you were ever writing about in the first place. That’s how I feel sometimes whenever I begin writing. I have all these wonderful ideas inside my head but then when I try to attempt to convey them into physical, readable form I start losing it. I start obsessing over grammar, punctuation, cohesiveness, the subject matter, and my entire existence. Okay so the last one may be a bit melodramatic but yeah. I’ve questioned my ability to create ever since I was a boy in middle school where I was just developing my talent until fundamental Christian values started creeping in and snapped the rose while it was still in bloom. You get depressed. You get sad. You try writing again but then you fail because of the expectations and the crippling mark of shame that was forced upon you as a young, impressionable child. You couldn’t cultivate that talent in a school where you can’t be freethinking or liberal with your artistic choices. You live in that Christian bubble. You start resenting living in that bubble and then once you finally get out you start going on an insane rollercoaster ride that makes you question what you ever believed in the first place.
It definitely felt like my identity was ripped from me and even to this day I feel like I’m still picking up the pieces; but, maybe, I don’t have to pick up the pieces anymore. Maybe I have to just create something new instead of repairing the old? Sometimes holding onto the pieces of the past could be more of a crutch than something that will eventually heal on its own. You have got to start fresh somewhere. I’m still figuring out where to start out fresh. Thirteen years of an expensive, private Christian education and you would think you’d be able to live your life differently better now than before, but it still feels like I have chains attached to me. Chains that have been a burden and nothing liberating. I felt like a freak, an anathema, and an outsider at a school where I almost didn’t have an identity. Every time I try to find myself or explore different avenues apart from the safe, fundamental teachings I’ve been taught, I become afraid of the consequences and paralyzed to act or do anything.
When does someone stop being afraid and when does someone start being brave to be who they are and not what others have taught them to be?