I have had multitudes of dreams in my lifetime. In my grade school years, I dreamt of becoming a doctor. I dreamt it so much that a very severe battle with lupus in my teen years did not hold me back from going into college as pre-med major. When the battle with lupus became one I could not fight while engaged in the rigors of a pre-med program, I re-evaluated and decided upon a related dream to become a psychologist. I finished my BA within the “customary” 10 years, but by the time I was through, it seemed God was calling me to a “higher” purpose and my dream began to take shape differently into the form of a chaplain or pastoral counselor. That remains my spiritual and professional aspiration and one that I only recently stepped away from to help my oldest son work through and with his superpowers (autism).
Yet there is one dream that has never left me. One that sticks to me through and especially during my most difficult trials. This may not be called a dream so much as a life’s mission or aspiration: to be a writer. It began when I was in elementary school and a story I wrote about my toddlerhood imaginary friend “Chubby” was chosen and published in a local literary publication. It continued through my junior high years with heaps of journals and hours spent sitting in front of my mother’s word processor dreaming up stories I would send to my grandmothers in short volumes. My favorite part of high school, aside from the countless hours I spent on the athletic fields and courts as a student trainer, was writing for various school subjects. The challenge of taking something I had learned in class and giving fresh perspective or recounting for my teachers what I had gleaned from the pages of the classics were the times when school most deliciously stressed me and I rose to the occasion. My first semester at Millersville University, matched me with a particularly difficult to please writing professor who seemed intent on making my semester miserable because I refused to shy away from expressing my political perspective in our course assignments (I should mention that this was during the 2000 presidential election, which was frequently a topic of our course assignments). Since she could not openly criticize my politics, she took to attacking the work we did that was unrelated to politics. I wrote a moderately coherent and insightful piece about lupus and received a “C” for my efforts. As a straight-A student, this struck me to the core. Later that semester, that very same piece about my lupus was chosen to be published in the state lupus newsletter, a fact I later went out of my way to very politely rub in her face the next semester (when she was no longer my professor).
I kept on writing even as I became more involved in my studies and still later as took some time off to meet and marry my husband. As an aside, I will share that, of course, I didn’t know I would meet him during this time, but I much prefer referring to it that way than saying that I needed to give my brain a break by working a menial retail position. As it turns out, it was one of the best moves I ever made. I met my husband and made lifelong friends and acquaintances at that “menial” retail job. During that time, personal blogging became my favorite pastime. I wrote about everything, especially the most mundane and meaningless moments of my somewhat boring little life. Sometimes I wrote something inspirational, or so I was told, but it was primarily my narcissistic means of working through all of the challenges I faced inside and outside of my job. From time to time, my blunt and honest manner of writing got me into trouble as words were taken out of context and assumptions made about whom I was blogging. Still, I kept writing. If not on Xanga or Myspace, then in my own personal journal or in the volumes of word documents in my “Journaling” folder.
Now that I am an Air Force wife, mother of two, and graduate student on hiatus, I look back and realize that my life’s one true mission, its one persistent and true aspiration has been to put letters together into words to form whole thoughts and unique perspectives. I have never considered myself much of an artist, but I suppose my drive and desire to write may one day make me something of an artist. It has become my craft.
Today, I read a blog post on Medium (linked by my fellow writer, Nicole–who is actually talented enough to be paid for her labors) that espoused the virtues of writing just “because”. And that is why I sit here tonight, writing because, “because.” Because I have to start somewhere. Because if I want to make anything of it, I cannot sit on my words.
Do I write fiction or non? Someone once told me to write what I know, so it would seem I ought to turn my focus inward and write a memoir, yet I am not convinced I know myself that well or that I am interesting enough for people to want to read about for a volume or more.
Do I have anything important to say? If I can break through the many pointless ramblings of my mind, perhaps so.
Who am I? I am the proud mother of a child with a disease called “awesome” and second very cool little guy. I am an endlessly-clueless-about-protocol-Air-Force-wife. I am a graduate student who consistently feels out of her depth in seminary. I am someone who has survived and lived with lupus for seventeen years. I am an adult who spends a ridiculous amount of time absorbed and obsessed with the stories of my favorite television shows, films, and books.
Am I a storyteller who may one day rise to the caliber of my favorite storytellers? Perhaps so. Perhaps not. But I shall never know if I never try.