The Metamorphosis of a Pariah

When I was a child, I had a dream of writing. I put my pen to paper and the words just flow out of my body like water rushing over stone, as though there is nothing more natural in the universe than the coming together of ink and paper and the endless stretch of my imagination.

I’m older now than I ever thought I’d be when I wrote my first novel. At eight years old, when I wrote the words ‘chapter one’ for the very first time on a word document on my father’s brand new Dell PC, I didn’t care much about the how or the when of writing my book. All that mattered to that version of me was that I strip the story out of my head and get it down and that people be proud of me for doing so. That story was about an infant who was lost in the woods following a car crash, only to be found a decade later, raised in the company of bears. I used excessive clip art to drive my point home. Actually, I’m pretty proud of it as a concept even now.

It wasn’t until I was in my mid-teens that writing my book seemed to have a sell-by date. As a fifteen year old girl suffering from severe manic depression, my only coping mechanism through fantasy and horror stories, it suddenly seemed very important to write my first novel and publish it by the time I was eighteen. I wanted to be one of the youngest successful authors ever, because something in my mind was telling me that was the only way to be happy.

Unfortunately, writers have to write. It didn’t help much that I barely wrote a single creative word between the age of fifteen and twenty (I wrote fanfiction and a poor movie script that sort of resembled Skins, but that was the height of my creativity back then.)

Every year since then the ticking clock has felt more like a time bomb; not least because it feels like someone else is going to write my novel before me, but also because I’m creeping up on thirty now. I’m dreading the turn from twenties to thirties because I fear there’s still so much my heart is set on that I haven’t yet accomplished, that I promised myself I’d do, that I’m starting to feel the pull of settling down into a nice, adult life that would mean throwing half my plans right out the window forever.

(I’m kind of jealous of those people who can live as nomads in a digital age, work and earn on the go and see the world forever and ever. I’ve got the perfect skillset for doing so but as much of an explorer as I am, I forever feel the draw of permanent safe harbour.)

I’ve got to realise that I still have time. I can write a little each day and chip away at that dream until it’s no longer so far away it seems impossible. It only seems impossible because I’ve not managed it in the past but you don’t fail until you quit, and I’m not ready to quit. I still have a few years left to pack in what’s important and figure out what isn’t, too.

This blog is the first step towards self-realisation, I guess. I need a little space where I can dump my thoughts and collect all the little parts of myself I don’t know what to do with. I used to be broken and scattered, but nowadays I’m just holding all the pieces wondering what shape they’ll take when I finally finish piecing them together. More than a decade has passed since I first fell apart and it has taken all this time to begin to understand who I am, but I’m proud of every step I take.

I know one thing for sure. I’m still a writer. And so I’ll write fierce and true about what I feel and perhaps it’ll help me lay a foundation for who I’ll be when I finally do hit thirty, perhaps it won’t be as scary as it seems.

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