Why I Write

 

My mum lost so much blood giving birth to me that she almost died. Despite the trauma of my entering this world, my parents were thrilled with my arrival and showered me with love. Their marriage lasted only a few more years after that – by the time I was two my mum could no longer handle my dad’s alcoholism and ran away from him, taking me with her. For a long time, she was afraid to tell him where we lived, but she would take me to see him every Sunday. She had experienced unimaginable trauma in her childhood so she was always running, as though the trauma might catch up with her if we stayed put anywhere for too long. We’d lived in seven different houses by the time I was ten. Eventually, the monsters from her past did catch up with her, and she could no longer hide from the anxiety and depression tearing her up inside. She wanted to protect me from those monsters by pretending everything was OK. This created in me an inclination to bury, hide, suppress my own difficult feelings.

Books were always there for me, and from the moment I learned how to read, the written word became one of my closest allies. Being an only child under the care of a single mum who worked full time meant that I spent most of my time in solitude. Fierce independence and self-sufficiency were tools I had to develop to ensure my own survival. I’m sure I was lonely, but that was my normality; at least I had the authors I loved for company, connecting to me through the page, making me feel less alone.

Naturally, I found my way to writing my own stories and poetry, trying to emulate the feeling of wonder I experienced when I read a book I loved. My English teachers adored me. But when I went to secondary school, something changed; it was as though my own buried monsters were fighting to get out and take control of my path like they had with my mum. And for a long time, I let them. I didn’t write anything again until I was in my late 20s, when I found my way back to my truth, and started facing those monsters on the page.

Writing enables me to connect to a place which is deeper than this story and has helped me to realise I am more than just my trauma. Voicing my feelings has never been easy for me, but through the written word I am able to explore all parts of myself and communicate this to the reader on a level I could never hope to achieve verbally. I write to forge connections, to give all of myself, with the goal of recreating in the reader that state of wonder I experienced as a child reading something I loved and feeling less alone.

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