Finding Your Voice Through Writing

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” Flannery O’Connor

I was raised in a simple life, of a hard-working daddy and a momma who stayed home to take care of the house. We didn’t have a lot of money, but my parents were born in an older generation who knew how to make ends meet. In other words, we had food, clothes and a roof over our head, but no luxury cars, houses, or vacations. Entertainment was scarce, to say the least, so on most nights it was just the family around the table eating a big homemade dinner that my momma cooked from scratch. On good nights, my older sister and my daddy would pull out the guitars and we would sing gospel songs well into the evening.

Weekends happened pretty much the same way, except we usually had company whether it was family or friends from church. Everyone loved my momma’s cookin which is why the singing and dinners often happened at our house. We may have never gone out to fancy dinners or on fancy vacations, but our home was always open to family and friends to gather.

I never knew how to speak well in front of people. I always was that child that hid behind their momma’s skirt tail with their head hanging down, my too long bangs covering my eyes, which was my shield, so I didn’t have to look the person who was talking to me in the eye. Attention was not something that I preferred to bring upon myself. In fact, it was what I most avoided. I was called shy; withdrawn, and insecure all through my childhood. My parents called it being a homebody. I enjoyed the serenity of being alone, with a book nearby, writing about what was happening all around me.

You would have thought that having people around all the time would have helped me learn how to be more self-assured and find out how to talk to people the proper way, but my voice was never verbally heard, or maybe I just wasn’t saying anything to be heard. Whatever the reason was, I learned that for others to hear me; I needed to be heard through my writing.

When you go through life hiding, then no, you will not be heard very easily, but the writing was a way for me to say what I couldn’t say out loud. It was for me to release pent up emotions. But it was also a way for me to understand what I was feeling. When you are feeling emotions inside, you cannot always explain when asked, but by writing you will find what you are thinking inside your head all along that you just couldn’t release verbally. As I am sitting here writing, I have a flood of emotions going on, but it’s not until my fingers type the words and I go back and read them that I finally fully understand how I was feeling all along.

Writing has become my identity. It has gave me a sense of security in this world that I just didn’t seem to fit in. Many years after the child I was had grown, I realized that I wasn’t just some shy, withdrawn, insecure little kid. I was a person who was creative, and imaginative; an introvert who was wrapped up so deep in my own thoughts and feelings that other people’s actions didn’t gain my attention or focus.

Writing for me has been my friend, my confidant, my therapy and my adventure. Writing has been the one constant thing that has always remained in my life. It has taught me to love myself and that I should always be free to say what I need to say.

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