“A..b…d…u…l…” In kindergarten writing was just labeling my paper: signing my name so that I could claim it as my own. I used to have trouble with my p’s, d’s, and b’s: I could never get the arc in the right place. My teacher took notice of my struggle and decided to place me in an ESL class (English as a Second Language).
From a young age, I’ve loathed writing: it was a subject that set me apart from everyone else. A subject that for some reason I was behind everyone else. A subject where I was inferior. To aid in my English, my mom made me start a journal. As soon as I got home from school I would write pages into my journal. I couldn’t stand my classmates being better than me and I let that drive my hand as I wrote page after page after page day after day.
In first grade, I checked out my first library book. Reading books and taking in the thoughts of others came naturally compared to expressing the thoughts in my head. By the end of the year, I had read every book available for my grade level. My school required me to check out a book every two weeks as part of our classwork; however, my librarian wouldn’t let me read anything past the first-grade level. There came a point where I had to check out Where’s Waldo books every other week.
None the less, my reading skills took leaps and bounds. My English seemed to slowly follow suit. In second grade, my ESL teacher was astonished: I had reached a sixth-grade reading level. I was immediately taken out of ESL and placed back into English with the rest of my classmates.
Despite my knack for reading, I’ve never really enjoyed writing. Writing has always reminded me of ESL— of a time where I was inferior. In high school, I thought writing was just addressing the prompt and using big words to sound smart. And for the most part, It got me the A’s that I wanted. Even so, I’ve always been disappointed with how dull my writing has been. I could never give it the same sense of life like that of my favorite books.
Even now, I still feel inferior. This year, my writing theory has been changing every day. I’m still growing, but I feel as if I’m finally expressing the thoughts in my head. I’ve learned writing is so much more than getting a grade, It’s about putting yourself on paper. It’s about letting others see into your jumbled mind and give them a sense of order. The big words that have gotten me good grades have actually been diluting my message. Instead, I should’ve been using my diction to buttress my message.
Writing is to be naked, to let others see who you really are, not what you want them to think who you are, but your true self. The version of you who lays awake at night thinking about the events of your day. The version of yourself who forms harsh judgments at just a glance. The version of yourself who feels inferior. Writing is to open up and let everyone see.
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