Ever since I can remember I’ve been telling stories and creating worlds, whether it was crafting detailed backgrounds for my barbies, drawings of fantastical lands and creatures, or intense games of pretend with the neighborhood kids.
The freedom of expression home education provided led me to discover my love of writing much sooner than traditional schooling would have. I got to focus on the joy of words instead of the structure of a paragraph or the placement of a comma. I was writing stories before I could even spell correctly, and I wasn’t told to stop and “do it right.” I was free to explore my curiosities from a young age and I hope to hold tight to that.
I wrote my first story when I was eight years old, about a frog who was smaller than all the rest and struggled with the trials of being different. It was a whole two pages long and nearly illegible, but I was proud. There was a time I could barely manage to write a sentence. My learning disability (Intermittent Central Suppression, which impairs reading abilities therefore writing abilities) would not be discovered until years later, but I knew, even then, that if I wanted to use my words the way I wanted to use them, I would have to work extra hard to make it happen. That little story opened my dreams to new possibilities.
From there, I had more ideas then I knew what to do with, and my competence in executing them needed to catch up to my thoughts.
But once I caught up? There was no turning back.
I started reading, taking classes, entering contests, attending conferences, and writing ceaselessly.
All of which led to my very first publication: An anthology comprised entirely of teen writers, of which my story was accepted into. I will never forget the pure disbelief and joy that shot through me when I learned I’d been accepted.
When I first started writing, it was because I had stories trapped inside of me. I wanted to prove that I could—despite everything—put those ideas into action. After I proved that much, I wrote to escape life. After that, I realized what I really wanted was to not to escape, but to change my life and the lives of others. Even if it’s in a small way. To write not with fear but with determination and grace.
I’m a storyteller and an unconventional learner, and I have so much left to learn.
That’s why Praxis (A college alternative you can read more about here) is an obvious next step for me. In a way, I’ve been doing things against the norm from the beginning. First for survival, and then by choice.
I choose to break the mold.