how it started

It started with me falling in love

No not like that

I didn’t fall in love with a boy, or girl, a moment in time

But I fell in love with words

At the tender age of three

My grandmother pointing at words in cardboard picture books

As I ran and tripped and poured over the words

 

There were twenty six letters in the alphabet

I know because I counted my set of Sesame Street alphabet books

But they could be rearranged in so many different ways

I read stories about bears, and little girls

I read the bible and brochures at the doctor’s office

I read street signs and cereal boxes

I gobbled up words and stories

 

No challenge too big

No book too hard

 No word too long

 

I had to find a way to do that

To make stories like the ones I loved

So very dearly

 

I was four and in pre-k

Our lower school had a book

Every student could have one piece of writing or artwork in it

I wrote a story about a plum princess trying to make jam

And then it was printed

My words for all to see

I didn’t stop there

 

Fast forward

Second grade

Age eight

 

I was quiet

Sensitive

Shy

Thoughtful

A little lonely at times

 

I had a lot of hurt

For someone so small

 

But I could distract myself easily

I was allotted four books from the library

Four escape routes per week

I picked the thickest most engrossing novels allowed to me

Those were my weekends, my afternoons, my car trips, my lonely nights

 

But I was fast

The books to gripping

My mind too eager

By Saturday evening I was alone again

 

So I had to resort to desperate measures

Writing my own stories

I wrote of superheroes and buried treasure and yes, more princesses

Scribbled in notebooks and reenacted by my dolls

 

But I still wasn’t satisfied

 

Third grade

Age nine

Ms. Dickman’s class

She let me borrow countless books from her room

She taught me to write

Not my name, or princess stories, or even cursive

But poetry

 

She told us there were no rules

You could write however you pleased

There were no boundaries or limits

I loved this idea

 

So I wrote

About the ocean and my little sister

About family and quiet moments

 

I won an award

First place

I read my poem from behind a podium

In front of people from all over my city

We took turns

 

Poets

Their voices rang and rose

Their words made me chuckle and tear up

My eyes were opened

 

So I continued

Reading

Writing

Listening

 

Fast forward

Seventh grade

Age thirteen

Almost five feet tall

 

For the first time

I wanted a boy

More than anything

Wanted him to care about me

We talked and watched movies

He played guitar and sang in a band

He wrote too

 

About life and people and places

I wanted that

The ease that he was able to create

His very own words

About his world

Our world

 

Weeks later I cried

 

I was thirteen

Wide-eyed

Still shy

 

We drifted apart

In a childish way

But we remained close

In a different wat

 

By that point I only wrote for school

I was too busy

With dance, and school, and friends

With eyeliner, and Instagram, and boy bands

With worry, and fear, and growing up

 

Fast forward

Freshman year

Age fifteen

 

GPA, ballet, and my friends

Secrets, parties, and crushes

But I needed words

 

I didn’t always have time

To sit and read a novel

I had homework and rehearsals

Doctor’s appointments and “bad days”

 

So I wrote

Typed furiously

in the notes of my phone

late at night

when I felt everything at once

 

It was fear

It was “him”

It was new experiences

It was everything that I ever felt

 

Fast forward

Six-almost-seventeen

Summer

Sitting on my bed

With my laptop that I’ve used for writing since I was twelve

Thinking about my future

Scratch that

Worrying

Will my scores be ok?

Will my comm serve be enough?

Am I good enough?

Can my mom afford this?

 

So I find a way

To do what I do best

After photography, French toast, and making friends

 

I write

Hoping that it will be a way

For me to go out

Learn, live, try

Be

Someone better

Someone important

Someone

To make three year old me,

Who spills over picture books, proud

To write words, that nine year old me,

Would read

 

To understand what thirteen year old me,

Who cried over who would become her best friend,

Couldn’t

 

To live,

The way six-almost-seventeen year old me,

Who sits on her bed,

And writes and worries,

Could only dream of being brave enough to

 

hoping that this could be

how it started

This poem is about: 
Me

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