I have never considered myself a “writer.” And even though I’ve been writing my blog for a few years now, I just had a new realization…this space is helping me heal old wounds associated with writing.
You see, going back to first grade, I distinctly remember a traumatic experience at a spelling bee. I was sitting in a college classroom with several other students. It was my first spelling bee (and my last). It was my turn and the word was “once.” I remembered the rules like a good student would. Repeat the word (once) and then spell it, then repeat the word again. I spoke, “Once.” “O.” Then I thought about it again, to make sure I was getting it right. Ok… “O-N-C-E. Once.” Phew…I got it right.
Then, the teacher spoke up, and told me I spelled it wrong because I said two “o’s.” She proceeded to rewind the tape so we could all hear it again. I was mortified. I was only six. I was sitting there in my seat, while my “mistake” was put on display for all to hear. I left the room crying and luckily my parents were waiting for me in the hallway.
From that moment on, I accepted my new thought, “I am a bad speller.” And I equated “bad speller” with “bad writer” for many years.
Skip to fourth grade. I had some very controlling catholic schoolteachers at this age. Conformity seemed to be of the utmost importance. I can see this clearly now just thinking back to the way they taught me “handwriting.”
My teachers seemed obsessed with making sure I wrote with a perfect “slant.” My letters had to go to the right. For any left-handed student, you know that this can be a challenge. But we do what it takes to get it “right.” I tried everything, like turning my paper to a slant and kinking my neck so far to the right so I could see over my hand.
And not only did I write “too up and down,” I was also told I wrote “too wide.” One of my teachers would even sneak up behind me and rip the pencil out of my hand to make sure I wasn’t gripping “too hard!” It seems so ridiculous now. How cool would it have been had they focused their energy on teaching me about self-worth and personal expression, rather than pointing out my so-called writing flaws?
By the end of the year I had won the “Best Handwriting” award. What it should have said was, “Best Job at Conforming and Doing What it Takes to Get the Grade” award. I did it. I learned how to be a good student and get my teacher’s approval.
In college I had a lot of friends who were “writers” but I never thought I was one. I could never be one of “them” because I was a terrible speller and therefore a terrible writer.
After college I landed a job where writing was part of my job description. I felt like a fake. A phony. I definitely didn’t believe I was a writer, but I played the part well.
I’ve journaled for years and years and years…writing in secret. And I was scared to start a blog, mainly because I didn’t want people to see my misspellings and grammatical errors. But I did it anyway and have never looked back. After blogging for a bit I started embracing a new thought…”I like writing.” And after my recent computer cleanse I was reminded that writing helps me process. It helps me release my creative energy. It has helped me find my voice. And it continues to be an amazing self-discovery tool that helps me heal and grow. I love to write. I have to write.
I write with mistakes, wide, up and down, upside down, over and out, inward and outward…
Have you ever wanted to start a blog, but let fear get in the way? Maybe you read blogs, but never leave comments? Is today the day you’ll express YOUR voice through words?