“When you know your ‘Why’, your ‘What’ has more impact, because you’re walking in or towards your purpose.” – Michael Jr.
There are reasons for WHAT I do. I write because I feel I am… a Writer.
But WHY I walk towards that life is very different.
As a child I was shy. So painfully shy that I could barely speak out in the open. My crippling fear of my own voice was enough to send me to the hospital with cramps and vomiting, then called a “nervous stomach” or it would now be called Anxiety.
I had such anxiety about standing up in front of other people and sharing what I knew that at times would actually throw up, have battles with IBS, and feel like I would have a heart attack from people looking at me. In those moments I never dreamed that I would travel the world, meet new people, and share my stories to thousands of people and feel great about it.
I did not do well in school in spite of being intelligent.
I was tested over and over for my IQ (I usually ranged at 155+) because it was believed that I couldn’t be smart because I didn’t do well in school.
A great deal of proving how smart you are as a child depends on how you interact with other human beings. How many times you raise your small hand to speak up in front of a terrifying class of staring, mocking, critiquing people who are waiting for you to either give the right answer or pee your pants. Intelligence in the school system is based on how well you can work in groups, how well you can overcome your anxiety, fears, and be “like everyone else” and only then you can be thought of as smart.
Each year I moved further and further into the darkness because of this extreme introversion that I was born with.
Why become a writer?
It did not help matters that once I would become acclimated to a class, to the other children, to my own home, I would be forced to pack up whatever I could and move to another school. I would stand in front of another group of strangers and be called “New Girl” and wake up in the morning not knowing where the door to the bathroom was. Instead of fitting in, I moved closer to seclusion.
I became a writer at an early age because I could be expressive and silent at the same time.
Under my bed, by the light of a flashlight, I wasn’t forced to prove my intelligence and I believed that only I would be reading my stories and ideas. I wanted to write books to other children who were also afraid of their own voices, friendless, or worried that when the other children laughed at them again they just might die.
When I was a child, nobody talked about childhood depression or anxiety and suicides by children were covered up.
In the middle of my second year of 4th grade, I sat alone in a barn with a rope around my neck pondering what would happen to my Gram if I were to step off the edge of the barn and die. I wrote her a letter explaining why, explaining my feelings, and through my own written exploration of my feelings I talked myself out of killing myself. I write because writing is important to me and my existence.
WHY I write? I love the dance of words; I actually write most of the time to music. It is a dance between the words in my head and the music in my ears.
There are things that I enjoy – travel, my family, and yes… food. I write about those things I revisit those experiences over in my mind, share them with readers who also are seeking out the knowledge and experience that I have to share.
I write because there is this desire to actually be seen, be known, be brave enough to be at the front of the class and through this expression of dancing with words, sharing my gift with the world, I am BRAVE.
Travel and Anxiety
A while back my husband and I started traveling.
I started having panic attacks in the weeks ahead of our trips. At first, they were subtle, I was easily frustrated and a little fearful. Then I became anxious and I would look for reasons not to go. The anxiety progressed to the point where I would throw angry fits before we would go. I would actually have a terrible time on some of my trips because of the extreme discomfort I felt about leaving home.
In order to overcome, you must make efforts. I started seeing a therapist to address this frustrating anxiety about traveling. I realized that my fear was based on the fact that I never really believed I would be returning from my adventures abroad and that nothing would ever be stable. How awful is that??
Some people travel to escape the day-to-day and there I was… terrified to travel because I was scared that I would never be able to return to the routine of my life.
Day trips, weekends, week long… no matter how long, I see traveling now not as an escape from routine but the chance to be brave, to meet new people and experience different worlds, and I get the chance to be inspired to write about all of my adventures.
Lyme Disease and Daydreaming
Sometimes my Lyme Disease does hold me back from doing things that I daydream of doing, like backpacking down the Nā Pali Coast. But I work really hard to try to experience as much as I can while balancing a chronic illness. So days when I get to sit down and write about traveling, read the adventures of other travelers around the world, and share the world with my readers, I don’t feel like I am missing anything.
I want to go all the way with my life. Even though you might be shy, perhaps sick, or just not sure if you are brave enough, when you put your mind to overcome what holds you back, you can even amaze yourself.