The day I knew I was a writer was in May of 2012. The day I received my copy of the book I had written. It was odd to see my name and picture of me as a child on the cover. That’s the day I realized I was a writer, but becoming a writer was a long journey.
The journey began at the age of eleven or twelve. My neighbor, Pat, gave me my first mystery novel. It was Agatha Christie’s “The Mysterious Affair at Styles”. In one act of kindness, a seed was planted for a dream to begin to grow! Every spare moment from then on was filled with reading every Agatha Christie novel available at our local library and expanding to other mystery writers when there were no more left. I couldn’t get enough. I began to dream about what it would be like to be a writer.
All this reading was an escape from the everyday nightmare of my life. While reading, I envisioned myself as the one solving the crimes and saving the day. This is what I longed for in my life. I felt alone and trapped by my life. The dream to be the hero, the voice for the ones who had no voice, began to take shape.
At the age of 15, I was placed in a foster home after being sexually abused by my father. I was finally saved, but didn’t feel like it. I felt punished, thrown away like trash and abandoned. Did dreams come true? Any thoughts I had of becoming a writer were shoved into the recesses of my mind. Surviving pain became my new goal.
The state placed me in a loving home, but it couldn’t be seen through my bitterness at what was lost. Throughout middle school and high school, I took American Literature and British Literature and lost myself in the works of Edgar Allen Poe, Mark Twain, Herman Melville, J.R.R. Tolkien, Emily Bronte, Charles Dickens, and many more. I excelled in English and loved diagramming sentences. Playing with words became my new pass time. The dream resurfaced. Words could become whatever you wanted. Words fed my fantasy life, which was always better than my real life.
During my senior year, my caseworker, foster parents, and others peppered me with questions about the direction my life was going. When I graduated from high school, I was on my own. There were no programs to help foster children with the transition into the real world. There was no one to help me go to college and I didn’t have a clue what to study if given the opportunity. There was tremendous pressure to be practical. I told myself writing wasn’t practical. It was then, my dream died. Life was again about survival.
I graduated on a Friday, moved on Saturday into the home of a family friend, and started working my full-time job in food service on Monday. Many of my peers went off to spring break and on to college afterward, while I went to work. The little dreamer was locked deep within, and crushed under the weight of responsibility threatening to squeeze the life out of her.
Looking back, I could’ve started writing during this season and perfecting my craft. I was more interested in dwelling in my pain and self-medicating. Mourning the loss of everything I thought should be mine.
The little dreamer emerged from time to time, but there was always someone in my midst to remind me to be realistic and not waste my time on something as fanciful as writing. I listened to the dream stealers for twenty-five years.
In 2011, the little dreamer was awakened. She was encouraged by several other dreamers surrounding her. She was given a goal to write her story. She was reminded of her grandfather who talked about writing his story and never finished it. God told her she was selfish for keeping silent.
In February of 2012, while attending a leadership conference, I was challenged to write my book and publish it within ninety days. My stomach lurched and my heart soared, simultaneously. I took on the challenge and stepped out in faith. My book (I Do Believe; Help Me With My Unbelief!) was written and published in seventy-seven days.
There are days I still can’t believe my dream came true, but it did. This is just the beginning. My new goal is to encourage others to wake up, reach for the stars and never let go of their God-given dream until it comes true. When we step out and live our dream, we give others permission to do the same!
Have you dreamed of being a writer? Are you looking for support? Please share your story.