To be completely honest, I’ve always struggled somewhat with self-esteem; mine was usually pretty poor because I always felt I wasn’t good enough. I was a very chatty young girl, and to this day, I’m still very outgoing and gregarious. However, when I was still pretty young, I had to see a speech therapist because of a speech impediment I had. I struggled in pronouncing my r’s, and it was a detriment to me. People, both adults and kids, always asked me where I was from; some would just snicker when I spoke; others made fun of me outright. For a while, I grew really ashamed of my voice; I hated reading out loud in class, I stopped telling stories, but instead, I focused on my writing. I was only seven when I wrote my first short story, and it was nothing spectacular, but it did set me on fire for writing.
In high school, I wrote an essay on voice; in it, I compared and contrasted my grandfather’s voice (rough, raspy from years of smoking cigarettes) with that of my aunt’s (sweet, gentle, with a Southern drawl in it from living in Tennessee most of her life). I explained how most people when they thought of voice, they thought of the voice they spoke in, and for me, writing had become my voice. By this point, I was still very extroverted and loved meeting new people, and I had no hesitance when it came to talking to others because I had worked and struggled to conquer my speech impediment. However, I remember I had written volumes of journals, poetry, plays, short stories, novellas, and I had convinced myself my writing was my voice.
I still think writing is my true voice; when I distill all the conflicting voices in my mind and quiet my thoughts, the one that rings true in my mind is the one I find myself writing in, and this has become the voice I write in, whether it is writing in a brown leather-bound journal, or it is in an online blog. The voice that is true to me is my writer’s voice.
My speech patterns are not quite like my writing; I remember talking to a friend who had known me through my writing before she had spoken to me, and she was amazed at how different I sound when I speak. I usually rush my words and don’t take time choosing the most exquisite of words, usually I’m not an eloquent story-teller, and I tend to speak simply because too often when I was young, I was told it sounded like I swallowed a dictionary, and though I am older now, it still rings out as an insult in my mind.
For most of my life, with a few exceptions, I have found that people have discouraged me from writing as it is a difficult hobby to be successful at, and though I only took one creative writing class in high school, I found the passion for the hobby outweighs the criticism. Most just see it as a futile exercise as one would consider building sand castles right near the breaking crest of waves, but for me, it is a release, a catharsis. By not writing, I feel incomplete, empty. A cabinet for the finest pieces of China empty for years and years simply developing cob webs in corners. The grandfather clock no one has bothered to set properly. I feel empty without my words.
Sure, writing will never make me a millionaire, though the kids in school told me I’d make a great author some day, but it makes me happy, and more importantly, it allows me to express my voice. Some may argue there are too many voices, how can just one stand out? There are many rain drops, yet, you still feel the one that touches your bare skin?
The hope is to be that single rain drop against skin.