While every other fifteen year old was busy making new friends and acquainting themselves with the latest teenage trends, I was spending my lunch hour buried in a book. It wasn’t a text book or any mandatory reading, but it was me just reading for pleasure.
I was not exactly unpopular because everyone knew who I was. I was the girl who coordinated everything, from sports to cultural and social events, to peer-training and the annual Christmas charity drive. In hindsight, I may have been unpopularly popular.
Despite my seemingly social awkwardness, I had many friends and forged a few close friendships. We weren’t (and still aren’t) the type to talk everyday but when we do, it’s as though no time was lost in between.
It was during those high school years that I found my love for reading and writing. I aced every English examination and Literature became my favourite subject. I won several English awards and I even tutored others on many occasions. When our school hosted Poetry contests, I entered not one or two pieces, but four and five. At any one competition, I came away with two or sometimes three prizes. I was convinced that I didn’t win every prize because the judges did not want to discourage the other entrants.
My life revolved around reading and writing and I made the decision to embark upon a career as a Writer. Fast forward the next twenty years and while I have maintained my love for writing which has been successful in many forums, I began believing that being a Writer was more of an idea than a reality for me. Writing was my personal expression. It was an outlet with no restrictions. My fifteen year old self wanted to live in this outlet but my adult self wanted to live in reality.
As life happened, I forgot about this passion of mine and it was only recently while cleaning, I found a blue notebook that I once carried with me everywhere in case inspiration struck. It had a dusty scent and on the cover was a handwritten design of a “Blue Clues” paw print and the word, “Eureka!” scrawled across it.
And what a find it was!
I picked it up, eager to comb through the tattled pages with faded ink. It was carefully punctuated with newspaper clippings of interesting articles and many inspiring little notes to myself nestled between dozens of poems that I had written. It was astounding. I stood there frozen, determined to recall my headspace from those many years ago that led to the creation of this blue notebook.
I carefully turned the brittle and discoloured pages, where between each page and every line and space, I narrated my teenage and young adulthood life. Fifteen year old me had scripted every incident, interaction and experience through poetry and short stories.
I put my cleaning on hold and sat down to intently absorb this book of treasures as a storm of emotions coursed through my body. The topics varied far and wide and from cover to cover I documented a life that might have just been far beyond my time. I recounted reading my first novel in primary school. It was Prince Caspian and at that time we were not allowed to take books home so I hid it in a corner of the school’s library. I elaborated on my later reading of the illustrated classics such as Little Women and Great Expectations, and then delved into Thomas Hardy novels and everything by Jane Austen. I mused on personal change and growth and my trials of friendships and family. I wrote poems on everything in front of me; from the homeless man at the side of the road to my take on hate and wars.
I spent the next few hours enthralled in this safe haven. I was caught up remembering all the people in my life – those who stayed and those who left. I read about those who inspired me and those who have passed on. When I was done, I safely tucked the blue notebook away and carried on with my chores. That was one month ago and since then I have returned to this book everyday. I am still shocked that a teenager like me had taken the time to write. I noted grammatical errors and metaphors that weren’t quite clear, but I felt the passion and emotion in the craft. I had simply enjoyed writing and as I got older, I had lost touch with that part of myself, the part that always wanted to tell a story.
Now that I have re-discovered “Eureka!” it has opened a new, yet familiar, world for me. I can’t say for sure if I will ever share all of the contents from the blue notebook but from time to time, I will. In the meantime, I am inspired, driven and ready to reawaken the creative part of myself because the fifteen year old inside of me stills believes that everything in life is writable and in the words of Maya Angelou, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”