I think I first recognized the power of writing in 3rd grade. My teacher, Mrs. Erickson, assigned a creative writing assignment — a story starter. I don’t remember what I wrote about, but she liked it. And she called me to read my story aloud. Well, back in 3rd grade, that was tough. If you know me today, you wouldn’t believe it, but up through high school I was shy — sometimes even painfully so. My fear of speaking out made reading my piece difficult, but I did it and enjoyed the accolades as my fellow students laughed at my story. After that, I was hooked on writing.
Fast forward to 6th grade. As a pre-teen, I faced the typical girl drama and emotions. I got mad at friends (okay, usually over boys) and didn’t know how to deal with these feelings. I don’t remember the specifics of this particular incident, but I was fighting with my best friend. To be fair, I wasn’t really fighting. I was nursing a wound that I hadn’t shared with her. I was too timid back then to be honest and say, “Hey, you hurt my feelings.” So I wrote her a note. I said everything that was in my heart. I let her have it — said all the silly and irrational and painful things a 6th grader represses. I folded that note (the way we folded notes back in the 80s) and I saved it. Later, I ripped it up. I eventually got over being mad at my friend, but I remembered how cathartic it felt to get out all of my feelings. The process of writing — getting all my feelings out — helped me.
As I grew older, I decided to major in English. I believed what John Keating said in the movie Dead Poet’s Society, “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” I still believe this. I remember sitting in my college dorm room, reading the YA novel Running Loose by Chris Crutcher (still one of my all-time favorite books) with tears running down my cheeks. Although I had grown up loving books, this was the first time a book touched me in this way. But I think that the best writing moves you, makes you laugh, makes you think, and inspires. And for me, writing is the way I understand and process the world.
Today, I use writing in many ways. My work requires me to write. I write short social media posts that are meant to be funny. I share anecdotes about my family to not only vent but to also make my friends understand that they are not alone in their family fails and mishaps. I write educational blogs because I’m a teacher and I’m extremely passionate about the importance of education and educators. And I write to work through the deep pain that I’m trudging through every day. (More of this in later posts.) Writing has always been like therapy for me.
I started this blog because I feel myself about to burst. I feel I have words that can no longer just rattle around my head and heart; instead, these words are meant to be shared. I have experienced unique joys and hardships in my life, and I hope that I can reach someone out there if I’m brave enough to share these stories. Thank you for joining me, for checking out Crysta Clear. I hope that my experiences may resonate with you in some small way.