“I’m a writer,” six-year-old me proclaimed proudly with a smile that showed her missing front tooth, accompanied with complete genuineness.
My younger self would be proud of the progress I made along the path of her dreams. Fourth-grade me took the random bursts of creativity of first grade to an entirely new level as she formed an unofficial writing club with two friends, although the organization’s only activity included claiming a spot during recess and letting imaginations run wild onto paper.
As I progressed into middle school, I realized that writing was truly something I was passionate about. I wrote extensively, from original pieces to essays to diary entries. Every time I put my pen to paper, I felt a rush of happiness that took me back to my childhood. I could hear my heart sing as I fleshed out the endless ideas I had piled up inside my brain, creating character backstories and complex plotlines. Those days, I wrote for enjoyment with pure love towards any opportunity to spin my words and thoughts into stories.
In my innocence, I would do anything for others to read my writing. But as high school approached, I became increasingly conscious of my writing and refrained from showing peers my pieces. I was scared about the criticism I knew I was going to get, terrified I would feel so discouraged that I would simply give up.
I was lost. What was writing to me? What did I write for? I was unsure. Writing had digressed from a simple passion to something that became more of an obligation, and I hated such a fact.
But whenever I gained praise from my peers, who described my writing as a piece of “fine, tender, juicy steak” in comparison to their own “stale burger patties,” and approval from my teacher, who asked to use my pieces as future examples, my heart fluttered as I took in such compliments. I could feel myself smile like the innocent child I used to be, and finally, I regained the courage to continue writing.
My struggles have changed me not only as a writer, but also as a person. Before, I was blindly in love with the concept of writing, but now, I have accepted all the good and bad of my choice to continue writing, and I do not regret it in the slightest.
“I’m a writer,” I proclaim confidently, with a smile that encompasses more complicated emotions than before but the same genuineness nonetheless.