A few years into blogging and someone I really respect gave me a brochure to a writers conference they thought I’d be interested. If you ask Conor, I’m still talking about that event. Not only ‘who’ considered me a writer, but that someone considered me a writer, period.
It was a game changer for me.
I thought blogging was a weird thing to tell people I do. But as it came out, I would brush it off as ‘oh I just do a bit of blogging’. When the conversation moved to me being a writer, it was like suddenly I had permission to view myself as such.
I’ve never considered myself a writer but looking back I see it’s always been there. It’s always been my easiest means of articulating what I really need to get across.
Writing the words began with my childhood diary. I’d expose my best ‘nobody gets me, middle child drama’ I could scrawl in its tiny flowered pages. Protected by that impenetrable TINY lock (key of course hidden under the jewelry box, right?). I’d divulge things like how I was running away with my glitter hat and sandwich, but not to worry, I’d be in the camping trailer in the driveway. Or how I wished I was a Mini Pop and could win the affections of my neighbour’s grandson, Jesse, who I would woo with my classy yet affectionate rendition of ‘Dancing in the Streets’.
Then it morphed to writing fantastical stories in a three-ring binder that were never finished. Early evidence that I’m a great starter but not so hot on the finishing pa…..
Then to writing emo poetry back and forth with a girlfriend in high school. We were misunderstood in unison, using our best imagery of skyscapes and our best rhymes for the word melancholy. Teenagers are so weird sometimes. Side note, I also found my teenage diaries. Reading them smacked me with the sickening confirmation that my brain was actual mush ’til about my mid-twenties.
Despite taking on a science-based career, I never stopped writing. Into my adult life, I write. I write songs. I have a prayer journal full of painful stuff that will be buried with me. I write each day in the ‘line a day’ . I have a drawer full of notes between Conor and I. These notes are the communication of feelings and events, anger, joy and passion over the past 11 years. We even have a book of notes we keep writing back and forth to each other. It started as an assignment from a marriage counsellor: to write three things each day that we appreciate about each other. Though now, some days I just try to subliminally brainwash him into talking about feelings, or draw him pictures of what cartoon Shawna will do to cartoon Conor if he leaves his tuna cans in the sink one!more!fing!time! We clearly have a very mature relationship and clearly, I’m better at sentences than sketching.
If you met me IRL (in real life) I might not plunk neatly into the puzzle-shaped slots that my words carve into cyberspace. In fact, IRL I get rambly and awkward. Okay, maybe you aren’t surprised by that. Hmm…. maybe if I realized years ago that I could craft any perceivable version of myself and blast it to the world through social media to convince you it’s true, I might have made myself taller, and by taller I mean Beyonce.
I started blogging over 7 years ago for lots of reasons, most of them don’t hold water years later. Other than one: I would be writing anyway.
I’ve shared with you that I’m a recovering wallflower. I had no clue how to use my voice, my tone, my projection, the content. I was meek and timid and insecure. So much so that I wouldn’t even wear nail polish in fear that it would draw more attention to me. A far cry from the woman wearing lipstick alone at home and being open and vulnerable to an online community.
Words are my most genuine voice, they let me edit out all the other distraction I may impose on my communication.
Writing has made me reach out through all the criss-crossed messages I have trouble sifting through and pluck out the ones that ring the truest to my inner sentiments.
Writing has been a mirror into things I didn’t even know about myself.
Writing has also allowed me to make myself known to people I consider dear, whom I want to be closer with, but haven’t been able to let true self translate face-to-face.
Writing is the easiest way for me to release some hard truths and general shenanigans that you read and know we have them in common, that we are all in this together in various weaving ways.
So thank you for joining in this conversation with me. Thank you for sharing your writing right back.
And if I can ever possibly, convince you that I am Beyonce, then that would be the ultimate definition of Word Swagger, and you! would be my most favourite reader, ever