Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Looking Back... And Forward

  Happy Birthday, 2014!
  Back in 2007, I remember writing something down that I still smile at the thought of whenever a new year comes:

"Each year begins with a new light. A light that tends to fade as it gets closer to its end. A light we can't see, yet look forward to."

  That was a [school year, 2006-2007] that I was coming up with a bunch of stuff. New ideas, new dreams, discovering talents I never thought I had, etc. That was around the same time I was first writing this book (that was destroyed before it was finished). During the summer of 2006, I was daydreaming at night (what I named "gazedreaming", as it is silly to call it daydreaming when it is at night) of events that were realized to be in the third book (this one). So, starting in September or late August, I started writing in the covers at night (my over-controlling, abusive aunt, whom I was living with at the time, didn't want me to "write ever again". So, I had to write in secrecy. I wasn't going to let her kill my writing dreams. [Oh, yeah. I have four aunts. Only that one is mean. She bears a resemblance to how a bipolar behaves. Nice, mean, nice, mean. Our relationship to her is now: She is nice to send us stuff, but we never communicate/spend time with her). I probably wrote a good fourth of the book before the controlling and abuse got worse and I had to stop.
  The start of 2007 was looking optimistic. I wrote the quote above about new years coming and going, made plans to continue writing and discovering dreams, and then -- BAM! My aunt found out that I was a couple of months behind on my homework for my Fantasy Literature: Tolkien class.
  I always struggled in school, had trouble concentrating, had memory problems, etc. I more than likely had ADD. The fast pace of the class and the abuse didn't make it any better, either. The teacher allowed me extra time and extra slack, but my aunt didn't care. She took me out of all my classes at the Christian home school center and put me into what I called, "lone school". No internet, no phone calls, no pen pals. I couldn't communicate with my friends, couldn't communicate with cousins, couldn't even go to church. I was often put on "room restriction" for day, weeks, or months for small mistakes I did such as being literally 2 minutes late to bed or forgetting to clean the litter box one morning. The thing is: Stress makes you forgetful. And I was under a lot of it.
  For six months, I went under depression. I didn't know it at the time, but I was depressed. After six months, in mid July, I felt like I was going insane. I was afraid that being so depressed was going to affect my future, my dreams, my stories. I pulled myself out of it. I learned to dull my emotions, where I could just blank out the stress, the sadness, the anger, and I somehow pulled out of my depression. It didn't improve my overall situation, but at least I felt better. It took me about two or three weeks, as I remember, to completely pull out of it.
  Although I don't talk often about how I finally escaped my aunt's, I can say that it was relieving. Being traumatized, it took 1 or 2 years for me to really get back to thinking about my stories again. Even longer for me to break from writer's block.
  Being unable to fight my aunt for proof of my homeschooling (This was a month before I was supposed to graduate in 2010, and I was almost 18 years-old), the public school system had no choice but to have me redo high school all over again. Thankfully, I took some tests, including IQ and HSPE, so I was able to earn credits. I found out that my process for thinking was slower than the average person's, and my mathematical skills were Elementary school level (I'm still mentally disabled in math). But, I was happy to learn that my reading and writing skills were better than the average Senior, and that my IQ level was upper average.
  I didn't want to NOT graduate. I didn't want to get a GED, either (which I felt was kind of like cheating, in some way -- But not towards others, mind you. Only to myself. I had a close friend and neighbor get her GED). I figured that I would go with it, since I didn't know anybody in the neighborhood, I really needed help with my math skills, wanted to improve my writing skills even more, thought it'd be fun to take choir and photography and whatever other classes sounded fun (and free!), wanted to see what public high school was like, and -- more than anything -- prove to my aunt that I wasn't "stupid", that I WOULD graduate, and that I wouldn't end up flipping burgers at some fast food chain.
  It was so hard, but it was so fun and so worth it. I made a lot of friends, both out of teachers and kids, and I even became Vice-President and later President of the school creative writer's club (Trust me, even THAT job isn't easy!). I graduated. At the ceremony, I sang a solo with the choir (others had solos, too) in the song, Heart and Music by William Finn: "If I only had the time, what I would write for your delight!"
  Now, about 7 months later, I'm in the middle of writing a book. I've been looking for a job on and off, but I think I'll add more seriousness to my search, now. Hopefully, I'll find one that I can use my talents with. With the 3 extra years of school, I don't see myself going to college any time soon. Even if I had a scholarship or student loans, I would still have to pay for books and other materials, as well as race to find a job within 6 months after getting out of college. (Half of graduates who try to don't make it and end up going into debt. Personally, I don't want to be in that half, so I think I'll wait until those statistics improve, thank you.) I'm too poor, anyhow.
   Freedom to choose who you want to be and what you want to do in your life shouldn't have to come with a ball and chain to weigh you down. It should come with wings. And if you ever end up getting a ball and chain along with those wings, flap hard until you break free. Trust me, hardships are often long and hard (story of my entire childhood), but in the end it makes you stronger -- even if you feel it's the opposite.
  So, flap those wings. And fly.
  God bless you all, and have a wonderful 2014.

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