The "Why" of Kaitlyn Creates: Writing as an Escape Toward Self-Expression
Writing is an important part of life. The “why” is a little more complicated.
But here it is: when I was growing up – a mixed race kid with identity issues – I lacked the good friendships that many children have. Sticking out my neck to build connections was just something I did not do under any circumstances. It wasn’t just that I looked different from the white kids in my private school; any risks I took to forge a friendship, let alone an acquaintance, were stomped on.
There was M, the girl who used me to complain about why the popular girls wouldn’t play with her, only to dump our recess talks when they invited her to their table. There was B, the girl who told her mom to tell me she wasn’t home when I called for a playdate. There was D, the boy who laughed at me for my stutter when performing a poem in front of the entire class. There was Mrs. M, the teacher who called me stupid. There was A, who told me I would never amount to anything. Or L, the girl who threw rocks at me during recess. Yeah – I learned to disappear pretty quickly in life.
But while I was learning to close myself off verbally, I always could find deep comfort in the confines of my books and writing notebooks. I loved to write as a kid. My first story was about Sissy -- super original name -- a girl who was tenderly caring for her flower in the windowsill. Then there was the anthology about two siblings and their various adventures and misbehaviors, undoubtedly inspired by my own sibling.
The point is, writing was my escape from a world where I was stifled from connection and self-expression.
Of course, a lot of anxieties I have around social connections are still very, very present. I don’t claim to have many close friendships. I very much prefer to stay at home and write blogs. I suppose I’m a bit of a self-saboteur, but I simply don’t associate social connections as the primary source of my own self-expression. Through all of the bullying and isolation I knew as a child, I still find that same immense comfort in writing today as an adult.
On paper I can be myself untethered.
But while I’m free to be my hashtag best self vis a vie writing, I realized that there are a lot of people out there who are struggling to do the same. I’ve seen people self-censor, as if they are seeing themselves for the first time and aren’t completely satisfied. They second guess themselves, wrangling for the perfect phrase while their true voice goes unnourished. Or maybe they just don’t trust what they’re saying. But all of that is just a roadblock to true self-expression.
And it is why I get so much ardor from writing for people. It’s not just the amalgamation of words. I love hearing people’s stories. I love learning about their experiences. I love seeing people illuminate when they talk about their favorite this or their favorite that. The only thing I do is translate those stories into a cohesive narrative.
While I have felt stifled for a lot of my life, I found an escape route with writing. I’m forever grateful that I have the chance to use a skill honed from not-so-great experiences to support people as they find their own voices. It’s my story of making lemonade from lemons. And I hope one day I get to hear your story, too.