I was the quintessential black nerd: glasses, asthma and would rather read the dictionary than play sports. Like many of my ilk I got teased for acting white e.g. speaking with proper diction, using correct grammar and doing well at school.
At first I ignored it but as the years wore on I couldn’t take it. I stopped caring about learning, and thought about suicide more and more each day. On particularly bad days I’d lock myself into the bathroom at home and cry my eyes out.
It was during these dark times I retreated to a fantasy world where I was strong, never got sick and didn’t take crap from anyone. As time wore on i build walls to keep everyone out. If nobody got in they couldn’t hurt. People come and go, it’s pointless to become attached became my motto.
I prided myself on being above petty emotions and using logic to solve my problems. But the truth was I hadn’t vanquished my emotions but merely suppressed them.
As the years rolled by I learned you can’t stay behind the walls you’ve built if you want live a full life. The first step came when I met my first boyfriend. He was shyer than I and that required me to drop my defenses and become more active. While we broke up we’re it not for me I’d probably still be living in my head.
Since then I’ve learned to let others in and although you will get hurt you will also stumble upon great friends like those in my critique group. I never would have met them if I didn’t take the plunge and come to the first meeting.
I was petrified and didn’t come back for a few months but once I started attending regular meeting I learned so much form them, chief among them that I could write and the main obstacle holding me back was my fear of rejection and not being good enough.
Thanks to them and Jeff Goins Tribe Writer program I’ve gained the confidence to complete two novels, and will begin work on a third shortly, all in less than a year. There have been some bumps along the road.
I went through a four moth depression spell beginning in January of this year. It was thanks to my critique group that I was able to claw my way out that pit and begin getting my life in order.
Writing has not only given me a voice and platform to share my message but has also become a form of therapy for me. I’m still in the habit of bottling everything up but I find writing out my thoughts and emotions before they become overwhelm me is like a soul colonic.
Over the past four years I’ve struggled with mental health issues but last week I took the fist steps to managing it by seeing a psychiatrist and scheduling weekly visits with a councilor. My appointment is tomorrow and I can’t wait.