When I was young, there was only one thing I knew for sure. I knew that I didn’t want anyone to forget me, so I carved my name in stones and left pictures in walls. This was the only thing I knew about myself until a year ago.
I was never one person. I never knew who I was or who I wanted to be. For as long as I can remember, I was who I needed to be to the person in front of me. As any child does, I feared I would never belong, so I did what I could to feel accepted.
Of course, we’re all confused at a young age, but you always hear stories of people growing out of it. That didn’t happen for me. When I reached my mid-twenties, I still had no idea. Once again, I took a breath, placed the mask on, and went out into the world hoping that I would have everything figured out when I returned home. It wasn’t until I realized that I wanted to be a writer that I started on a path of self-discovery. I truly believed I was a lost cause until I picked up a pen and started writing my first novel. I immersed myself in a world that felt comfortable. I got to know my characters until they became my friends. Then, they became my family. However, even after it was finished, I was still confused. I thought, “Am I a writer? Do I write stories that people will want to read? Am I smart enough for this?”
When I reached my late twenties, I realized what made me write so well. Sure, I was creative, and I love telling stories that change people’s perspectives, but there was something else. Something that made me a good writer. My mind was sick.
I denied my sickness for many years. I always knew it was there, but I didn’t understand it. I didn’t know what to call it. I was unable to explore the colors of my personality because the colors were lost in a blackness that I didn’t know how to escape.
I fought it for years until I began to delve deep into my own mind. I started reading, researching, and writing more often. I explored my sickness so that I could understand it and apply it to my art.
Most would say that I am glorifying my sickness. I guess in a way I am because it was the acceptance of it that led me to understanding who I was as a human being. Without it, I don’t think I would be have been able to write some of the most human stories I’ve ever written. I was able to swim in the emotions of my characters. I embraced their pain because it helped me through my own. My sickness made me feel things so very deeply to the point where the only way I could soothe it was by creating characters that would be surrounded by it.
I write stories for a living, so I can still cling to the hope that I won’t be forgotten. My mind is sick, but it’s who I am. The day I accepted it was the day that my writer’s block broke and the stories began to unfold. I wrote story after story and idea after idea. I made words into art because it was the only thing I could do. Closing my eyes and watching the gears move until my words were twisted and shaped into a beautiful ending was what I looked forward to.
There are days that I wish I was normal. I wish I could wake up with a smile and leave the house like everyone else, but I don’t have that luxury, so I escape through my stories and speak to my characters. At least I know they’re listening.
My mind is sick, but it’s who I am. I can’t change it, so I use it in the only way I know how. I accept my sickness for what it is, and I accept that I’ll always have it, but maybe it will help me write something as beautifully devastating as the life I have been given.