According to Google, a literacy autobiography can be defined as "an account of significant factors and events that have contributed to your development as a reader or writer". I had to write this for my EN101 class, but I found while writing it that it was very insightful.
Writing is brown. My mind always associated different colors with different school subjects: English is blue, history is purple, math is red, and writing is brown. It’s not the light brown of a desert sand dune, or the dark brown of sticky mud. Writing is the soft brown of a living tree trunk, or of the fur of baby fawn. The brown that comes to mind when I think of writing isn’t gross or dirty, it’s soft and warm and alive.
As a child, I was a stereotypical nerd, and quite honestly I still kind of am. I went to the library so often that everyone who worked there knew my name. In fact, one of the most prominently displayed photos in my family’s dining room is of me, age seven, reading Moby Dick because I saw it in the library and immediately wanted to read what I called “the whale book”. I had notebooks full of stories about robots taking over the world, heroes fighting dragons, and pretty much any other story a young child could fantasize about. I never wanted to leave these worlds I found tucked in between the pages of books. The less realistic the story was, the more enamored I became.
Stephen King said in his memoir On Writing, “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” I have yet to come across a statement equally as simple, true, and pleasant as that. Some people say that there’s no such thing as magic, just because we don’t hear of people waving wands like Harry Potter or calling on the Goblin King to take away younger brothers. I believe that there is magic everywhere in this world. There’s magic when a girl shows her best friend the friendship bracelets she made for them to wear, and when a boy swings high enough on the swingset to see over the top of the hedges, and there is a special kind of magic when someone opens a book and is transported to a new time and place just by reading the words on the page. The best part about writing is the thought that one day, I could be the reason someone starts believing in magic. I can’t imagine doing anything with my life that would be more rewarding than that.
While reading and writing are wonderful things, it is possible to get too into something and forget to live your life. There have definitely been moments where I could feel my soul becoming “as dry as the pages of the books to which [I] so desperately cleave” to quote Professor Trelawney in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I would get so into whatever book I was reading or story I was writing that I wouldn’t even realize what was going on around me. There have also been times where I was on the opposite end of the spectrum and wanted nothing to do with reading or writing, the most memorable time being when my brother told me there was no chance I could ever make it as a writer, so I avoided the topic completely. It had only been a few weeks since I started thinking about writing as a viable career option when I decided to tell my family about the idea. I didn’t have anything really planned out, and I had hoped my parents and siblings could give me some input on how to make my dream happen. My parents weren’t too thrilled about the idea since writing novels wouldn’t really have been a steady and reliable job, but they were still supportive because it made me happy and that’s really all they cared about. My brother, however, became the biggest jerk possible and actually started laughing at me. What kind of older brother laughs in the face of his thirteen year old sister when she tells him what her dreams are? He told me I was stupid for even thinking about being a writer. I cried and locked myself in the bathroom. My parents had to pick the lock after I had been in there for a few hours. They made my brother apologize but I could see in his eyes he really didn’t mean it. It took several months and my mom’s endless encouragement for me to get past that obstacle and back to what was, and still is, a fundamental part of who I am. What my brother said that day doesn’t really affect me negatively now, but instead the memory serves as a reminder that following my dream isn’t always going to be smooth sailing.
About two years ago, I started publishing some of my poems and short stories on a website that was designed to be a community for writers to read and critique each other’s work. I didn’t expect to get so much helpful feedback in such a short amount of time, but within a few months I had garnered a few dozen followers and several hundred reads. I didn’t think it was possible, but being on that website and meeting a group of people with similar goals to my own made writing feel more like home. It became more than just something I wanted to do and then push out into the world; it became a way for me to connect with the world.
On November 1st, 2015, I signed up to participate in NaNoWriMo for the third year in a row, hoping I would finally reach the arbitrary goal of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. I did not write a single word of any story that entire month. Or the month after that. And in the months after that, the inspiration and motivation came in dribs and drabs of five minutes one day, ten minutes a week and a half later. I couldn’t even bring myself to read the SparkNotes of the books my teacher had us read for class; my friends had to actually force me to read the books. Now it has gotten much better and I have been reading and writing more often, but it’s been almost a year and I’m still not up to the level I had been last October. I have no clue what caused this major reading and writing slump or why it’s lasting so long, but all I can do is force myself to read and write even though I barely have any motivation, inspiration, or desire to do what used to bring me the most happiness in my life. That’s not to say I don’t still have a passion for it, but reading and writing have become almost a chore to me, and that’s what saddens me the most about the whole situation.
Even though Bob Ross was a painter and not a writer, something he said in one of the episodes of The Joy of Painting really stuck with me, and I feel like it can be applied to my current situation quite nicely. He said, “You gotta have opposites - dark and light, light and dark in painting. It’s like in life. Gotta have a little sadness once in awhile so you know when the good times come. I’m waiting on the good times now”. Even though I’m currently waiting on the good times in regards to my reading and writing, I know that in the future I’ll look back on this past year and realize just how amazing the good times are.
The other day on Instagram, someone messaged me asking what my sexuality was, and my response was the following: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ . When I first figured out I was queer, I went with the label bisexual. Then pansexual. Most recently I've said grey-asexual with no label on my romantic orientation. Honestly, I'm still trying to figure everything out in regards to my sexual and romantic orientations, but it's okay because I'm young and have my whole life ahead of me to figure it out. Perhaps talking through it (or in this case writing) will help me.
Even as a little kid, I knew that I was able to be romantically attracted to boys and girls, and now that I am more educated on the topic of gender, I know I could be romantically attracted to those who don't fit in the gender binary. I've never really had any question about this part of me, it's always just been finding a label that fits. Recently I haven't been using a label and while it is kind of a strange feeling, I feel like this is the most accurate way to describe how I am.
My sexual orientation is where things get kinda messy. At some point in time, I began to think that I didn't experience sexual attraction. Then I realized that I do experience sexual attraction, but only to people I feel romantically attracted to, kind of like being demisexual. The idea of being close enough with someone to give part of you to them by having sex sounds appealing, but when I think about me personally doing the physical act of having sex, it makes me feel sick and want to throw up. I honestly don't know what to think about it.