Today at my professional development, we wrote about a time where we felt empowered.
When I was in high school, my friend "ran away" from home and lived with me and my family for about a week. She was a work friend, didn't go to my school, and we hadn't know each other that long. I admired her sense of humor and the confident way she floated around her big, glamorous group of friends. I felt lucky that she picked my house.
One day, while she was at her boyfriend's, I picked up the diary she left near my bed and, somehow, convinced myself it would be fine if I read her private thoughts. Maybe I was looking for information about myself (probably). What I found were poems. Pages of poems that rhymed. Lots about the boyfriend. I knew, suddenly and with weird certainty, that I could write too.
I started with a teeny tiny notebook, and I wrote about teeny tiny topics: descriptions of sunlight the hayfield, a haiku about my crush's freckled lip. Ideas that were easy to hide.
Several years later, I lived with that same friend, and we would regularly read work each other from our notebooks. My friend told me my poems were "like acid" and I felt hugely flattered.
My writing soon grew out of that baby notebook and spread messily all over notebooks that followed me from apartment to apartment, stories in Word documents, essays on floppy disks and hard drives. Feeling empowered to write is one of the biggest gifts and pleasures in my life, and is the reason I am a teacher today.