I was asked once “How did you survive?” as a response I shrugged and jokingly said “beats me.”
Truth is I’m still surviving it. Now to many this is puzzling because, well, what could a girl like me have to survive? I don’t know if I would call it physical abuse. I wouldn’t say I was hit much as a child. Now verbal abuse, that’s where I lay my experience, this is where all my writing stimulates. When I was little and my parents would fight, I would make up alternate endings in my head. Picture our trip to the mall differently; think about what I would have done if I had a do over. Like anyone else in the world probably does. Right?
At night I needed noise to fall asleep, TV or music it didn’t matter to me. I would listen to the voices and make up my own music videos or add my own people to the television noise and watch something different behind my eye lids. That was where it started, that was where the fabrication of reality began to charm me. It was an addiction, every night I would play different images in my mind, listen to the same song a hundred times with different endings or plots.
I can’t pin point when but I began writing things down as soon as I could. I had a Barbie diary and I’d write all sorts of stuff in there. From conversations I had with imaginary friends to thoughts I had about how people appeared in my eyes. I sat there for hours drawing, writing, or doodling. I wanted to express myself and I wanted to take on the world of how people communicated. I was fascinated to watch grownups at the parties talk for hours. I loved watching them laugh and get excited about things.
I soon began to read. To soak up story after story, Archie Comic books, Mary Kate and Ashley Mystery Adventure books, or Goosebumps books. I loved reading stories and once my little sister had the capacity to sit in one place I would tell her my own stories. Every night before bed we pick up where we left off. Then we would stay in the bedroom all day sometimes listen and hanging on every word of the story. My parents never understood.
Then poetry happened. I wrote a poem for my seventh grade Language Arts teacher and he liked it. He praised me to keep going. So I did. I kept writing, I joined writing clubs, I joined programs at school to keep me there longer. Anything so I wouldn’t go home and live in a world where your parents hate each other and to cope with not talking to each other they talk to you. This forced me at a young age to understand the dynamic of an adult sexual relationship. I was over it, I wanted out. I went to poetry slams, I wrote poem after poem, typing like a mad woman, practicing in front of the mirror, working my voice bending it to do different things.
Once I started typing up my stories I would put them on this Hey Arnold fan-fiction site. It was crazy listening to what people I had to say about my stories. High school came and I was still telling stories to my little sister, I was reading more and more books. I was reading a book every two or three days. I was telling my little sister stories that went on for weeks at a time.
Then our relationship as sisters grew. She would tell me stories, we would sit up in the living room after our chores and read or write together on our laptops at opposite ends of the couch. We talked about the books we read we talked about the movies we saw and we wrote about it all.
So when all was said and done and I needed to vent or I needed to go away it all came back to writing.
So ask me again. “How did you survive?”
I survived because I have a distinct ability. I survived and still am because like 95% of people in the world I can make shit up when I have to and like 65% of people in the world I can make it interesting.