A ten year old me receives a camera for Christmas.
The best gift.
The start of something great.
I flash everything. Uncles; grandparents; my sisters, my brothers.
My mother says to my ten year old self she wants to pay for writing lessons.I ask Riding? Horses?! All excitement and joy. She says no, she says writing, words.Less excitement; oh. I don’t want to be a writer. I want to take pictures. I want to capture everything.
Thirteen and my mother read a story I had written. She tells me to take writing classes. Get lessons. She says I could be a great writer someday. I tell her, Momma no. I don’t want to write. I want to be a photographer. I know the name of the profession for capturing everything now.
At fifteen, I begin to find the will, the want, to write. Justin died. And I write. I write how much it hurts, how much it aches. It’s tragic. And it’s beautiful and the only thing I really own. I tell the paper how much I miss him. I tell it what it feels like to have a dead brother when you’re only fifteen; when he was only seventeen. He will always only be seventeen. I write for a year straight about him; maybe more. My mother finds it and worries. But still. You should be a writer. I don’t want to write for people. I want to capture their faces. I want to photograph their life. I don’t want to be a writer.
At seventeen I find another reason. I fall for the boy that smiled at me. A blue gym short and gray t-shirted seventeen year old girl, falling for the boy that smiled at me. I write. I write about the things I want him to know and everything I wish I knew about him. Two years of I want you I need you I miss you where are you? Two years of I love you, but I won’t tell you. I love you, and I told you. Six more months of how could you, and why couldn’t you just? I wrote it all: the anger and the love and the image of forgiveness that is just a lie I learned to tell really well. I wrote him poems and letters and let the whole world see what he did to me. And then, I stopped.
I still want to be a photographer. I want to capture images.
I kept writing, though. I wrote whatever came to mind. I wrote about this boy I like. I wrote about the summer sky and green eyes. I wrote about rain and new roads to travel. I wrote about the galaxy I want to discover. I want to be a photographer.
I keep writing. I write the words you are reading. I write the short story of an aspiring photographer that never wanted to be a writer. And all I do is write. I can’t stop. I want to paint pictures with words. I want to write. My dog is watching me. He wants outside, but I am too consumed. I don’t want to be a photographer. I want to write it all. I want to paint the pictures the cameras can’t see. I want to let people feel what I have felt and what I am trying to hide.
I’m giving myself to this new dream. It’s been waiting to unfold, to materialize my whole life. And I’m finally embracing it, loving it.
I want to write for no other reason than I don’t know how to stop.