Everyone's journey is unique. I also believe that everyone's journey is powerful and that if shared, can impact the lives of others for the good. Here is mine.
The Why Behind the What
I was lucky enough to realize the power of writing early on in my life. Writing--along with a combination of several other things such as having teachers to model myself after--was a salvation to me.
Both my parents were mentally ill. It was through no fault of their own, but they weren't the type to seek any sort of intervention, at least until the day it was forced upon them. My mother was bipolar and my father was paranoia schizophrenic, something that got progressively worse after he retired from the military. One of my earliest memories with them involved was when I was four years old; my father lost his temper and had beaten my mother. With her face beginning to bruise, she was quite upset when she asked me, "Why didn't you do anything?"
Continuous outbursts of domestic arguments that sometimes led to violence sprinkled my adolescence. In addition to this, there was the constant "running away" my mother would do. Sometimes it would only be for a day, sometimes for several weeks.
Unpredictable on the timing, she would take the car and steal away in the night, or would be gone upon getting home from school. Needless to say, I was more the mother figure in my house than she was.
I was in fourth grade when writing started to become my outlet. I wrote stories while also crafting poems and keeping journals. I threw myself into writing as it was the only "safe" place I felt I had. The paper I scribed upon was the only truly nonjudmental ear I had. I could share the anger and fear that I hid to the world. I could share my dreams and desires to break away. I could also rely on it to not give away any secrets.
Early instinct verified the old adage "Knowledge is power". After an extremely tumultuous time period where I was kicked out the house my senior year of high school, I eventually made it to the doorstep of college just months later with the help of a pastor's family of a local church. I pushed through, majoring in Secondary English Education, and eventually became a middle school teacher. I didn't know much, but I was a fighter and I knew I wanted to be a model to students just as my teachers had been to me. I knew that if someone like me could make it through, then they could.
Shortly after, I decided to pursue a M.A. in Counselor Education, continuing into the education field as a school counselor. Initially, though I wanted to continue to learn, deep down, I felt it helped me to not be like my parents. It gave me a chance to discover more about myself and how to help others. It also helped me see more of the benefit of writing and how there are times that writing can be more helpful than another person. That's not to put down counseling professionals--I actually believe everyone could use a good counselor in life. However, all too often when we go through obstacles in our lives, most of us don't realize that we truly have what we need to succeed and overcome within ourselves.
Open and honest writing tends to have a tendency to bring that truth out.