I am raised in a family which encourages creativity. I enter essay contests and write poetry with abandon. I am a voracious reader, and stack up summer reading program ribbons.
Age eight, my older brother is diagnosed seriously mentally ill. I grow up overnight, and put my energy into solving adult problems.
Middle and high school, I journal to ease emotional discomfort, and publish a paper or two about teenage misadventures. Accolades come from theatre and acting, so I leave writing behind. I can hide who I am in other people, and it feels safe.
Early-twenties I attend college, but it pales in comparison to a life of parties and predictive relationships. I fail out, work full-time, and try again. Eventually acting comes back to help me graduate, and I move to Hollywood to repay the favor.
Early-thirties I spend my days at an office job, dreaming of my big break. Instead of becoming rich and famous, I find recovery in 12-step programs. Much later I realize this is a better deal.
Late-thirties in the span of 18 months my brother and mother die, I lose my job, my car, and a lot of my mental footing. I return to school to find myself and piece things together. Creative writing makes a brief appearance but feels frivolous so I abandon it.
Early-forties I work full-time and graduate with honors and new degrees from two colleges. I return to acting again to avoid drowning in unresolved grief. Something is missing, but I can’t quite place it. Computer work appears to be a good fit.
Mid-forties one summer night a cicada comes into my kitchen. I crawl up on a chair to trap it and lose my footing. I fall backward and sustain a traumatic brain injury.
As part of my rehabilitation it is suggested I return to writing. When I do something lights up in me and whispers, “We missed you! Welcome home.”