Even as a young girl, I felt a tug toward story-telling. My friend's barbies lived dramatic lives. From affairs to tragic, sudden deaths, our dolls experienced a wide range of adventures. I dug for agates in the gravel covering the paths in our backyard and, when I occasionally found one, I gleefully clutched the precious gem and daydreamed about its origin and path to me.
Once I learned to read, my horizons became limitless. I lived as Anne of Green Gables (my Gilbert shall remain nameless, and my story didn't work out quite as well as Anne's), acting impulsively and throwing myself headfirst into life. I battled stereotypes as I disguised myself as a boy and entered training to be a knight, along side a girl named Alanna in Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness Quartet. I devoured books quickly, leaving me without new content between twice-monthly library visits. My flashlight shining on creamy pages, under my bedspread, opened a gateway to universe after universe. I used the books I read as inspiration for my own stories.
At some point along the way, however, I lost my voice. My story felt ordinary and spinning tales no longer felt worthwhile.
In 2010, my paternal grandma spent time in hospice with terminal cancer. Her death rocked me to my core. In 2011, my maternal grandma let go after years of longing to join her late husband. In early 2012, just before my birthday, I learned my same-age cousin Dara was destined to lose her years long fight with brain cancer.
As one bout of grief snowballed into an all-consuming, suffocating, debilitating grief, words became my solace. Using Facebook and eventually Instagram, I worked to capture the essence of my experience with grief through words, initially as a survival mechanism. I sliced open my soul and let the pain gush out, not because I intended to be vulnerable but because I knew if I kept it inside, it would destroy me.
Now, words bloom into more than solace. I relish moments when I capture the perfect image. I shiver with delight when I am able to describe a moment in time. I write the stories of my sons' lives and, therefore, of mine. My intention is to notice and share both the difficult and the delightful, the gritty and the golden moments.
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