So I forgot that I had signed up for Blogging 101 and Writing 101 as well as NaBloPoMo… this month I will be doing a little juggling. Today, I’m going with the NaBloPoMo prompt of the day and rewinding to Monday’s Writing 101 prompt.
NaBloPoMo prompt: What is the most important lesson you learned as a child, and who taught it to you?
Writing 101 prompt: I write because…
I think I can tackle both in one.
The most important lesson I learned was definitely that nothing matters more than family. And of course, family taught me that. Twice.
When I was in grade six, my family had the lovely Christmas gift of a house fire. There was lots of damage (mostly water damage, as is typical) and we spent Christmas at my cousin’s. It was one of the best (and worst) Christmases I had.
We lost lots of precious items, including family things like photos, toys, baby clothes. I have no baby pictures except one where I was maybe four, sister two. It’s my prized photo of us, I love it. We look adorable and happy in it. And it’s all I have.
I think I learned how material things are not as important and who we have in our life to share with. I have talked about how I can’t claim to be completely unmaterialistic, but I think I’m doing pretty well still. Like I say, we lost a lot. We as a family learned to live with what we had, and we found happiness in that rough time. We had each other, and that’s what mattered most, even though it was stressful not having a home of our own. Family is what kept us together, and not just my mom, dad, and sister — my aunt, grandparents, and cousins, too. We all had each other’s backs.
The second time, I was in grade ten, and like many kids at that age, I felt very strapped down and stressed. Hormones, angst, whatever, I decided to spend a few days away from my family after a big fight I’d had with my mom. I went and stayed with one of my best friends‘ for I think three or four days.
My parents didn’t take that very well.
Essentially, my dad kicked me out when I returned, saying I’d walked out on them and betrayed them. He said he was ashamed to be my dad. “As far as I’m concerned, you are no longer my daughter,” he said. (Now, I think he was probably trying to scare me, but I don’t really know honestly.) Lots and lots of crying. Anyway, I felt pretty screwed so I left with nothing except the clothes on my back, and planned to walk to a friend’s house a few block’s away. At the time I just figured I’d get a part time job and stay with MHP until I figured shit out. Before I left, my sister came out to give me a precious piece of jewellery of hers and told me in tears never to forget her. “Of course I’ll never forget you,” I told her.
Then my mom ran out as I was walking away, and asked me what I was going to do. I told her I didn’t know. We had a weirdly short conversation, and by the end of it she invited me back inside. The next few weeks were quiet and tense, but eventually things were back to normal.
In the time where I thought I had nothing, I learned that without my family, I really had nothing.
Funny, considering how things ended up going later on. I suppose that explains why it was so hard for me: I still haven’t figured out how exactly to be happy without my family. Even though they’re around, they’re not, for more reasons than one.
But it’s the truth. Without my family, I am very lost. And I learned that from my family.
Inspired by this, I wrote one of the most important pieces I have ever written.I won’t share it here — I’m not quite ready for that. But it was then that I learned how important writing is for me.
With that piece, I wrote to feel. I write to feel whatever it is that is hiding inside, because I always lock it up, deep and far away.
I wrote to speak. I write to find a voice and have my say, share with you what I want you to hear, the things I am afraid to say out loud.
I wrote to try. I write because in real life, trying can be so much harder than people tell you.
I wrote to explode. I write to get rid of everything around me, channel it into my fingertips, onto the paper, onto the screen, into the world.
That is the most important thing I learned as a child. This is why I write.