For years, I assumed that I possessed no obvious talent. Beginning in childhood, and progressing as I continued through middle and high school, I witnessed as my peers achieved amazing feats. Classmates won regional and state awards for athletics. Achievements were accomplished in music, drama and debate. And I? Well I sat in the furthest corner of every classroom, nearest to the door, the awkward dweller in a sea of outgoing, incredibly talented people.
I remember thinking to myself, one day as I was walking from my fourth period gym class to my counselor’s office to discuss which courses would be beneficial for the upcoming semester, that I never fit in anywhere. If there were anything I would be considered most likely to succeed in, it would be the award for the quietest person in our graduating class. In case you were wondering, I was the runner up to the eventual winner.
As I sat in my counselor’s office, my eyes scanning the plaques adorning his wall as he prompted his computer to generate the available course list for the upcoming term, I heard him thinking out loud to himself, asking himself a question before he provided his own response. He swiveled his chair so that he was facing me directly, and asked, “how do you feel about journalism?”
I had always loved to write, but most of my words to that point had found their way in to my diary, not exposed to the public. I wasn’t sure that taking a newspaper class, where my words would quite possibly be shared with the public, was a good idea at all. Yet, as he noted, I needed a course of this type to graduate, and he felt that a class such as this would also be a good way to break me out of my “shell.” Grudgingly, I agreed, and we finished creating my upcoming class list for the following semester, the thought of my newspaper class still months away.
Time however, was not my ally, as the following semester approached rapidly, and I found myself sitting within the newspaper office, the black cursor on my monitor blinking in anticipation at me, waiting for me to fill the screen. Where would I start? Certainly, at the beginning, yet I had no idea what would be considered a impact-ful first phrase that would make the rest of the student body read further. What if they picked up the latest edition of the newspaper, read the first few words of my first sentence, and determined that they would not like to read anymore? What if no one other than the pages of my diary cared to hear what I had to say? I had a deadline to write my first article, and I could not turn in an incomplete assignment. So I wrote, typing without reading my own words, hopeful that I produced a semi quality piece. I sent the article off to my newspaper and prepared for the worst.
To my shock, he actually liked what I had to write! Surprisingly, the student body liked it too! I was given more articles to write, and soon, I discovered that a course offered as an alternative to me was my niche. In a sea of students who had obvious talents, the shy, quiet girl had found her home.
As I graduated and advanced to my freshman year in college, I again found myself in the same position. A small fish in an ocean, I was struggling to find my place, and so, once again, I found myself in the newspaper office. Words were my comfort, and allowed me to connect to others in a way that my otherwise awkward nature would not allow. I was home.
After college, I found myself in the corporate world, far removed from my dreams as a journalist. I was suddenly the bearer of adult responsibilities and my words fell to the back burner of my life, quietly resting in the corners of my mind. The corporate life did not have room for the written word.
In December of last year, I found myself faced with a major life change. I was at a loss for what I wanted to do next, seriously questioning not only my purpose as a wife and mother, but as a person as well. I wondered what my next step was. Again, the written word found me, when I began this blog. I am so fortunate that I am able to write. I am thankful that the words that I have found comfort in on more than one occasion are now, as they have always been, my home.
My talent may not be obvious. My “talent” may not even be considered a talent. But for a shy, awkward person struggling to find her way in the world, this relationship I have with words is something I’d like to think makes me talented.