Like most teenagers of any given generation, I was filled with the usual angst of boy/girl relationships, girlfriend arguments and the never ending question of what to wear and who to sit with at lunch. Looking back, these events were hardly worth the time I spent brooding over them, but it was my world and my problems seemed larger than life.
I was the good girl. I went to church every Sunday and youth group Sunday night. I hardly ever swore, I made curfew and my clothes never revealed the assets God so generously bestowed upon me and I protected my virginity like it was a rare gilded treasure. I dated the good guys; the guys who wouldn’t dream of reaching for said treasure. It certainly didn’t hurt; however, that the one I dated the most just happened to be in the proverbial closet.
Unlike a lot of the others in school who leveraged drugs, alcohol or total abandonment as an outlet, the group of friends I chose to spend my time with had fun doing pretty much nothing at all. We laughed a lot, watched Monty Python movies, ate pixie sticks and drank Mountain Dew. Our hang out location of choice was Perkins or Wal-Mart and we highly enjoyed acting like goof balls on any school playground. We spent our hard earned or begged for money at the dollar theatre in town or splitting an entrée and Coke. We were the band members, the flag, a few theatre folks and some who were just plain cool. They were inspiring… life at the time was inspiring.
In my senior year, a few of my close friends and I chose to take a Creative Writing class in hopes of an easy A. Our teacher danced to the beat of her own drum. She didn’t just want to be the one lecturing and grading tests. She was close to our age, not far out of college and she wanted to be our friend.
It wasn’t long before the homework and her enthusiasm ignited a fierce passion for writing. Poems, short stories, streams of consciousness, that were quirky, edgy at times and full of life with all the joy and sadness in my heart. When I would write, I could go anywhere, be anyone. Whether it was simply ranting about something to get it off my chest, or creating my own world filled with everything mine was missing. Writing became a part of me.
Every time I finished a piece for class I would take it to my step-dad to edit. A life-long journalist, I valued his opinion above all others. He would be sitting at the kitchen table with his large, dark rimmed glasses on and his comb-over hair style slightly askew and would read with studied intensity. Those moments while he was proofing grammar with the dreaded red pen, I would hold my breath searching his face for any sign of approval. They were the longest moments in history. But it was during those encounters we shared a connection that even time will never fade.