On Writing

When I was fourteen, I bought myself a cheap silver ring with a multi-colored stone and put it on the ring finger of my left hand and decided I’d be married to my writing.

Boys weren’t interested in me for anything beyond friendship – never had been – and I wanted to make a real, passionate commitment to something in my life. I’d been writing for two years with the intent of being a writer, and everything I’d read about the matter said that being a writer was Hard Work, and I could expect decades of rejection, but if I was persistent, it might pay off in some way.

At sixteen, I gave that ring over to my high school boyfriend and he wore it around his neck on a black cord. He wanted a “real” commitment from me. That was the best one I could think of.

By eighteen, I wasn’t writing anymore, was on the verge of commiting suicide, and was stuck in an increasingly stifling relationship. He kept trying to give me other rings – diamonds and otherwise – but I rejected all of them. I didn’t want to marry him. I was already taken.

And now that I’m thinking of dating again, I realize I need to be wholly honest with my partner and have them really get it – the writing comes first.

A part of me wishes it didn’t. It would be fun for a guy to be with some sort of self-sacrificing maiden from some fairytale, I guess, but I’m not.

It’s not that I don’t feel things. I fall in love very easily. I love people. And when I love them, I tend to love them forever, no matter what kind of psycho they turn out to be. Because there’s something lovable about almost everybody.

But I’m very clear this time around. More even than I was after my high school boyfriend.

I have something I will lose myself in far more often than I’ll lose myself in a lover’s eyes. I have something I’ll think about far longer than a lover’s embrace. I have whole worlds in my head, an army of people, and a far future goal about where this writing is going to take me and what it will do for me.

And I will give up everything for that, because without it, I go a little nuts.

Without it, I’m not me.

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