Whenever I feel sad or discouraged, I put his song on my headphones. It helped me through some difficult times like bad days in the classroom as a substitute teacher, a bunch of guys in my high school calling me ‘fat’ and ‘ugly’, and now the feeling of chucking the idea of writing under the heading ‘Childish Things to Put Away.’
The thinking goes like this: Why not forget this writing thing and be a responsible adult?
I did not grow up in an upper-middle class house with parents reading Shakespeare. I went to a comprehensive high school bored out of my skull with classes, I entertained the thought of dropping out of high school until I pragmatically determined graduating will get me to university, which will get me to the learning I want. I went to this school as going to a better high school, or the University of Winnipeg’s Collegiate was not encouraged or out of the question.
I originally wanted to be a writer, even thought about journalism as a career. What happened? I listened as a good girl to some advice to not follow it as it will not make me any money. I did not come from a family of artists, or had writers as relatives. I went to a high school known for its vocations more than its academics. If you wanted academics, send your kid to nearby Miles MacDonell Collegiate.
So I tried to get a practical career (teaching) and get a guy to marry to prove to the idiots I am lovable and beautiful. All through this craziness, this song kept playing. Sometimes it pulled me out of some pretty dark places. Now it just pulls me out of a crater made with so much fear. I have walked the streets of New York yet doubt still lingers like a skin condition flaring up from time to time.
I did learn one thing from all my books, from the writers I read in fiction and memoir. Sometimes just writing it down makes the fear look small. Sometimes writing it down, or in this case singing it, eases the sadness or minimizes the regret. Sometimes drama teaches empathy. I believe there’s a place, as the song goes, there’s a place we belong.
I just have to keep trying.