Earlier this week, a friend suggested that I start a Facebook page to feature the posts from my blog. It would be a way to connect with people who happened to come across my writing without having them come to my personal page. I initially just used my name on the page, but I kept getting confused about which FB page I was on. I tried to get the Facebook email address for just my name, but that was taken. So I came up with something to distinguish the page that would also make it easy to find:
It looked so weird to me at first. I’ve had so many identities over the years. Singer. Hurricane. Delta Gamma. New Yorker. Beauty Director. Traveling Yogi. None have made me as uneasy as I felt when I first saw that label, late at night while creating this page. No other label made me call a friend at 11pm, asking her is it okay, am I really allowed to call myself a writer and tell everyone on Facebook? Suddenly I’m in the throes of an identify crisis.
None of my other labels made me question myself.
I remember writing stories in a ruled spiral notebook in elementary school. It was light blue I think, I always wanted pastel colors. Page after page about characters just a little older, a littler cooler than I was. I would go into painstaking detail about their outfits, lots of Guess jeans and Espirit dresses, short skirts over leggings, elaborate barrettes and headbands. All of this description to cover up the fact that I had no idea what the dialogue should sound like. I didn’t know how 13 year olds really spoke to each other, I could only imagine that part. So I created the story around the things I did know, the things I could see, and imagined the rest.
I may have wanted to be a writer back then. I remember my beloved fifth grade teacher Mrs. Gospin introducing us to real, honest, gut-wrenching writing. Reading aloud to us in her raspy, dramatic voice the powerful words of Langston Hughes, the pain of Toni Morrison. I showed her my stories. She saw something special in me, in all of us probably, that we could all be just exactly what we wanted to be. A writer, an astronaut, an actor. It was all possible if you believed Mrs. Gospin, and I did.
But I forgot for a long time.
It took 25 years to find another Mrs. Gospin. Someone who said to me “YOU ARE A WRITER” and made me believe it. Who convinced me that people might want to read what I write, and might actually “like” a Facebook page dedicated to it. So I started this page and asked my friends to “like” it, me who has trouble asking for anything. Some did. Some ignored it, I’m sure. I understand. Some didn’t know what I was talking about with this “writing” page and why is it different than my regular profile. Some actually didn’t see it because they aren’t held hostage by their newsfeed everyday, spellbound by their friends’ status updates. I expected as much.
But a strange thing happened almost immediately after this page went public that I didn’t expect. People were really reading what I posted. The traffic to my blog spiked. The comments came in, one after the other. People re-blogged and re-posted my latest piece. They actually subscribed to receive my writing in their inbox. Other sites actually wanted me to write something for THEM.
It could all be coincidental. But I don’t think so. I think by identifying myself as a writer, by committing to it and sharing it, it legitimized it. It legitimized me.
No one objected. No one called me a fraud. No one put disclaimers after it, like “you’re not even getting paid” or “this isn’t your job”. All of the disclaimers that ran like a news ticker through my head. They just accepted it.
They accepted me.
Can you imagine that magic that could happen if we all shared with the world our “I AM”s? Not the “I Am Fat” or “I am Stupid” or “I Am Worthless” that may be a part of our story some days. But rather the truer stuff, the guts of us, and just put it out there. “I Am A Teacher”, “I Am A Healer”, “I Am An Inspiration”.
I AM A WRITER.
And now the magic starts. Now, as one person commented, it gets really, really good.
Thank you for being a part of the magic with me.
Katie Devine, Writer
If you want to join me on my facebook page, click here to “like”!