I was the strange one, the child that didn’t quite fit in. At the time, I found this to be a hurdle that was too much to bear. I tried in vain to mimic the “cool kids”, in hopes of thus becoming a successful honorary member. As you may have guessed, this tactic of course failed. I enjoyed music that didn’t always fit the “norm” for a child that matched my physical characteristics – i.e., a little Black girl who enjoyed bands like Tears for Fears and Nirvana. I found reading and writing to be pure pleasure, and taught myself how to type on my mother’s old typewriter that she used while attending college. The ribbon was washed-out, the ink in shades of faded gray. Unfortunately, my world was stark black and white. There were clear expectations of me from others who didn't know me... unspoken rules of what a child is supposed to do and be, all of these I could not seem to meet. I forever remained the ‘weird kid’. I enjoyed drawing, painting, daydreaming and pretending to be someone that I wasn’t…
…Accepted for being me.
Oh how desperately I wanted that to be true.
Tormented by bullies, one child in particular who made my elementary school days and freshman high school year a living a hell (it only stopped when she finally departed and went away to another school). After awhile, I no longer tried to fit in, belong or be one of many. I embraced myself, my eccentricity, my willingness, no… my need, to think outside of the box. Writing was an outlet for me. It was medicine. A cure to a broken spirit and tormented soul. I had parents who loved me, a roof over my head and food in my stomach, but I struggled for so long until I finally was able to look at myself and say, “Hey, you’re alright…”
There are so many different people in the world… children like me who grow into adults and by our mere existence, challenge what is acceptable, in fashion, likeable, attractive, etc. Being cookie cutter is comfortable, but it doesn’t make waves. It doesn’t pick apart the carefully constructed matrix of superficiality and hierarchies to keep us from truly investing in ourselves. It doesn’t move the puzzle pieces around, it doesn’t sway the still waters, it doesn’t gain momentum up the mountain or like that old typewriter ribbon, fade into a misty, fog like mysterious gray. It’s stagnant, hell-bent on remaining clearly black or white, never asking ‘what if’. If both sides of the lines mixed, blurred, became friends, dare I say, become one, what in the world would happen? I went from a shy, at times depressed young lady, to an outspoken, jovial, assertive, open-minded woman who embraced her creativity and set out on a journey to make it more than just medicine.
I have no regrets about the experiences I have shared with you, because they made me stronger and who I am today. I have the confidence to bring my readers stories that are deemed different from the norm, delve deep into character development, stay true to my own style of writing and what I wish to convey. I take the reader on a journey of exploration of not only other worlds, planets and lifetimes, but gently nudge them into a place of reflection and analysis.
This universe is too big to limit oneself. There are so many different types of people, places and things to explore. YOU ARE ALIVE, SO LIVE YOUR TRUTH. What if you tried something different and lo and behold, liked it? What would that say about you?
I think it would say that you have good taste and are now feasting on the carefully prepared delicacies created by the eccentrics, movers and shakers and quiet storms of the literary world.
Author Tiana Laveen