I was never read to as a child. At least, not outside of school. I absolutely loved reading though. As a seven year old, I was often found ordering books from the Scholastic Book Club catalogue, reading The Bailey School Kids series in the car, or flipping through pages of another Goosebumps book. As much as I loved reading, I was actively discouraged from doing it. I was repeatedly told that it was nerdy behaviour and reading too often would ruin my eye sight. So throughout my childhood and teenage years, I seldom read or was read to. All the reading I did was with school and university text books. But recently, as a 25 year old, I have rediscovered my love of reading. And to my surprise, I’ve also rediscovered who I am as a person.
My past circumstances
I was 23 years old when I realised my love of writing – only three years ago. As a child, I enjoyed writing personal thoughts in diaries and putting my emotions into songs and poetry – but I wasn’t encouraged to embrace my creative side. I didn’t have much of a chance to explore the beauty of reading – what it felt like to escape the world and get lost in another one. I wasn’t encouraged or praised for enjoying books the way I did as a child.
Photo Credit: Jomphong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
But I try to look on the bright side – I’m only 25 years old. I have many years of my life ahead of me. I have many years to purchase all the books I want to; to explore different bookshops. I have many years to wander aimlessly through different libraries, filling my hands with books after books. I have many years to make up for the books I never read. I have many years to practise the art of writing.
I could easily look back on the start of my life and feel resentful and angry at my circumstances. I could continue to wonder, “Would my writing career be any different if I had been read to as a child?” I could keep asking myself that, but it wouldn’t change a thing.
This present day
I believe that all of us have experienced life’s ups and downs to some extent. We’ve all had our own challenges, our own roadblocks, our own obstacles. We’ve had something or someone that has held us back from a better future. But who can prevent these past circumstances from taking control of our future?
I know that I’m an adult now. I’m responsible enough to make my own decisions. I’m strong enough to take control of my future.
I can read whatever books I want to read. I can be whoever I want to be.
There’s nothing stopping me any more.
Your circumstances don’t determine your future
We can’t change our past. We can’t go back and fix all the ‘mistakes’ we believe we’ve made. We can’t wish for something and have it come true.
But we can do something about the future.
Unlike many of the writers I know, I didn’t grow up knowing I wanted to be a writer. I didn’t grow up being read to all the time. I didn’t grow up being taken to the library. I didn’t grow up being encouraged to read, to write, to do what I wanted to do, to be who I wanted to be.
But I believe I have the ability to catch up. I believe I have the persistence, the determination, the passion to fulfil my potential as a writer.
I may be a writer who has only rediscovered their love of reading at 25 years old, but I’m also a writer who is determined to tell stories. I am a writer who, despite never being encouraged to read, has won writing contests and had work republished on a government website.
I’m a writer who was once too scared to put her hand up in class, but is now voicing her opinion to millions of people worldwide.
I refuse to let my circumstances determine my future.
I’m the only one who will determine what my future will be.