“think about why you’re blogging. Be as specific (“to review 1970s Korean sci-fi movies”) or general (“to write about my life”) as you want.” ~ Michelle W., Day One: Welcome to your first day of blogging, BLOGGING UNIVERSITY
“What comes to mind when I say star? Many things. You may first think back to the days of grade school where you learned that our Sun is a star. You may, instead, think about a night you looked into the darkened atmosphere above, the billions of dancing stars gloriously illuminating, the magnificent orchestra of the cosmos playing silently just for you. Or perhaps, you think of the white letters standing triumphant on Mount Lee, over looking the Santa Monica Valley the place where aspiring stars come to find their shine.
These are all stars. We are stars, and like stars, we are unique and magnificent, but ordinary in our plentifulness. We will never run out of stars as we may never run out of people. You are just a star. I am Just A Star: 1 in 100, Billion.” ~ justastar100billion, Just A star & About Page
Why have a blog? Everyone has their own reasons as to why they want to write. I want to write to share my voice and my experiences.
Little School, Big Thinkers
My love of stories started when I was very young. In The Day a Dog Taught Me How to Write, I share the love of the creative writing class that I was apart of in elementary school. This class had a huge impact on my desire to write creatively, but it wasn’t just that class; it was my teachers, and to a larger extent, my school.
District 5-R, later called District 505 before it closed in 2005, was a very small country school in the middle of farm country in North East Nebraska. The school board and teachers were well aware that low populated areas of the U.S. tended to lag behind academically from the more populated school districts.
Along with having fewer resources, farmers on average, are not very high on the Social Economic Status “scale.” Farmers, like my family, were generational businesses where the father handed the business down to his children. Like my grandfather, many farmers are not college educated and, therefore, are not familiar with the benefits of a college education. Like all professions, there is diversity, so some farmers do have college degrees, so, I am not saying that all farmers are not highly educated just a large portion of them don’t hold a college degree.
My school and teachers didn’t want these circumstances, low population and less parental supervision on academic achievement, to affect the students attending my school. A large emphasis on writing and reading was implemented to help motivate us kids to want to learn and get great grades. It worked. All most all the students had strait A’s and creative writing became a competitive sport at my little school.
Some Bumps Along the Way
However, I wasn’t a terrible student, but like some kids, I struggled to learn how to read and write. My school had a solution. They were not going to let this get in the way of my education. They hired a special education teacher to give me a little more help. She was phenomenal. I owe my love of ‘colorful’ words and big creative ideas to her. She never discouraged my attempts at writing. She found what I was good at, capitalizing on it, allowing me to find my voice. If I couldn’t spell a word, look it up. If I had a run on sentence, look to see where you can add a period. If I wrote an incomplete sentence, take out the ‘sentence chart’ and see what ‘ingredient’ I left out. She made writing fun, and in turn, I became a life long learner.
Then Self Doubt, Self Hatred, and The Opinion of Others Happened
College was one of the best experiences of my life, as well as one of the worst. College is where I learned wonderful new ideas, larger than life concepts that awoke a mini activist inside. But college, also, introduced me to a level of criticism and scrutiny that I had never experienced before. I am not saying that criticism is bad, it is necessary in the search for truth, scholarship, and professionalism. I am saying I wasn’t prepared for it. The criticism didn’t just come from the professors it came from my peers, too.
Friends commenting on my progress to boyfriends asserting I look for a more fruitful hobby. And a type of criticism I greatly appreciate now, but at the time I would have rather been burned alive then continue to be beaten down by it – self criticism. I questioned everything. My appearance, my values, my beliefs, I think for a very short moment my sexuality (but I would rather not go into that right now) and the worst of all: my faith.
I spent hours listening to lectures from the historical accuracy of the bible to watching strange debates between apologists and skeptics on YouTube late at night instead of focusing on my studies – this was a weird time in my life, just letting you know. How could I focus on histograms when I may have just realized my entire perception of the world may have all been a lie?
I couldn’t study Anne Fausto-Sterling’s “The Five Sexes” exploring her detail of the intricacies of human sexuality while unmasking the gender binary mythos, while questioning if the God I was leaning into to for love, support, and guidance could just be just a figment of my imagination. I broke myself, which I needed, but not at that time in my life.
As with all existential crises, a certain level of depression developed. The deeper a person is in their fantasies, the harder they will fall once they realize they are not real, and I was in real deep, so it makes sense that I fell father down that I thought was even possible. My best friend was make believe, and instead of grieving his loss, I was supposed to gather the bloody shards of my heart, stuff them in a box, and translate “The Faerie Queen” from Old English to Modern American English and dissect it in time for class the next day.
As you could imagine I didn’t do so well. But, out of all that happened, one thing very important developed, a desire to speak my voice. I was too shy and meek at the time really use my voice, but the desire stayed. Now, I owe my blog to this yearning.
Here I Am and My Purpose Is…
“Welcome to Just A Star, a creative nonfiction blog where I write about my ordinary life in an extraordinary way.” ~ justastar100billion, Home Page
… to write. I started this blog to expand upon my love of creative writing, sharing my life experiences, and maybe connect with a few people along the way.
I’ve always been hesitant when it came to writing. I looked around at all the great writers around me, and shrank in embarrassment at my inability to intelligently craft beautiful lines of text. It was too simplistic, it didn’t flow well, there were too many errors, the idea was stupid,… On and on I would go, slowly driving myself into a paralysis. I shut my ideas down before I could even evaluate them. I made my life dull.
Two days ago I decided with the wisdom of my puppy and the courage to be wrong, I was going to write. If it sucked so be it. If it was too simplistic so be it. If the grammar was atrocious, so be it. So be it, So be it, So be it, I refuse to let myself bully me out of my voice. I found my voice as a little girl and I am done shutting her up. Here I am, my thoughts, my experiences fully on display, and I love it.