I've heard it time and time again. 'Write What You Know'.
My life hasn't exactly been book-worthy. I can't pick up a pen and come up with three hundred pages of how my life has given me so much experience, turned me into a success, inspired me to push forward, giving my dreams all I have.
Or can I? I was raised by two loving parents who taught me how to be the person I am today. I grew up quickly when I realized I had to help care for my little sister during a very difficult time in our lives...the loss of the man who was 'Daddy' and the birth of a perfect stranger, one who chose a life of selfishness and addiction over his own family.
From then on, I have strived to become who I am. I learned from my mother's example...and also my father's. I knew that I wanted to be warm, loving, and open to all people and ideas. I knew that I did not want to disappear into a liquor bottle, lost in the mistakes of my past and the choices made by my father.
Because of this...I believe in being open to all sorts of people, no matter their race, gender, sexual preference, or religious beliefs. I donate to charities(although I'd love to donate my time as well)and am one of those people who will hand over some money, whether I have it or not, if I can see that you are struggling. I find that I am taken advantage of because of this, but it doesn't matter. In the end, I know that I helped someone and that is important to me.
I learned from the mistakes of the people I love, and even people I don't know, and to this day strive to be a better person than I was yesterday.
Although my life was never full of drama, I have seen a lot and dealt with a lot more. I have been the shoulder more often than I've needed a shoulder. I'm not an extremely religious person, but I do believe in following the example set for us so many years ago. There is a reason why I am here, and I intend to do something about it.
Why is this important, you ask?
I am writing a short story for a contest...I've never written a short story before now, and I don't know how to go about it. I don't know how to find my voice in my story. I'm supposed to base the story on women of today, what they deal with, things of that nature.
After much agonizing, reading endless 'how-tos', and asking everyone in the world for ideas, I came up with a gleaming turd. Single motherhood. Plenty of women deal with this, and while it can be a huge struggle, it is also something that can be a blessing.
So I wrote 3500 words of crap. Why was it crap? Because I am not a single mom. I know single moms, I was raised by one for part of my life....but I know nothing about being a mom at all, much less a single one.
So how could I find my voice when I have no words for it?
But I do have a past, and that past includes finding myself and who I am as a woman. And the person who helped define me more than anyone else was my father. In working to make myself his polar opposite, I found exactly who I am and who I want to be. My mother raised me and I want to be most like her, but without my father, I would probably still be looking for myself amongst a sea of familiarity, never risking anything to learn about yours truly.
So my short story, I have decided, will be about him...not his story, of course, but my own, how I came to terms with his addiction and his death. How the rest of my life will be affected by the fact that he is not here, was not at my wedding, will not meet my children.
Women deal with regret and with defining themselves based on their own terms and not anyone else's. The risks they take are usually greater than that of men because they are expected to fail. They fight to stand out.
This won't be an autobiography. Just 3500 words about a girl missing her father, using my voice.
I will write what I know, and I will do it well.
2 hours ago