Doubt, the suffocating self-doubt of anxiety. The only thing holding back the raging panic, was the hope of meeting others with my passion. But this hope is a double-edged sword, I also fear embarrassing myself in front of them, of being worse than them. ‘What if they’re annoying, or ignorant, or arrogant? What if they have harsh judgement?’ My mind wouldn’t stop racing with these scenarios, it’s as if I handed it a baton and threw it into a 5k.
To clarify, I was on my way to the first club I had joined in high school, creative writing club. It was an organization I had always thought of joining, something that seemed fun.
I walk out of English class, room L206, and walk towards the club sponsor, Ms. Livingston. She was a tall, blonde woman, one of my two English teachers. She was nice and fun, and was the one who gave me the nudge to go. This was another reason I dreaded arriving, I didn’t want to do something wrong, then have to face her the next day.
Wrong, that word, something that shouldn't be part of creative writing, an art about interpretation. But I still felt it was possible for me to mess up. I had arrived at the room, L214, and stood there, I didn’t enter, didn’t move. Ms. Livingston looked at me questioningly and asked me a simple, yet resonating question.
"Well, aren’t you gonna come in?” she asked.
I awkwardly answered in the most non-chalant way I could muster.
"I don’t know. I’m kinda being forced to be here.”
This response raised questions, so she arched her eyebrow and asked me how exactly I was being forced.
“You told me to come here, yesterday,” I responded, still pushing a confident sounding voice.
She simply said, “I think you want to be here, you just don’t want to admit it.”
This exchange went on for a few minutes, never changing in topic. I stood outside the door, still unmoving, as more and more people arrived.
After the last person entered, the small room now close to filled with attendees, I made a decision that changed me for the better. I decided to enter, nerves now on a hiatus. Numb to what my brain was telling them, numb to the warning symbols I was receiving. I sat towards the back, but not entirely. The projector was on and showing a writing prompt on the screen, 'I write because...'
Ms. Livingston's sister sat at the desk in the back, observing the students, the writers. Many of the ones in the room were female, only me and another student in my grade were male. Ms. Livingston got in front of the class and welcomed us. We were informed of the activities we were a part of, such as the home coming carnival and Boo. Then, one of the students, someone who was a club veteran, made my day.
"What about the swear jar?" She asked Ms. Livingston.
"Hopefully we won't have to use it the first day of the club, but you can explain it if you want," she responded, wasting no time.
"Well," she began. "It's for when you get mad and decide to tell someone to shut the f*** up."
"It looks like we will have to use it the first day," Ms. Livingston said, obviously not enthusiastic about the situation. "You now owe a dollar," she finished.
Then class continued, she read the prompt out loud, and had us write. She gave us fifteen minutes, and let us run wild, as long as our papers started with 'I write because...' I wrote like my life depended on it
All I felt went onto that paper, my insecurities, my anxiety, my hopes. It all went on there, every single feeling. I wrote for the entire time, and then some. While others were presenting their writings, I would write. My paper full, words covering the blank surface.
" 'I write because...' were the only words on his paper. He couldn't think properly, the doubt and anxiety clouding his thoughts. He acted like he didn't want to be there, like he was bored. It was true he didn't want to be there, but not because he was bored, but because he didn't want to embarrass himself. Then he finally thought of it, his reason for writing. I write because the emotionless one, the apathetic one that can't be bothered, is the one over flowing with thoughts. Because those who are quiet or sarcastic, are the loudest in heart, the most passionate."
These were the words on my paper, the feelings going through my head. It was the first time I spoke the truth, the first time I trusted a group of people with my true feelings. Then I was asked a very strange question by the girl who now owed the swear jar, a question from a stranger.
"What grade are you in?" She inquired.
"I'm a sophomore," I answered, bewildered by her question.
"I'm adopting you now," she proclaimed, marking me as her younger colleague, her 'favorite'.
"There might be some problems with that," I told her, for my older sister's friend was already attempting to.
"Problems like what?" She asked.
I explained the current situation I was in, what with my interesting life. She just stayed non-chalant and told me too bad, I was now hers. The conversation ended there, then I was surprised by the teacher. She told me that she never would've taken the direction that I did, putting a third person spin on the prompt by putting someone else in the situation that we were all in. The rest of the time was spent normally, everyone sharing and laughing, having a genuinely good time. Needless to say, it wasn't my last time at the club, I continue to go today, and still very much enjoy it.
It showed me a different kind of world then normal high school; it showed me the world I wanted. It was a world of acceptance, of comradery. Everyone sharing their true feelings, no need to hide their true thoughts. This was a perfect world, the open world, the accepting world.