oil on canvas – artwork by Daliah L. Ammar
This Sunday I’ve been going through some souvenirs from my teenage-self and I found some short-stories I’ve written back in the days. I’ve totally forgotten about those and I was unaware of how much I already used to write as a child. Writing for me today is still a beneficial way of digging deeper into self-expression and self-reflection, but I forgot how I gravitated towards writing even a young age and with a poor vocabulary. Those old writings reminded me of those actors that say they don’t like to watch themselves perform. Some also claim that they watch their performance just once to see how they have done things and then they never go back there again because it’s sort of awkward, I believe. For me writing is like that in a way. It’s a photograph or snapshot of what my mind and heart wanted to share for myself. And it is a great tool to analyse yourself. I always wrote therapeutically growing-up, but I wasn’t aware of how I wrote stories as a child under the age of 15. So of course I was super curious to read some of those kept and before deciding whether I was going to throw them out afterwards or not, I had to see how this piece of my past made me feel now.. if it did spark joy or not. I knew that the writing wasn’t going to be phenomenal, so I didn’t expect much, but to my surprise it wasn’t that horrible either. I actually could feel a younger person flowing through those pages, the ink and the writings, so poorly written and such a visually displeasing handwriting, but the emotions were real, as real as I could be back then. I analysed the imagination and inspiration I had as a child in contrast to the older-self today, and I find it interesting to have a broader perspective now, knowing a little more about my own psyche and comparing those two. I was reminded of what used to be my biggest struggles as a child. Reliving that vulnerable kid, I felt the torment again of my prohibited romantic relationship and I got to experience again how the impact of my family issues was affecting me at that young age. I understood at that moment of how I used to project those issues in my stories and drawings. It made sense. Creativity let me escape reality but also explain myself to myself. I wrote fairy-tail stories back then that all ended tragically, or had a sad undertone of heartaches and a longing for love and affection. The stories weren’t impressive, but at least they made me feel again. They made me aware of the creative desire in myself that I’ve been neglecting and postponing for such a long time now.
After reading those, I felt oddly strange. On the one hand I felt sad in see myself crumble as a child that is emerged by her surroundings, and on the other hand I also experienced some slight confusion as if I didn’t know a part of me. I couldn’t grasp how I named my characters, how I came up with those figures, why I chose to write fiction and why was I inspired by richness and poverty, why was tragedy a thread throughout the stories.. I haven’t written a fictional story in a long time, today I prefer to write in documentary-style. But after reading this piece of young fiction, I’m tempted today to create a better story, a story that was inspired by that younger self but that could include more knowledge (like complex real characters, deeper story meaning, symbolism -because I really like that-) and I feel the creative-bug in me, itching.
I don’t know if I should have kept those stories, but at that moment after reading all of it I decided to write this down and tear those few pages. They were in the bin before I knew it. Meanwhile I knew I had to hold on to this motivation for wanting to make things better for myself now instead of holding on to pieces of me that remind me of a sad age. God knows I don’t need to be tied up to the past or to a melancholic self. Do I need those stories in physical form to keep reminding me and encourage me to write more often? I don’t think so. The fact that I chose to write this afterwards is an actual realisation of awareness that the core message was received and the advice I took for myself will stay with me. The message I got throughout this experience of reliving something so personal made me aware of my progression and gave me even more reason to move forward and redefine myself towards a healthier and more positive human being.