I believe God gives us all an “odd” to work against. I knew at the age of seven that writing would be my sword. As a kid, I wrote about all things that tugged at me emotionally or socially. I filled my dresser drawers with poems, stories, and play scripts. I put letters inside of shoe boxes and stored them underneath the bed. I was inspired by the typewriter and addicted to its sound. My first computer was one of the early IBM models. I remember the fascination of seeing my work come out of the printer on dot matrix paper. Twenty six years later, I’m still addicted to that typing sound. I still get fascinated at the sight of freshly printed pages.
A lot of people look at me and see someone who has accomplished a lot. Some say that I have an aggressive work ethic. There are also those who think I’m highly creative and/or super intelligent. While I’m always very humbled by these compliments, I never get to talk about the areas in which I’ve struggled.
From grade school to grad school, I experienced difficulties in learning. So, it’s always interesting when people see me exclusively in the light of my accomplishments. I’m a girl who has never been tested or diagnosed with learning differences, and was considered creatively “gifted” by the time I was in middle school.
Can I be honest?
I never talked to my parents or teachers about how I experienced jumping letters when reading silently. Even now, silent long-form reading can feel like catering to a sensitive touch pad. The mouse jumping around the page at awkward times. I had and still have difficulty verbally tracking the sequence of events, taking standardized tests, doing math, and I recently wrote about my poor sense of direction in my Bears blog. I take my time processing verbal conversations and my responses can often be unhurried and/or repetitive. I have always loved English and Language Arts, but I struggle with semantics. I believe there’s this perception that words just pour out of me and writing comes effortlessly. When, in fact, most of my writing appears in non-sequiturs before coming together to form a whole. I recognized my strength area at the age of seven and I have been playing to that strength for twenty. six. years. I play to this strength so hard my weaknesses are hard if not impossible to see. But they are there; and I thank God that He gave me this “odd” to fight against.
The space between pen and paper is my combat zone. And it can be yours, too. Writing has helped me understand myself and how I fit into the human race. It has given me strength to look at myself in the mirror and know that I am greater than my deficiencies. For anyone who is curious about writing; who has words swelling up inside– never bursting, only burning. Try it. Write today for fifteen minutes. Don’t worry about whether or not you’re doing it correctly. Don’t see it as good or bad. Food is good. War is bad. Writing is going to help you conquer what you don’t understand. Do it. Fifteen minutes everyday. I promise, you will start to perceive things that have happened in your life from a completely different perspective.
Clinnesha D. Sibley is an award-winning playwright and published poet/essayist. She is the Literary Arts Instructor at Mississippi School of the Arts in Brookhaven, MS. For more information, please visit: http://onepagerapp.com/clinneshadsibley.