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Writing My Journey

by Cereal Oatmeal about a year ago in career
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My striving need for kindness and what it means to be passionate

Writing My Journey
Photo by Angelina Litvin on Unsplash

What am I most passionate about? Why do people follow me? This is yet again another writing prompt where I feel like I am at a loss for what to write.

I found Vocal in equal parts happenstance and desperation. I was and am in a difficult spot financially. I have been having a pretty severe mental health crisis and on top of that I have physical health issues (Ehlers Danlos just to name the most pertinent one) that has been making it difficult to find a job and difficult to keep money in the bank due to medical expenses.

I thought Vocal+ was a $10 fee for entering a poetry contest. I thought it was a cost to pay to take a chance and possibly win some much needed respite for me and my family (my family being me, my grandma and my cat)

But it turned out to be so much more than that. I realised I suddenly had access to so many challenges. And I get incentives to continue writing even when it’s not a challenge.

That really really helped, because that severe mental health crisis I mentioned is at least in part related to the deep deep depression I’ve been in for years, since I was about thirteen, that had become a dark hole in my heart and brain.

I am finally in a place where I have found the beginnings of professional help for it.

And yet the question “what are you passionate about” still flummoxes me.

I struggle with telling anyone my passions because for so, so long I have struggled to be passionate.

I was planning on letting this challenge go. On not writing a single word on this subject. Except today was my therapy appointment and I mentioned how I don’t feel like I’m good at anything, I don’t feel like I have any motivation, I don’t have any drive to pursue anything.

And she countered that negative thinking. Showed me a chart about how negative core beliefs affect all your other thoughts and therefore affect your actions.

I guess if I were to chart it out right now I would say the core belief here is ‘I’m not passionate about anything’ and the action that almost affected would be: ‘me, not entering this challenge.’

But I had a thought, when I saw the “last day to enter” email in my inbox.

“I’m passionate about being kind”

And that’s the one thing I really can’t refute. I even wrote it on my shoes:

Rainbow painted shoes with pink shoelaces. The left shoe has blue trim on the tongue and the right shoe has pink trim on the tongue. On the right shoe you can faintly see the words “Be Kind”
Picture of the side of the rainbow painted shoes, you can clearly see the words “Be Kind, Come What May.” written in blue ink. The paint is chipping showing wear and tear.

My shoes, for anyone who can’t see the images, are hand painted rainbow vans with a white tread that says in blue “Be Kind, Come What May.”

They’re a bit beat up now, I’ve been meaning to repaint them and try out a different sealer for them this time.

In fact you can kind of see where the paint has chipped away, and if you were to chip it off completely you would see the faint markings of the exact same saying: “Be Kind, Come What May.” underneath.

I like to keep it touched up, to rewrite it when it’s become difficult to see.

I don’t know how many people actually look at my shoes, but it’s far more of a mantra for myself than it is a command for anyone else, anyway.

Because above all else I want to cultivate kindness. I want as many people that I speak to as possible to know that their time, their effort, their very existence is appreciated and valuable. I want everyone to know they’re worth so very much. Even to a complete stranger.

I am well aware that the kindness of a stranger can save lives. Kindness has the ability to save lives. I know this from first hand experience, acts of kindness from many different strangers was often all I had to cling to when everything felt worthless for so long.

Sometimes it was my own kindness to myself or to others that kept me moving incrementally forward, finally finding a safe place to land instead of giving up hope entirely.

You could certainly say I am passionate about kindness.

And I’m passionate about other things too, even if sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. I’m passionate about my friends. And sewing. And cooking. I am passionate about disability rights and Autistic Advocacy (self advocacy in particular.)

I’m passionate about library science, even if my adhd makes learning the dewey decimal system a pain and then some.

I’m passionate about Harry Potter, even if She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named tries her hardest to make me hate it.

But the fans keep me passionate, despite the author’s greatest attempts to destroy everything.

I’m passionate about other fandoms too, about shows and books and reading.

I’m passionate about LGBTQIAP+ rights. Extremely so. It always strikes me as odd that that’s not a given for most people. Same for BLM, something I'm also passionate about.

I’m passionate about writing. And it is here that I find pause, because I am almost as passionate about writing as I am kindness.

I’ve been writing so much more since I joined Vocal. I used to write all the time as a child.

And then that seed of depression grew and grew, with awful branches of “why bother?” Or “does it really even matter?” whispering around in my head.

And the person I was, who saw the world as words on a page, slowly stopped writing entirely.

But I’m writing again. And I’m so passionate about it. I have at least three pieces I’m working on for Vocal that I haven’t published yet. And I don’t plan to stop. I want to share more about myself, about my passions.

I once, in a poem in highschool, compared writing to a raindrop. And I intend on becoming a storm.

I fell in love with reading and writing from a very young age, I was born hyperlexic, one of many Autistic characteristics. Hyperlexic means words come to me easily, I was reading and retaining information well before I was two, writing before I was three.

That’s not quite the “humblebrag” it may sound like, reading doesn’t equal superiority and I’m well aware of that, but it is context for my life. My most memorable experiences have books attached to them.

Sitting down in the middle of the living room and reading Matilda cover to cover in one sitting, reading Othello in second grade out loud to the librarian who hadn’t believed me when I told her I wanted to read it and being gifted Great Expectations in third grade by my absolutely brilliant home room teacher.

I began writing young too, my first story was a ridiculous and wonderful story about a rainbow coloured lemon with a practically biblical meaning, despite the fact that I had never actually heard of the Tower of Babel beforehand. I may polish that story off and post it to Vocal one day, it still holds up pretty well to this day in my opinion. Or perhaps I’ll publish it as a children’s book?

I wrote my first piece of fanfiction when I was about ten, it doesn’t quite hold up as well but that’s because it was a format I was unsure of. I have considered rewriting it though.

I wrote a lot of poems, a few of which won small awards.

I write to my friends constantly. Texts, letters, stories. I love creating worlds and characters to fall in love with.

I very rarely posted anything from the ages of thirteen and up. That awful depression whispered those horrible things to me and I listened obediently.

I stopped writing, stopped putting my writing out there.

So I don’t know why people follow me, because I’m not so certain they do, not yet.

But I am passionate about writing.

I am passionate about telling my life’s stories and creating my own worlds and characters. And I have so much more for people to see.

I hope you all will join me on this journey.

I hope to write about it.

I hope to write about being kind.

I hope to write about my passions.

career

About the author

Cereal Oatmeal

Autistic, Pan, Trans

I use all pronouns including neopronouns!

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