I took English 2 during my first semester at the University of Houston. My struggle with writing was not over format and structure. It was just bland. I couldn’t put myself on paper. It lacked my identity, and my personal touch. I did not want the professor and my peers to get a glimpse inside my head because I felt like it would leave me exposed and bare. Even though I am a lot more outgoing than I used to be as a child, I do not like to express my emotions in front of other people. It is very difficult for me to share that energy.
During the semester, we had a writing assignment that would be reviewed by the fellow students. We had to write about an experience or thing that we really enjoyed. I wrote about going to the Galleria mall with my family, and the changes that had been made to the mall over the years. I tried to include some details to make it sound more interesting. Compared to my previous essays, this one felt like an improvement and I was feeling a little more confident about giving my essay to another student. As we swapped essays, I realized I was nowhere near where I needed to be. His essay was simple and direct, but so full of emotions and feelings. He wrote about the tamales his family made for Christmas, and he described it so well that I could picture them and smell them. I was embarrassed about my essay, and wished he didn’t have to finish reading it.
After that semester, my essays had to be in APA format and no longer required a part of my soul to revealed. I used research to prove my points since everything needed to be based on studies and credible sources. My favorite classes were math classes and I relished them because they never required an essay or written answers to problems. I was hooked. Finally, I had found something that would allow me to listen to music at the same time while I worked on the problems without getting distracted or confused. I did not have to be emotionally invested. That is the moment when I chose numbers over letters. I wanted a career in data entry so that I could only deal with the factual side of my brain and avoid dealing with emotions.
Over the years, I often think of the essay about tamales. I have been so scared to say what I think, and to share my emotions with other people. I don’t like conflicts or debates, even though I can come up with really good arguments when I need to. Social media is full of people’s opinions (either directly or indirectly stated), but I have rarely shared my own thoughts on topics. Therefore, I have decided to push myself out of my comfort zone and start a 30-day writing challenge. Hopefully, I can open up more so that you can taste and smell the tamales too.
Thanks for reading!
Featured Image credit: Sebastian Voortman