For most of my life I've considered myself to be a "bad writer." I'd tell people that I was bad at writing, and that I really didn't like it. I think most of this stemmed from the countless papers I was forced to write in public school about ancient literature that had no apparent connection to anything that remotely interested or related to me. Writing papers was the main source of anxiety for me in high school. Alongside all nighters, there were often many tears and aimless (not to mention, angsty) teen wonderings about purpose and happiness (read: Instagram post circa 2013 featuring exasperated midnight selfie and this inspired sentiment - "I'm tired of essays, and tests, and braces, and waking up early, and doing things I hate, and dealing with teenager sized toddlers, and I'm just so done with all of it. High school couldn't be over soon enough. College can't come soon enough."). These experiences put a sour taste in my mouth when it came to writing, and an even more sour taste in my mind when it came to my opinion of myself as a writer.

I think it also stems from my complete inability to form habits and routines. Journaling has always been something that appealed to me. From a young age I would buy journal after journal, with dreams of filling it with my inner-most thoughts and dreams. I loved the idea of being able to look back and know what I was feeling at any given point in my life. And of course, laughing at all the ridiculous things I said and did. So I'd acquire a fresh journal, christen it with some introduction to myself, write approximately 3 entries, and then let it wither into nothingness. I'm honestly amazed at how bad I was at keeping with it. Nothing ever stuck. And as the years went on and the more self-aware I became, the more my journal introductions included a sentiment along the lines of, "I'm usually really bad at this, but I want to give it another try. Here's hoping I make it longer than 2 weeks." I think this struggle affected my inner-writer's self-esteem a little bit. If I couldn't keep a journal, I must not be a good writer?

This brings me to college, where I had a shocking revelation. I actually really like writing. And I think I might be okay at it? After dredging through the required lit and theory classes my freshman and sophomore years, I found myself in some really interesting liberal arts classes. Classes about film and sociology and art. When I was asked to write papers in these classes, I wasn't overcome with dread and horror. I was interested, and found myself with a desire to do well. Writing them was still a challenge, but it was the best kind of challenge. I was excited about how much they made me think. Instead of searching my bedroom ceiling for words, I had to take my time to organize all the words rushing through my head. I felt proud of what I turned in, and excited to see how I did on them. And I did well. I finally heard words of affirmation from teachers that cared and appreciated my writing and my thoughts. My intense interest in the subjects pushed me to have stronger opinions and thought-provoking ideas. In my first ever sociology class my senior year, my PHD-clad professor told me that I had applied and dissected concepts that had taken her years to understand. Needless to say, it was a really big deal (life-changing, if you will) for me to hear these kinds of words, and experience these kinds of feelings.

So now I'm here. Not a professional writer by any means. Probably not very good with grammar. Not writing about anything in particular. But I want to learn and I want to grow. My writing here will most likely be a little more "stream of consciousness" based than my documentary film analyses were, but I'm just excited to be writing (though there still might be some film analysis going on). I'd like to end with a familiar statement that I hope ends differently for me than it has in the past. I've never been too great with keeping a journal or writing consistently, but I hope this endeavor makes it past June 2018. See you soon.

x Shelby