The One Story I Have Never Told

Most of the time, I hate describing myself, no matter how many words I use, I can never get people to really understand: I am a student, a daughter, a sister. Often times, I am afraid. I’m many, many things, but somehow, in the complexity of life and countless possibilities pulling at me, in the throes of fate and intentions of God, I ended up with an unexpected classification: I am a writer.

As far back as I can remember, I’d be creating stories in my head, before I even liked to read. As I grew up, I’d keep a notebook to take out in boring classes and I’d watch words spill out and fill the formerly empty lines. Life is full of doubts, but “I am a writer” has become a statement I can say with confidence and without hesitation. How then, can I be expected to take this essence of me, the way I wield words like a sword so comfortable it may very well be an extension of my arm, and write how I write? I have told many stories, but how can I possibly pinpoint the beginning of my own, of this wild and exciting journey that has led me to who I am today? It should be glorious, fitting of what this means to me now.

I recall frustration.

My memory has never been great, but this bubbling feeling rising up my chest, to my throat is so vivid in my mind that it takes me back to 2011, to those awkward preteen years, and suddenly, I’m a kid.

My frustration has lasted for days, which only increases it. It’s born from a lack of knowledge on how to deal with a problem, one that’s been driving me insane,

I’ve seen searching for days, weeks. You see, there’s a book I want to read, yet I can’t seem to find it. See, I just finished a series; a long, wonderful series that consumed my attention entirely for the last month or so. The words had danced around me for so long, they had formed a home around me for me to inhabit and visit whenever I liked. Then, abruptly, there are no more words. No more chapters, no more books. I even read the About the Authorat the end, in my desperate denial. I’m left with nowhere to retreat, nowhere to hide, only with an empty feeling, like missing the last piece of a puzzle; infuriating and helpless.

Like a good optimist, I take it as an opportunity. If there is something missing, then I have the unique chance to fill that gap with whatever I choose. After all, there are millions of books out there. I could think up whatever I wanted, find that book, and read it, visit the universe it offers through its pages.

Oh, but how to decide? I’ve never been a decisive kid. I could spend hours deciding between a black pen with some company’s slogan slurred across, or a blue pen with a smooth, unmarked surface. So to increase my options means I have to start narrowing things down.

There’s a whole list of things I want to see in this book, elements and characters… I search them up and wade through the results. A couple technically fit what I’m searching, but none are quite right. They’re all missing something important, be it the writing style or a character’s personality.

After hours of my unsuccessful pursuit, it occurs to me that perhaps the book I’m hunting down cannot be found. Maybe I’ve been too specific, maybe not one of the hundreds of writers out there have come up with this story.

The problem is, I really want to read this story. I’ve built it up in my head so much, that I expect to see the pages, to read the words, and have them float around me. I can already imagine how it’ll feel when they do.

That’s when the single most relevant realization of my life (and yeah, I understand those implications), came to me.

The book did not exist because I had not yet written it.

I ask my mom to lend me her computer, I sit alone in her studio, usually a social and open place, now housing only myself. I close the big wooden doors so I can focus.

Her screen, god, it’s huge. It looms over my frail 11-year-old self, the white, blank page makes the screen glow.

I remember that glow vividly because I came back to it often.

Characters were made, and a haphazard string of words exploded on the page.

I wrote the length of a book. It was as if the writer in me had been waiting anxiously to burst out.

And once I started, I never stopped.