GIVING MY HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER THE MIDDLE FINGER
About three or four years ago a really weird thing happened to me.
I was procrastinating away and I happened to stumble across a blog - I know, not too weird so far.
However I started reading the first blog post and instead of my eyes doing the usual 'scanning' down the page, hopping across a few words only half taking it in, I read the whole post. From the very top to the very bottom; every single word.
And once I was done, I read another. And then another, and another and another…
And here's the really weird thing. Not only had this blog managed to capture my attention for more then the usual 1.4 minutes (at most) - it had done so whilst having zero, NADA, photos on it. (Ok it had one of the owner, some feisty looking woman who clearly had balls, and guts.)
I know, crazy right?!
If you've been around here for more than 5 minutes, you know this photographer/designer is one highly visual, photograph obsessed woman. I created a blog with the BIGGEST photos I could cram into it for heavens sake. I read other blogs piled high with cool photos and images (that breaks up all that wordy text).
Yet here I was, in some photo-less corner of the internet, having a woman grab hold of my attention with a vice like grasp.
It was also the first time I really sat up and started to pay attention to words. The importance they hold. How if done right, can captivate you, move you, inspire you, give you a big motivational 'hell yesss!!' kick you up the ass.
Reading her blog inspired me to start writing again. To start playing with words, to explore piecing them together and creating my own sentences - after years of shying away.
After being bawled at, repeatedly, over and over again by my high school teacher that…
"THIS is NOT good enough!" and… "What is this?! You've clearly put no effort in at all…!!"
Being told that even after spending a whole week on my homework, rewriting until I was proud of what I turned in. So proud I sure I wouldn't hear those words again; silently begging not to hear those words again.
I tried. I REALLY tried.
Yet I'd still hear those words over and over again, while he'd bleed his red pen all over my exercise book - until eventually, I gave up.
I gave up trying and doing my best. I handed in some words, some meaningless paragraphs each time, doing the bare minimum, and sure as it was, I'd hear exactly the same. Yet at least when I didn't try - it didn't sting quite so much. So I carried on not trying and scraping through.
I left that school with a D for English and no clue what a verb or a noun were. To this day even if you asked now, I still couldn't explain what they are.
Yet, after reading this blog I wanted to write again. I was inspired to put pen to paper (and fingers to keyboard).
I got frustrated at first. Not being able to get out the words I wanted. To be able to explain myself and communicate out the thoughts, feelings and ideas I had.
Yet I kept reading her blog, getting more and more inspired. More motivated. Slowly I started enjoying it again. I got better and faster at articulating what I wanted to say, and how I wanted to say it.
Fast forward to today - and whilst I'm still gaining my confidence with it, I now LOVE writing. So much so I've built my business around it.
And the really cool thing, the thing that makes me say "Screw you high school English teacher!" - is that I was lucky enough to speak to her the other week. She'd read some of my blog posts, and she said four words that meant more to me a single word my English teacher had ever grunted to me. Four words that made me shove my middle finger up to the 'D' etched on my exam certificate.
Those four words, simply - "You're a good writer".
And you know what? The coolness doesn't even end there.
Now I get messages and emails from people saying how my writing inspires them. How they'd love to be able to write like me. ME.
Ms grade 'D', doesn't know her nouns from her verbs from her adjectives - inspires others - in life and in writing.
So very simply…
To the limp haired, uninspired teachers who quite clearly don't want to be there… Screw you. Screw you for dampening our dreams at such a young, vulnerable age, and holding us back when you're there to not only teach - but to encourage us to grow.
To Ash… For inspiring me (without even knowing it) to do what I love again. (Albeit in a slightly wonky, not quite perfect and typo ridden way).
To the down heartened writers… Keep going, keep going, keep writing, keep writing.
Do not let anyone, ever, poop on your writing parade.
Go Write your heart out.
Go do your thing, as only you can.