I’ve been told since my near-toddler age that I was a natural born storyteller. I impressed preschool teachers with my ability to give stick figure paintings a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end; an apparently rare ability to find in a child that age. Learning to read and write was a blessing, adding to my arsenal of skills to write my own stories, and write, I did. All the time, as often as I could, and when I was in elementary school, a dear friend’s mother told me my books would be on the shelves of a library.
Further down the road, teenaged angst brought on the usual sack of bullshit; hormonal outbursts, angry tears over the unrequited love of a celebrity (yo, every Hanson brother, I’m looking at you), and of course, rebellion. But unlike most teens, my rebellion was primarily geared towards the thing I was a slave to: writing. Everybody told me I was a writer, and so I shook my head defiantly, because dammit, I wasn’t going to be told what to do.
So I stopped. I stopped sitting at my computer, typing up my cheesy romantic comedies and bizarre short stories about a woman writing her brother a suicide note (yeah, that was a thing; I have no idea either). I locked the most honest part of myself away in a hole while I struggled to figure out who I was without it.
I should add that I never stopped entirely. I relied on journals the way you and I rely on breathing. I go through the damn things like bottles of iced tea (and if you know me, you know this is an absurd amount), but I never considered this to be writing in the creative sense.
Anywho, the point I’m trying to make is that I was torturing myself. I might as well have been denying myself food, because I was starving, craving to let the damn stories out of my head, and in a way, I hated myself for it. Something that society deems as a silly hobby shouldn’t torture you so much, and so I considered it a curse. What else could it be?
Except that when I finally gave in to it, I found a happier version of myself buried under all of those words. Holly Hughes and Brandon Davis were born out of them, and they together awakened the confirmation that, holy shit, I’ve been fighting this for too long. Sending their story to a selected group of friends and family has further solidified the notion that, yeah, this is what I should be doing and that I’m on the right path.
I’m still deciding what to do with HFH (Holly Freakin’ Hughes), waiting for more feedback, but in the meantime, I’ve been working on something else, and it’s been terrifying me in the most delicious way possible. If HFH is my baby, this right now is my masterpiece. I surprise myself every day with these words I’m stringing together, the way a baby surprises themselves with every new step they take, and I cannot wait to share it with everybody.
Through HFH, this current project, and the slew of short stories and poems I’ve jotted down over the past however many years since I told that angsty asshole within me to shut the fuck up, I’ve accepted that this is who I am. I’m supposed to be here, throwing down some words and making people laugh and cry. It’s the most difficult thing for me to do, and yet the easiest.
I may be a slave, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it.