As a young Somali girl, the fictional worlds of “Junie B. Jones” and “Clarice Bean” were my escape.
There were days where I would come home feeling a bit abandoned inside from walking around recess absentmindedly and alone, and I could just open the latest installment of “Clarice Bean” and just start reading.
Although we were the same age, I could not relate much to their adventures and culture, as I had a more mundane life in contrast to their zanier ones. I would journey to school, return home and finish my homework – as well as prepare meals and complete any weekend Islamic school work and other duties. But these characters played spy and had playful food fights, traveled to different lands and solved vast problems. The books made me feel euphoric and released my imagination. It also became a source of inspiration for me when I started to write my own adventures.
I truly adore stories, because of how easy it is to get sucked into them. How wonderful each and every one of their worlds were, and how interesting. There were days where I would come home feeling a bit abandoned inside from walking around recess absentmindedly and alone, and I could just open the latest installment of “Clarice Bean” and just start reading.
This habit of reading ingrained into my brain, and it made me want to start writing as well. I would read almost every day, and nearly everywhere I went.
Those days where I would come home feeling “bad” originated from the fact that I had kept moving one too many times, resulting in not being close with anyone else. I didn’t have much of a best friend up until third grade, and that went out the window by fifth. I relocated to urban St. Paul, where I dealt with unnecessarily discourteous classmates who would come after me if I looked at them wrong, even by accident. My very own teacher, Mr. Clomon, had to help me with two girls who kept bothering me, because I answered “no” to their question about me having a boyfriend. It wasn’t the best of times, truly.
Writing is what got me through those circumstances. I was able to create something with my own bare hands, a piece of paper and a pen. With every piece that I wrote, I felt myself getting sucked into my own world, which was wonderful. With each page I had completed, it made me feel like I had a voice.
Back when I used to be taunted, I didn’t really have the confidence to say what I wanted to say, but now I can write it. If there ever are times where I am put down by others, I’m able to write it all down. In doing so, this helps relieve any stress as I’m expressing myself through the words I pour onto paper, and it aided me in school by destroying any further distractions that loomed around me.
And even though I kept moving to different neighborhoods, the worlds I read about and the safe space I’d have to write was consistently there for me. This gives me a sense of empowerment wherever I go; and for the first time in a few years, I feel a lift that keeps a smile on my face and imaginative thoughts running through my head when I’m reading and writing.
Being able to write changed me in a way that I didn’t know it could. Things became a little bit better after the years went by. It gave me something to be proud of, something I can have pride in accomplishing.
Years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to complete more than two pages of writing, but now I can. Fictional literature has allowed me to be sucked into the world that I was writing, the world that I created. Approximately 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have known that I wanted to go into English or journalism as a career path, but I do now. I want to be able to write for a job where I’ll be sharing my ideas and thoughts with the world to help and be there for others, as reading and writing has helped and been there for me.
And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.