Day 20 – Tell us the story of your most-prized possession. For this final assignment, lead us through the history of an object that bears a special meaning to you. Through your writing, breathe life into that object, moving your readers enough to understand its value. This is to be in a ‘longform’ narrative.
My most prized possession was and is still being given to me by my husband. It is not a tangible item. You can not touch, taste, smell, see or hear it; but I can feel it. I’m sure if you know me, you’ll be surprised. After all, it is because of this ‘possession’ that I am the person I am today, and not the person I was in the past.
To understand why it is my most prized possession you’ll have to take a journey with me. Back to my childhood.
In a word, I was shy. Completely, utterly and, yes even painfully, shy. Inside my own family, I’d had to learn how to combat my shyness and had become, well, normal…mostly. Outside my family was a different story. You know that old adage that stipulates that children should be seen and not heard? That was me. I didn’t talk unless asked a direct question, and even then I relied on a secret to get me by. You see, my sister has never been shy, at least not in the way I was. If I stayed quiet long enough, she would answer for me. My mother did the same thing too. People would then be happy with that and walk away. Leaving me alone.
Most of my disappointments in childhood were because I didn’t speak up. Because I didn’t speak up, my family and others around me assumed I didn’t want to be involved or wasn’t interested. I was too shy to refute their assumption, so I was left out of things I really wanted.
The second contributor to disappointments was compounded by my shyness. I am not a fast thinker. I’m analytical, but not fast. That has taken me ages to figure out, understand and accept. It has left many people in my life frustrated because it would appear that I couldn’t make a decision. Therefore they would decide for me. Again, I was too shy to refute their decisions, so I would end up doing things I didn’t necessarily want to do, and feeling like I needed to because it had been decided.
It is strange for people to comprehend that someone as shy as I was would be involved in theatre. As shy as I was, I loved being on stage. It was an ego boost but not because I wanted praise. Or adoration. Or recognition. Or to be noticed. On stage, I wasn’t shy. On stage, I knew what I was going to say. On stage, everything was planned in advance and practiced. On stage, I wasn’t me.
Enter the man who would become my husband.
Ironically, like all good romance stories, I didn’t like him at first. He was rude, arrogant and far too pushy. Where others would accept my sister’s or mother’s answer, he wouldn’t. He would stand there, waiting, for the reply to issue from my own mouth. Even if it was the exact same reply, he wouldn’t be satisfied until I had spoken the words. I hated him for it. Especially, when it meant my mother slowly stopped answering for me and also started waiting for me to answer too.
He also refused to make decisions for me. He would wait for me to decide on something. He even waited nearly two hours one time, because I couldn’t think on what I wanted for dinner. Just to set the record straight, he’s not a saint and there have been times where he gets tired of waiting for an answer too. He has since learned to narrow the options. Instead of asking “What do you want for dinner?”, he asks “Do you want fish or sausages?” He does it to save time.
When he realised the reason I loved theatre he would ask often, why I didn’t like being me. Usually I would shrug, but one time I actually gave him an answer.
“Because, I’m a nobody.”
That was it. He went out of his way to prove that I wasn’t a nobody. I can’t even remember all the little things he did, but it mounted up over time. The biggest thing that stands out is that he keeps his promises. One example was a simple drive.
My mum once took my sister and I out for ice-cream in the next town, just so we could practice our driving. This was when we were Learner drivers. I was stoked. My sister drove to the next town and we stopped for our ice-cream. Just before the return journey, my sister excitedly announced that she wanted to drive back. It was my turn, but to my devastation, Mum said that she could.
Years later, she told me that because I hadn’t spoken up, she assumed I hadn’t wanted to drive and that was why she’d said yes to my sister. At the time I didn’t know that and I was nearly in tears in the back seat as my sister drove home.
When I mentioned this memory to him, he promised that when his car was out of the mechanics I would get to drive it.
I nodded, not expecting much.
But he kept his promise. When his car was back out of the mechanics he took me for a drive. Pulling over in the middle of nowhere, he got out of the car and opened the passenger door.
It was the same thing with my writing. I was always writing. Scraps of paper were never safe around me. The only thing was, I’d never written a novel. I wanted to, but I just couldn’t do it. I would start, and hit a solid writer’s block somewhere around the fourth chapter.
One day I told my husband about a story idea I had. He simply looked at me and spoke the words that literally changed my life.
“Well, write it.”
So simple, yet so massively important. Because he believed I could, then I would. It got me through the fourth chapter block and I kept going. Eight months and 102,000 words later, I’d written my first novel.
I’d passed through the ‘I want to be a writer’ stage, into the ‘I am a writer’ platform, because of three simple words.
So what is my most prized possession? If you haven’t guessed it by now, I’d be very surprised. My most prized possession is confidence; confidence in who I am, and what I can do. I still class myself as ‘shy’. I’m still a slow and analytical thinker. But I am no longer debilitated by it…because I have confidence.