I've had an interesting journey with writing. I posted a semi-joking Timeline once, but I kind of glossed over the real emotions behind a lot of that.
I've been writing fiction since I was a kid. I used to curl up in an armchair on Saturday mornings with a marble composition book and write stories. I'd profile the characters and design a house for them using my dad's architecture software. I kept writing fiction, in various frequencies, which is documented on the Timeline in as much detail as it probably deserves.
When it was time to pick a college major, I felt confident picking journalism. I wanted to write book and music reviews. I wanted to write the pieces that made me think "I've GOT to read that book / buy that album / see that band's show!"
Writing about books, I think I've gotten better at over time. Or at least as good as I'm going to get while sticking to my style.
I wrote an album review when I was 19, for a small band I photographed and rooted for every step of the way. I think it was a kickass review, but who was going to publish it? I tried to write an album review for my blog back in 2009, but music is incredibly personal. It's hard to write about something you truly love without dissecting it, and in the end I just found it wasn't worth it. I'd rather know someone's taste and say "Listen to this" than try to explain.
As far as live shows… I've never "reviewed" those. I only blog about those, because again, it's incredibly personal. I think such reviews are more acceptable on a blogging platform, since we read blogs because they're personal. If you're a good blogger, you develop some sort of relationship with your readers, and they come to know you in a way that your reviews will resonate more with them, hopefully, than Amazon suggesting "You Might Also Like."
But I digress. I was a journalism major; I loved my first class, hated the second and withdrew. Then I dropped out, switched schools and majors to study graphic design. I found an internship that grew into a job. And, when I was a breath away from graduation, I got cold feet. I liked design work, yes, and I liked my job, but it was a corporate job. I've always fancied myself an artist, creative beyond the limits of "What will sell at this retail outlet?" I went ahead and got my design degree, then transferred the applicable credits back to my original university, and started chugging towards a degree in creative writing. I took several fiction workshops, wrote countless stories, and started this blog. I started the journey of applying to MFA programs. Reading those posts still makes me laugh… the application process was my entire world for too long. I was accepted, I quit my job, I moved, I started classes, I stopped writing. I felt incredibly out of place, so I burrowed into myself to survive.
I was ready to put up with it all. I really was. I kept thinking "Three years, what's that in the span of a life?" But three years of unhappiness, working towards a goal that didn't fit anymore, wasn't worth it. It took me too long to get the confidence I needed to escape the life I fell into there. I wasn't happy, it wasn't what I wanted, I wasn't me anymore. But the shell of me was being swept along and it was easiest to just wait and see where I would end up, so that's what I did.
Sometimes I wish I had been stronger long before I reached the point I did. I look back on that time and cringe because I was so not myself, but the people I knew then… that was Allison to them. And it's embarrassing, how much it was not Allison.
I suppose I'm glad everything happened as it did. I'll never let myself get swept up in the current again. I know what's right for me and I'm strong enough to speak out against it. I know myself better now than I ever imagined I could, and it's definitely because I reached that low point and then had to swim back oh-so-far to get to where I could even recognize myself again.