On Being the Storytellers of Our Lives by Scarlett Knight
From the time I was born, my mother encouraged my creativity. She encouraged me to sing, to draw, and especially to write. I wrote about exotic locales, times gone by and times yet to come, beautiful people, romance, and fabulous adventures. But unbeknownst to me, the creativity my mother encouraged had some boundaries. As was her nature, she steered me in the direction of writing the types of stories that pleased her. And since I was young, I didn’t understand the difference between making her happy and making myself happy. This became a problem that I didn’t totally identify until my 30s.
When I wasn’t being creative, my mother played the role of Director of My Life. This is okay when you’re one or two years old, but it went way beyond that. All throughout my childhood, she fashioned me to be the way she wanted me to be. She raised me ultra conservative in every sense of the word. I dressed in the clothes she picked out for me, both Sunday best and sleepwear. If I disliked something she picked out for me, I felt terrible guilt, tried to find something to like about it, and wore it anyway. I had my hair styled the way she wanted. I didn’t get my ears pierced. I grew up trained to ask for her advice on every little decision in my life, from what to say to my teachers at school to what to pray for at night. And I continued writing stories that I hoped would please her.
My parents got divorced, and during the midst of this, I hit puberty. As I grew older, I made friends that lived lives that were different than mine, some not nearly as conservative. Mom would let me spend the night with them, and my friends and I would create these elaborate tales of make believe about dating our favorite celebrities. We’d imagine dressing the way we wanted, riding in the cars we wanted, and hanging out in places that we thought were cool. We’d imagine kissing our crushes and even taking things further than that. Mom never knew about these stories (especially the ones with sex in them!) but I found them absolutely addicting.
When I was 16, I got tired of moving from town to town, dealing with step dad after step dad. I also hated having an early curfew, and found myself butting heads with Mom about a lot of things. I decided to break away from her and move in with my dad.
Dad had always been a lot more lax about how I lived my life. Now, living with him, I felt less pressure to be what he wanted me to be and to just be myself. There was a lot of self-discovery during that time, including changing my wardrobe to something a little more fun, a little sexier even, like the outfits I had wanted to wear in the stories I’d written with my friends.
Ultimately, I reached a turning point with my writing. I stopped putting myself and my friends into fan fiction type tales, and I began to take writing seriously, learning the craft for publication. But looking back, as a girl and young teen, writing those imaginative fantasy stories for fun really helped me to break away from the boundaries of the life my mom wanted for me. It actually led me to grow as a person. Certain aspects of the “me” that I wrote in my tales had manifested in real life. By imagining myself in a different way, I became more of who I wanted to be and less of what my mother—or anyone else, for that matter—wanted me to be.
How many times do we get stuck in real life, living our stories for other people, and not for ourselves? Life is so short. I still love my mother. To this day, I believe she was raising me the best she knew how. But it’s so satisfying to be able to look in the mirror now and know that I am living my life for me, and not for anyone else. It doesn’t mean I don’t love her or anyone else that may try to put me into a box. It just means I love myself enough to write the story of my life that I want to write.
For everyone who’s had the pleasure of reading Scarlett’s wonderful books, I’m sure you’ll join me in grateful thanks that she’s writing for herself — and us.
Want more? You can follow Scarlett on social media at the following links:
Official Website: https://www.scarlettknight.org/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ScarlettKnightRomance/
Please don’t forget to check out her latest book and Amazon Author page.
Enjoy! Love, SKS