The stretcher came to an abrupt halt. Wedged in its wheel was the foot of a grimacing nurse: a clipboard held tightly between her cold fingers. For all I knew, Saint Peter had handed her the keys, and she was the gatekeeper to my salvation — and I wasn't going to test her. You don't mess with a lady with a clipboard.
She spat information at me like rapid fire, her gaze secured intently on the forms. Uninterested in her formalities, I attempted to remove myself from my own body and hover over it like a weightless paraglider above the earth. Oh, look at that! A foot! How majestic! And what’s that? A nose? Let’s fly over it – weeeeee! But then, dark clouds. A sharp twinge jabbed at my knee like a lightning bolt, slicing through my invisible parachute. Cue the falling whistle and exploding bomb sound effect. Here again.
"Ahem… Marley Jeranko." Scribble, scribble.
"Cause of injury?"
"Snowboarding." Scribble, scribble.
The list continued incessantly.
"I'm a writer," I responded dispiritedly but unhesitatingly. Scribble, scribble — shuffle, shuffle, shuffle. I sunk deeper into the stretcher, quietly returning to dissociating from the aching of my traumatized limb.
"Whoa, I've never heard you say that before — that you're a writer!" Crockett gushed.
"Really? Yeah, I guess you're right, huh?" I smiled faintly. "I wasn't even thinking… I've never been put on the spot like that."
I was beaming. Actually, scratch that — I was totally freaking out about it — having a dance party in my mind — moonwalking on the disco ball floors of my brain. I replayed it over and over again – writer, writer, writer – until eventually, something wasn't right. It was almost as if someone else's voice was coming out of my mouth. I'm not a writer — am I?
No, not me. Not yet. I haven’t earned it. Have I? I let the feeling sink in and suddenly the one in my knee was no longer my greatest concern.
I started thinking about what that word meant to me. A writer is someone who has something profound to say: someone who knows what they're talking about; who speaks without hesitation; whose imagination absorbs so much creative juice, they put Tropicana to shame — who misses no detail, no fact, and by god, no comma! Me? Well, I’m only finding my bearings — still defining my style, still absorbing new experiences, still trying to make sense of them. For chrissakes, I'm still uncovering what exactly it is I want to create… How could I ever write something worth reading?
Scribble scribble, my mind must have done: making note of the impossibility of my own aptitude.
The problem is this complex of anti-faith led me to become paralyzed in my writing. I stop creating all together. I would leave pages unpublished, crumple up notes left on the side of my computer, and erase ideas in my head, believing I wasn't good enough to pursue them.
As quickly as it came out of my mouth, I replaced writer with something I deemed more fitting: imposter.
I’ve continued to grapple with these identities over the few months since, hoping they would just duke it out on their own. But it never ends up being that simple, does it?
What if I never fully figure it out? What if I’m just not cut out to be a creative professional? I’m really impatient to know.
But I’ll tell you what: I’m going to keep at it. I’m going to keep scribbling stupidly in a notebook I drag around with me everywhere; I’m going to keep writing notes in my phone when I’m half asleep; and I’m going to keep doing this thing that I have no idea what it is and just hope that one day I look at it like, Ah, so that’s what all this has all been for! It’s a lot less painful than just sitting there, pretending to be as helpless as an injured body.
What I do know is this: writing isn’t meant to be perfect. It’s not supposed to be this predictable, agreeable discussion. It’s supposed to be messy and dynamic and inquisitive and oh, so stormy. After all, if it’s not so heavy with thought it’s dripping juicy speculation, what is the point?
I think I’m on the right track. Writer? Maybe. It stills feel like a borrowed pen. Perhaps if I just carry it around with me a little bit longer, it will start to feel more familiar in my own hands.