When I was in first grade, the item I held dearest was a notepad. I filled it with barely legible stories of my favorite stuffed animals, who had incredibly dramatic lives, and I never stopped writing since. In elementary school, it was pencil and notebook stories shared with friends. In middle school, with the help of my first computer, it became a full-length novel about a girl and her horse. In high school, it was printed pages of a mystery series, hole-punched and bound myself, which I had developed for my younger sisters. Unfortunately though, childhood ambitions often get overshadowed by more “practical” expectations.
Having grown up on a farm in rural Mississippi, my second love next to writing has always been animals, so I went to college in Animal and Dairy Science and graduated from Mississippi State University some years later with a Master’s in Veterinary Medical Science and a Minor in English (because I just couldn’t keep my hands off those literary courses). I’ve since gone on to become a veterinary technician, and though I love my furry patients and the care I give them, my first passion has and will always be writing.
For most of my life, I kept my writing on the side as a hobby, always intending to find the time some day to approach it more professionally. I guess one never fully understands how important something is until it seems beyond reach. In the fall of 2020, to conclude an already insane year, I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, an autoimmune disease which had not only disabled my physical health with joint and tendon pain but had also disabled my creativity with a pervasive exhaustion that sapped me of the energy to enjoy the things I loved most, the things that made me “me,” namely my writing.
Since finding remission and consequently re-finding myself, I am dedicating myself to pursue my writing more honestly and more tenaciously and to use it as an opportunity to show myself and others there is hope and passion and purpose after diagnosis.