My long-winded and often unrequited relationship with the English language

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As the paling moon slips out from underneath its daylit bed covers, words bumble through meadows from under rocks and behind wildflower stalks.

Or, plainly put, at night I become exponentially inspired. However, without visiting a thesaurus or really even trying, I find only whimsical words edging to the forefront of my brain. I could not even simplify my message without employing terms such as “exponentially” and “whimsical,” which is all due to my lengthy love affair with English. 

For as long as I remember, I have been a writer. This next part will carry with it an air of cliche, but it is the one thing that I have been consistently decent at. It began in the forest behind my home where I paraded about and talked to myself as if I were the characters from realms of fantasy and fiction. As I shot up like a bean sprout, I began receiving journals as gifts for the many griefs and triumphs my growing limbs endured, every lined page filling with the stories my brain swiftly spun.

Reading took me longer to warm up to. I remember being pulled out of class and walked to my teacher’s cramped room, where she attempted to teach me my letter sounds. I reminisce on ripping Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? from the shelf, managing to recite the whole thing and filling with a sense of pride. Soon, stories found their way to me through other means besides my own imagination, this being a thrilling prospect.

Within school, Language Arts became a home. It was where I went when I had emotions to vent or complexity to share. I found a snug cavern within the pages of storytelling, whether the words came from my pen or that of another. I soared over the rocky seas of subjects like math and science, heading towards a light on the horizon that emanated idiom. 

The first time I had someone tell me to challenge myself was in eighth grade when Mrs. Dieffenbach suggested I take Honors English 9. In my own fashion, I concocted some faulty excuse because, for all the beauty, ingenuity, and whimsy that comes with the English language, it is still the dialect in which my brain tells me I’ll never be talented enough. This lack of self-worth, specifically when pinned up against a world of better writers, is something that overtook many of my decisions in pertinence to my education; if I cannot be the best, why sit around and struggle to be satisfactory?

…for all the beauty, ingenuity, and whimsy that comes with the English language, it is still the dialect in which my brain tells me I’ll never be talented enough.”

This was ridiculous, specifically in light of the fact that Mrs. Dieffenbach was telling me that I was, indeed, good enough to be challenged. However, it served as enough excuse to keep honors classes at bay one more year. At this point, and throughout most of my freshman year, I gave all I had to English while English gave very little to me in return. 

I got bored with half-baked conversations about Romeo and Juliet when all I wanted to do was speak about prose, and through a cloud of fear and uncertainty driven by this boredom, I enrolled in Honors English 10. 

Walking sheepishly into room 139, I found a seat in the rounding circle of chairs and prepared for a discussion on a book I had not finished. However—hidden under an E earned on annotation—I soon re-discovered what drove my passion for the language in the first place. I still think daily of The Great Gatsby and will happily define transcendentalism if asked. My laptop holds a sticker from an excursion to Walden Pond, a destination I suggested in the hopes of walking the same land Thoreau once walked. I have strong opinions on the works of John Steinbeck, and will, without solicitation, tell you about them.

In my sophomore course’s comfort, I also found the inspiration that pushed me to continue writing. I found what has placed me on staff and what has kept me trying to figure out what rhetorical analysis is through trial, error, and many essays with points docked. I read works of historical fiction and revel in the beauty of each line and sentiment, and I type into the wee-small hours of the morning trying to finish a column that I find myself falling in love with. I doubt myself, and I continue to think that everyone is better than me, but I keep working. And though my long-winded and often unrequited relationship with the English language does not fix every problem I have, it certainly gives me an outlet to show others that our passions act as curative tonics to our struggles.

As I grow to become the best version of the person I so stubbornly am, English will, hand-in-hand, grow with me as it always has.