When I was young, I believed that George Washington was alive when the dinosaurs still roamed the earth and he killed all of them instead of an asteroid shower. I was always telling stories. My parents and my grandparents always say, “You have a very active and healthy imagination for a child.” I would just shrug my shoulders and not think twice about it. I loved to tell people my dreams and thoughts. And when this thought came into mind that George Washington saved the human race, or more importantly America, from a massive Dinosaur attack, I believed it. Why wouldn’t it? It was pretty logical at the time. George Washington was the first president of the United States of America and Dinosaurs roamed the earth a billion years ago. And it wasn’t my fault that some adults would always say, “Back when the dirt was new…” when telling a story sometimes. So thinking that 1776 was a billion years ago just seemed logical.
I was only 4 or 5 years old, still slept with a night-light because I thought that Father Time would some and take my soul when I slept. I was biting my nails out of nervousness. I still played with dolls as well. So I can honestly say that I knew no better. My mind was always all over the place. I never had a small attention span; I always paid attention to my parents, my teachers, and even every Disney movie I watched. I just had so many stories and ideas running around my head that I didn’t know what to do at times. My parents didn’t mind though. They just saw their daughter being happy. “Record your stories Moo. It might make a great story in the future.” I did have a recorder that my Grandparents gave me. So I was able to tape all my soap operas that my dolls went through when I played with them.
However whenever I would tell stories to my friends, they weren’t all enthusiastic as family was. The complicated story lines that I would make up, which lead to us just playing house, would sometimes confuse them. During recess, my friends at times would get angry by the games I would come up and I would just sit around them, quiet and reserved, following them and their games. I never had a chance to understand that having different games to play and stories to tell would lead me where I am now. I just knew that some day in the future, they wouldn’t make fun of me.
I was about 8 when I found out the truth about George Washington and the dinosaurs. It was a big shock to me, but I soon understood that my young naïve mind was playing tricks on me. George Washington wasn’t a dinosaur killer, Abraham Lincoln wasn’t the second coming of Jesus, and people didn’t have secret powers like Superman did. I got sad that the stories and ideas in my head weren’t true because I really wanted them to. I wanted to know something that most people didn’t. I wanted to be special.
I hated keeping a journal. Writing things down never really applied to me. I like draw mostly, thinking my stick figures were a work of art. My mom would give me a small flip notebook to draw and write in during church. That was the extent of my journaling when I was younger. Looking back, that was the only time I was allowed to be myself outside of home. Yeah it sounds corny, but it is true. I had those notebooks with Disney characters on them from when I was 3 until I was 10. They were always my way telling a story. Soon my mom or someone else would get me an actual journal which I paid no attention to until I was 18 years old and I was sitting in my first fiction writing class at Columbia.
Looking back at myself as a little girl, I realized that I was always normal. That my family realized a talent that I didn’t know I had until I got into college. It wasn’t until college that I realized that God gave me a gift and I should try it out. “If you have a story to tell Monica, go ahead and tell it. Write it down and share it with the world.” My parents told me. I smile whenever I think about the times they would force me to write down stories I had and how even though I always complained, I was secretly happy. I would write for hours without noticing the world around me. I was able to write stories about George Washington killing off all the dinosaurs and feel safe knowing that somewhere, my idea was written down. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time to tell my younger self to keep telling stories and keep being yourself. Because if it wasn’t for my family, I don’t know where I would be.