My parents got divorced when I was sixteen years old. My mother moved us across the country from the east coast to the west coast. I had little time to prepare. I was given 3 days notice to pack the things nearest and dearest to my heart into two 3 feet cubed boxes. We were moving to California, to live with a man who my mother had only been dating for a few months. He got a job transfer, I was getting a new life. Things were not good.
I had been popular in my old school. I had known everyone since Kindergarten. I was a good student near the top of my class. I was even in Advance Placement classes. In California, I knew not a soul. I felt alone. I was placed into comparable classes in California, but somehow, it was like being in a foreign country.
My English teacher was a large robust woman with reddish hair. She was stout and intimidating. She had her class pets. I was not one of them. We worked on reading, writing college essays and practiced learning large vocabulary words for the SATs. One day, as she called each and every one of us up to retrieve our graded essays, she could not help but praise her favorite students out loud. It was my turn. She paused, looked at the paper, and then looked at me. It felt like the entire room went silent. In front of the entire class she told me that I was a “terrible writer” and she could not see why I was even placed in her class. I felt my cheeks flush. I was mortified. I felt embarrassed. I had always been told at my old school that I was a good writer. I went back to my seat. I held back the tears.
From that day forward, I stopped writing creatively. Like a task, I completed my college essay and chose a career with very little writing, medicine. I dreaded English classes in college, although no one ever complained about my writing and for the most part my grades were very good. Medicine was perfect. Rarely were complete sentences written and there were abbreviations for practically everything. And so it went for 20 years.
A few years ago, I took the plunge and feel in love with 6 little day old chicks. They awakened my spirit. I was passionate about them. I wanted to share with the world how wonderful they were. I felt like writing again. I decided the best way was to create an online diary, a blog. I began to write. I was fearless. The words and stories flowed from my fingers onto the pages. I didn’t care who read my writing. I was writing for me and my family.
The wounds of that teacher’s sharp tongue have been healed by a giddy, waddling, perky little flock of chickens with nothing but good things and happy little voices to greet me each and every morning. The chickens helped me to realize that I can’t believe so strongly in what just one person thinks. I am unafraid to be vulnerable. I try to be supportive to those around me. I always think before I speak about how my words will affect others. I learn from those chickens everyday. I can’t help but wonder, how my life, on so many levels, would be different without my flock.