Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Who is Wendy and Why does she Write?

Hi! My name is Wendy and I've always hated my name. Especially since I was also Wilkins. I seriously despised being WW. No matter how they called roll in school, I was at the end of the list! My father always told me they should have made my middle name Olivia so he could get me a monogram pin that said "WOW!"

Not that my middle name was much better in my eyes - Irene. I didn't look like an Irene (to me) and I hated Wendy. (I also hated being called "Carrot Top" and the red hair that brought it on - I had lots of issues as a kid!) The only thing I really liked about me was my freckles. Go figure.

My father never even called me by name until I was an adult or unless he was pissed. He used to call me Ajax or Junior, pretty much reinforcing the conflict I had with my name. Not to mention the fact that my parents didn't even have a girl's name in mind when I was born. They were expecting a Sam, not a Samantha.

Add that to the fact that until I was 31, my father made it a point to remind me that when the doctor asked him what he wanted when Mom was in labor his answer was, "Anything but a redheaded daughter" and you can see how I might not have had the greatest self-esteem in the world. 

I escaped into books and dreamed about being Kitten on Father Knows Best. When I discovered music, I listened to that for hours on end, being pulled into whatever storyline was present in the song. 

I began writing in seventh grade. My stories were almost always about me and my best friend. She would always get caught up in something dangerous and I would always rescue her. I became the hero in my stories that I couldn't be in real life. I only shared these stories with my English teacher (not even my best friend knew about them) not yet realizing that I was reaching out for a lifeline that I hoped someone would throw.

Fast forward to an abusive marriage and eventual divorce after which I decided to return to school and get my degree (FYI - I still don't have it.) I began writing again. I found it to be both therapeutic and cathartic. When I entered (and WON!) the college writing contest in poetry, I realized how much I'd been trying to say for so many years. You can read that poem here.

I encouraged my kids to write, to express themselves, whether their pain or their joys or their problems, in the written word. The concept didn't work with my son. If it involved reading and writing, he was dead set against it. But, my daughter filled notebook upon notebook, writing about her anger, her pain, her loves, whatever needed an outlet. She vented about me, about horrific events in her life, about betrayals and fears. She went through some deep depressive periods and I sincerely believe that, if she hadn't had writing as an outlet, her thoughts of suicide might have become actual attempts.

Initially, I only wrote during my darkest periods. That seemed to be the only time I could extract any level of creativity from myself. I wasn't able to maintain a steady period of writing. I tried, but anything other than serious, reflective prose sounded more like the childish drivel I wrote in junior high. As time has gone by, though, the problems of the past have faded enough that I can focus on the present. I can find humor in the past that I didn't before. I can find a normalcy in my life that I never found before. I accept things about myself and my life that I would have hidden from before. For the first time in my life, I LIKE myself. I ACCEPT myself. I present myself as I am. Sometimes deadly serious. Sometimes righteously angry; other times a social or personal advocate for others. Sometimes socially inept and awkward; at other times a screwball comic. But, I am ALWAYS me. And, that ain't half bad!

I want to thank the A-Z Blogging Challenge for helping me find a rhythm with my blog, Marie Anne for pointing out the obvious, and the two other writing challenges (TGIBBF and Succinctly Yours) I've joined for allowing me to find a creativity I was afraid I wouldn't know.


  1. well written-thanks.

  2. Good for you for writing! I feel like writing is what helped me through many things.

  3. My daughter HATED my freckles when she was young. Then she got them and still hated them, but she has always had an affinity for people with red hair. Funny how we choose what we like and what we don't like. I would be lost without writing. I can express my creativity in other ways, through crocheting for instance, but (and now I'm reminded of a scene in Beetlejuice where Delia Deetz screams that she has to express herself or she'll go crazy) I have to write. For me, it's next to breathing. Please find my latest A-Z Challenge here:

  4. I completely get your comment on my blog now and I'm glad to hear that you have finally gotten to like who you are. That in itself is huge for someone who's been through so much. You seem like a really strong person! Glad that you have your writing to keep you going. It is cathartic, definitely. I get you about the books too. They've always been so much more to me than paper. They were my friends, even when I felt like I had none outside of them. Really good post. Thank you for sharing part of your story. *hugs*

  5. @Pixie - Thanks! I knew you'd understand. I didn't want to go into detail there.

    @Theresa - I was constantly asked where I got my red hair from since my mother had almost black hair and Dad was blond. Turned out my mother was born with red hair that darkened by the time she was in school. But, she had olive skin tones and deep, dark brown eyes. She looked more like my husband's mother than mine! LOL

    @Lynn - Thanks so much!

  6. I never enjoyed my first name, nor my freckles. ;) Thanks for sharing your poem, too.

  7. It sounds like you've been through a lot. Glad to get to know you through this amazing virtual world we live in. FYI, I never liked my name either.

  8. Good for you Wendy. This is an uplifting post and that poem is tremendous. Bravo.