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  • Writer's pictureB. E. Padgett

Never Growing Up: How my 12-year-old self continues to drive my love of writing

My passion is personified as a creative and imaginative young girl.

I don’t know when she started following me, or how I ended up loving her, but sometimes what you love just finds you.

It’s like the first time a snowflake melted on your cheek. You’re standing in the cold trying to get your bearings when the unfamiliar feeling lands on you. It’s a breath taking moment that leaves a lasting impact on your memory.

This is how I felt when I realized I wanted to tell stories. We are surrounded by stories every day. From the tales of the people in our lives, our own everyday adventures, the books, TV shows, and even podcasts that we listen to – these stories take us to new places.

For me, all of these experiences pooled together in my head, and my 12-year-old active imagination exploded, wanting more. When I felt like I wasn’t finding exactly what I was seeing in my head, that’s when I started writing my own stories.

I kept them. Notebook after notebook, from my middle school to high school years, filled with stories that have never been read and probably will never live anywhere but between the lines of those notebooks. That 12-year-old girl who loved to write stories was with me when I went to college. She sat by me as I took fiction, poetry, and screenplay writing classes. As I heard all the critiques of my work by classrooms of people. She was there with me when I’d find the time to write late at night on the computer. I could feel her sigh in ecstasy whenever I would turn on music and write for hours, or even just for a half hour or a minute here and there.

I could feel her. I still do.

But for many years,

In my lowest times, the times I felt listless and overwhelmed, she came to me again – that 12-year-old me. It was like she had been whispering to me all this time, and when I finally broke down and all around me was silence and pain, I felt her hand on my arm. She was with me, her understanding glances and her warm fingers rubbing my arm to remind me – I would never grow out of my passion. Even though I had tried to ignore her or think she was out of my reach, or just a silly childhood wish, I remembered she had brought me back over and over to the white sheet of paper and the clicking of a keyboard, the tens of thousands of words that could flow out of my head and heart at any time.

Now I tell stories. Stories that don’t sit in notebooks on a shelf. Stories that make my 12-year-old self cuddle into my side. She is content. Today, I write stories that I would want to read. Stories about fantastical places and finding ourselves amid the chaos of life. Stories of friendships and connections stronger than any other. And most importantly, stories that feed my passion.

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