For the Birds

My experience of venturing into the world of online blogging and social media has felt much like the experience of going to my first dance.  I worried about whether or not my site on WordPress would have the right look and feel.  Is my dress the right color and length?  Will my dress be on trend or out of style?  I spent weeks trying to decide on a WordPress theme, then a few more weeks customizing my chosen theme, Kiore Moana.  If my WordPress site could talk, it would say, “I’m wearing Kiore Moana, a design by Elmastudio,” as it scrolled up and down enthusiastically.  But, would anyone be watching?  My site would imagine being asked, “Rinconez. What an interesting name.  What does it mean?”

On Twitter, I worried about whether or not I would know the right protocol.  Would I know the right dance steps?  Would I be able to follow along to the latest line dance?  What if no one wanted to dance with me?  At first, I was terrified.  Actually, I was more than terrified.  I felt I was always fighting a combination of apprehension and fear mixed with excitement.  I started to follow other writers on Twitter and found the writing community on Twitter to be very welcoming.  I read their Tweets, re-Tweeted, starred my favorite Tweets, even Tweeted myself, but I still did not feel like I deserved to be part of the writing community, not even after starting my own site on WordPress, not even after my moments alone, writing, letting the stories of the characters in my head reveal themselves on paper.  I could not bring myself to consider myself a “real writer“.

The truth is I have been fighting my

Imposter Syndrome” as a writer.

This summer I participated in the VONA/Voices Workshop Summer 2015 Residency Program at the University of Miami.  I had the privilege of getting to know eight amazing women writers.  I was fortunate to have Chris Abani as my faculty member.  Before my experience at VONA 2015,  I felt alone in my thoughts and in my writing.  I worried about whether or not my writing would resonate with others, especially with other writers of color.  During my VONA 2015 Residency, I met an extraordinary group of talented writers and poets, who live and breathe their words; their energy and enthusiasm and encouragement was contagious.  I came back from VONA 2015 realizing that it is okay to make mistakes and that it is okay to allow myself to enjoy the full experience of the landscape of my life, wherever it be.

I am a writer.

I write because I can’t help myself.