Growing up, I was told a lot that I had a talent for writing, that I was....a writer. I heard this from my parents and teachers, primarily. I became pretty accustomed to praise for the papers I turned in, whether prose, or poetry, or research, or book reports, I was told I had a natural talent. And writing, unlike math, was always something I understood easily and, even though research papers still weren't enjoyable for me, the effort that came with them was a familiar one, one that I could wrap myself around and had confidence I would eventually reach the end and find myself having completed a comprehensible and intelligent paper. (Math, on the other hand was and is largely a foreign language that I have no confidence in my ability to understand or put together anything legible around. I'm speaking of anything that goes beyond simply addition, subtraction, and multiplication.)
I was always a little baffled by the praise I received for my writing since it seemed like nothing extraordinary to me. I didn't put in large amounts of effort, I didn't pour myself into it; instead, I just sort of dashed something off and proof read it a few times, tinkered with phrases until satisfied and, yes, that will do. I felt praise should be received only after the utmost effort, sweat, blood, and so on, so I felt somewhat uncomfortable with the praise my essays and prose garnered, like it wasn't something I'd earned, not really.
Fast forward to now, 13 years after graduating college. When I turned in my last paper, I breathed a sigh of relief and walked away. I would become a ceramic artist, I said, and not have to mess around with those god awful school papers anymore. I've never though of myself as a writer and, despite the praise, it wasn't a career I was drawn too. But there's a funny relationship between natural abilities and what we end up doing, isn't there? Even as I've worked at becoming a full time ceramic artist, I found myself thinking about how I would write about this, if I were to write it all down. I've dreamed of having a space to write about my life for, well... years, really. But I've been both afraid and consumed by other demands like motherhood and it's overwhelming realities as well as recovery from a background that can be, shall we say, crazy making at times. So when I finally did start trying to write again, in fits and starts, I found the words don't flow quite as easily as they used to and that yes, in fact, you can loose an ability if you don't use those muscles once in awhile. There were those first tremors of Oh Dear God, I don't know how to write anymore! But they passed because, well, absurd. But still, like my pottery has only ever been improved by practice, same with writing and so here we are. I'm practicing again, and it's not as easy as before, but it's kind of fun all the same.