Life’s Perfections6th GradeI wrote to escape.Came after a school trip where I felt bullied and ostracized by my classmates. When I spoke to my peers, my words fell on deaf ears.Wrote about a boy (more details) who lived in a perfect world and who lived exactly where I wanted to live -a ½ computer, ½ video game world. He attended Hogwarts.The boy became the perfect embodiments of who I thought a person should be – unflawed and unburdened9th gradeRobby Keating became a regular part of my life – idealized version of who I wanted to be. A boy/girl twin, who liked the same things I liked (video games, tennis and writing) and had similar physical characteristics. He always had the same mannerisms. Perfect in every way, and unlike me, did not have any struggles (he always beat his twin sister at tennis!). He was consistent, unlike my life at the time. New school, new friends, people shuffling around me. I was trying to figure out where I fit it. Toward the end of the year, my creative writing club teacher, Ms. Mason, challenged me by asking why I always wrote about the same character over and over again.10th grade+I began writing about “life’s wrinkles.” A life where my young 65 year old Grandma with Alzheimers passes away at Thanksgiving. –how did this make you feel, Graham ( a world where I feel helpless to know what to say or do., saw my dad cry that day)? A Valentines date night where everything goes wrong yet the couple still finds a way to be happy. How did this story make you feel about your life w/Carisa Graham (even when world around you and you yourself are flawed, you are still loved?)12th gradeNews story on the wall. Writing helps me process complicated issues, beyond myself/my personal life. Interviews with students, faculty and principal makes me part of a bigger community. (world bigger than myself)CollegeWrite to share my vulnerabilities, not escape them. Whether creative writing or journalism, I write to to process life’s realities and the flawed world I live in. People listen now ( I feel heard). What I write matters. It is real.