Hi guys! Envy (from Picking up the Pieces) and I have been mixing up a guest post for quite a while now based around the theme of 'What if'. I hope you enjoy it and go check out my post over on her blog. Enjoy!
It’s a part of everyone’s life: daydreaming during boring classes, staring out of the windows of the bus or lying awake at night, thinking: what if…?
We think about what could have been almost all the time, from the serious ‘what if I’d told him what I felt for him?’ to the little things like ‘what if I hadn’t eaten that panini?’ or the weird scenarios of ‘what if fish could talk?’. We keep thinking about these things because life could be totally different if we went back in time and changed one little detail. And if we changed one big detail… who knows what would have happened?
One thing that turned my whole life around was this one sentence, spoken by my 4th grade teacher: ‘Why don’t you write stories after finishing your work?’ Because of these nine little words I embarked on a journey full of stories, half-finished novels and bad poetry. And if I hadn’t done that?
Ladies and gentlemen, get in your TARDIS and let’s find out!
Primary school ‘the Fountain’, the Netherlands
‘Miss Martinez? I’ve finished everything,’ nine year old Envy said. ‘I’m bored now. Can I do the tasks on the next page?’
‘Envy, you know you can’t. You’ve got to wait until the rest of the class is finished with their work too.’ Those were her actual words, after which she introduced me to the wonderful world of writing. And if she hadn’t, I’m pretty sure our conversation would have gone on like this: ‘But I’m done and I’m bored! I want to do something!’
‘Just be patient, Envy. You need to learn to be patient.’
I would have moped around for a bit. The next day I’d have refused to do my work.
‘Why aren’t you working?,’ miss Martinez would have asked.
‘It doesn’t matter what I do or when I do it, I’ll end up bored and annoyed anyway.’ That remark would have made me end up in the principal’s office, which would frustrate nine year old me even more, and within no time I would have been marked as a problem child.
Shrinkworth High School, the Netherlands
As I grew older, I needed a creative outlet. Writing was perfect for this purpose. And if miss Martinez wouldn’t have suggested writing as an extra exercise? Without a doubt this would have happened when I couldn’t get rid of my frustration through writing!
‘No Envy, you’re a poop head!’ my friend Rose yelled at me during science class. In reality I wrote a whole story on the childishness of the use of the word ‘poop head’, but in this What If scenario I reacted differently. Instead of writing, the thirteen year old Envy in this alternative timeline yells back: 'I am a poop head? I am the one who’s being childish? You are the one who still calls people poop head. How old are you, three? You are the poop head here!’
The next day I put a drawing of Rose with poo on her head on Facebook, with the words ‘poop head’ as caption. She would have complained to our mentor and I would have ended up in the principal’s office for bullying, calling him poop head too when he doesn’t want to listen to me.
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Writing made me realize that I love languages. Without this knowledge my career choice would have been one big drama, probably resulting in an event like this.
‘Envy? Why do you want to become a doctor?’
‘Why are you in medical school then?’
‘My dean said I couldn’t go on believing I’d make a living out of selling my art. Said I was wasting my brains on art, that this was my best option.’ And as I’m telling my professor this, I start drawing eyes, a nose and a mouth on my desk.
‘Why didn’t you tell him you don’t want to be a doctor?’
‘I told him, but he wouldn’t listen to me because I called him a poop head.’ Meanwhile I’ve filled the desk with a portrait of my professor. He smacks on the desk, in the middle of his portrait.
‘Miss Fisher. I think you should reconsider your career choice. You’re a grown-up now. You can’t draw on your desk!’
‘Fine.’ I stand up, muttering: ‘You’re a poop head too.’ Then I leave the university and never set foot there again.
Many high school teachers were happy with me as a student – until they found out about my dream of becoming a writer. They thought it was a beautiful dream, but not one that should be chased during math classes, biology, chemistry, geography… My dean and I always got into arguments because my dream was unrealistic and I should choose a ‘real’ career path. It caused some drama every now and then, but when I look at the What If scenario I just wrote for you, I think I’ve turned out pretty all right.
‘Cause if I hadn’t been stimulated to write, things would have turned out a whole lot worse. Lots of people would have been hurt. Lots of people would have been called poop heads. And I would have had no clue as to what to do with my life. So miss Martinez, I owe you a great big thank you for introducing me to the wonders of writing!