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Rebekah King Rebekah King
Recommendations: 21

Six Going On Eighteen

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For Fools

“I am sixteen, going on seventeen, innocent as a rose...”

As a little girl, this was one of my favourite songs in The Sound of Music. I used to think that Liesl Von Trapp was a beautiful young girl, with her whole life ahead of her. But now that I’ve reached the age that Liesl sings about turning, and passed it, I don’t feel how I thought of her twelve years ago. At eighteen, I don’t feel like I have my whole life ahead of me. I don’t feel old, per say, but more weary. I feel tired of the world.

I know that eighteen years is not an exceptionally long time to live, and that I don’t know half as much now as I will at thirty, but I know enough. I know enough to know that the world is a selfish, cruel and unfair place. I’m not blind – I see into the inner mind of the individuals in power. I know that the only thing people like that care about is money, and not the middle man, or woman in my case. The Prime Minister can harp on about ‘working families’ all she likes, she’s still a politician and they can’t be trusted.

It seems like you can’t trust anyone these days, not even those closest to you. Sometime, somehow, one way or another, they always manage to let you down. Of course, you can put your trust in your family and friends, but you must be prepared to have it broken at some point. Life is absolutely full to the brim of disappointments, so it doesn’t seem like much to look forward to, does it? The good things in life are so rare.

At eighteen, I’ve already gotten into five fights at school, had several detentions, had over thirty different teachers teach me many different subjects, gone through four different friendship circles in high school, gained and lost friends along the way. I’ve written many short stories, written a novel and started a second, made four films, learned to play piano and guitar, learned to sing, learned to dance Flamenco, RnB, Hip-Hop, and Jazz, learned some Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Latin, German, Russian and French. I’ve fallen in love, had my heart broken and mended again, moved from the city to the country with plans to move back again, changed my mind about what I want to do a thousand times and finally chosen. I’ve cried a lot, laughed more, loved life and hated it and found myself.

When you look at it all like that, it’s a lot. And they say my life’s only just beginning. This is all only what comes to mind, there’s probably so much more that I’ve seen and heard and felt, but I’d need weeks to write it all down. And it’s true; I haven’t been out in the world much. Most of my life has been spent at school, and I’m still here for another three months. That’s another thing that saddens me – I’ve lived for so long and I haven’t even left the classroom for most of it.

My whole school life people have been asking me – teachers and parents and relatives and friends and friends’ parents – what I want to be when I grow up. I’ve always loved books and reading as long as I can remember. When I was six, I wrote a picture book ‘A Trip to Paris’ about two little girls who went on a holiday in Paris and got up to all kinds of mischief. I did it all by myself, drew the pictures and everything, and my dad said it was good enough to be published. At that moment, I knew that I wanted to write books for the rest of my life.

But circumstances change, and as you grow, you discover exactly how much there is to the world. How much you can learn and do with your life. At fourteen, I discovered my love for stage acting. My dad is a drama teacher and he taught me for years. He always encouraged me to follow my dreams, no matter what they were, but I know he secretly wished I would pursue my passion for both writing and acting. Sometimes pursuing those passions seems impossible, and those are the times when I feel like giving up and I stop writing for a while, but I always come back to it.

As I grew, my childhood dream of becoming a professional writer slipped further away until it felt as though that path was closed forever. For twelve years, I never thought seriously about being a writer. But as I progressed through school, there was always one thing I consistently received good marks for – creative writing. The more this happened, the more I began to re-realise my dream, until one day I got on the laptop and began writing my first novel.

And now, two years later, that novel is finally complete. And even though I feel it will never be published, I am not disappointed. Because I didn’t write it because I wanted it published, I wrote it because I wanted to write it. I wrote it for me. I truly believe that that is where the roots of being a great writer begin. Anyone can write a book and make money, but the truly magical stories come from those who write simply because they want to and it makes them happy. The ones who write from the heart.

To many, this may seem like a brief and uninteresting account of my short life, but the words upon this screen are words that come from my heart. Words that bear a more significant meaning to myself than anyone could possibly understand. To be able to use words to influence people into feeling such raw emotion is a gift. Reading all of the feedback I receive from people about my work, those people make me believe that I have this gift. Those people are the reason my passion will never fade, the reason I still write and will continue to write for the rest of my days.

Every time it feels hopeless, every time I have my days where I think my dream has come to an end, I remind myself of all those who have loved my work. All the ones who have read my writing time and again simply because they love to read it. And when I remember why I am doing this, I feel like I’m six years old again, sitting at the table with my textas, drawing and writing about two little girls who took a trip to Paris. I knew even then, and I know now, that this is what I am meant to do.

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