Writing About Emotions: An Epiphany, A Defining Moment



Being able to understand and describe a range of emotions based on your own personal experiences is an invaluable storytelling tool. If you are able to master the communication of emotions that you have personally experienced, you can easily pass them on to fictional characters and events.

Here’s the writing prompt:

Recall a significant moment from your childhood or past – something that shaped and defined who you are today. What were you doing / thinking / feeling? Why was it important?

I remember my school days in Luxora, especially the elementary years. Those years were spent in absolute idyllic, utopian conditions for me. Being the fourth oldest child in a family of five meant that you were invisible. Invisibility is a unique concept for a child, and achieving it was a natural consequence of my birth-order.

You see, I was neither the oldest, and thus burdened with a ton of responsibilities. No, that fate went to my brother Charlie. He always seemed to be responsible for something, or someone, all the time. He even looks responsible, thoughtful, considerate. I guess it comes with the territory.

Maybe things would have been different , my invisibility, if I had been born the youngest. That fate, however, went to my sister Linda. She was born cute and special, and has always been cute and special. Everyone loved her from the moment we found out she was on the way.

Believe it or not, I even remember the night she was born. Now, that’s a pretty big accomplishment for a 2 year old boy. So, you see, we were living in the country during this time, a particularly carefree time for me (but let’s save the story for another day). It was dark, country dark, so black you could not see your hand in front of you even if you put it 2 inches in front of your face.

I had played and played, with so much wild open space to roam in. I had visited my cousins, the Lewis family. We had played hide and go seek. We had eaten the grain of ripe wheat, as country children are prone to do, at least in those times. Nobody would have cared much about me, because at two years of age, everybody watches out for you, even when you are invisible, as i was.

Anyway, upon returning home (obviously with my cousins) I noticed the lights of a car and voices talking hurriedly, in hushed tones. They were in a hurry, and my mother passed by me in a sort of floating, ethereal way, in which you don’t see anything because it’s all hazy, misty-like. She got in the car and my father drove off.

Noone told me anything, no one had to. I knew they had gone to Osceola, to the hospital. When they told me I had a baby sister, Linda (which means “beautiful” or “pretty” in Spanish – no, I’m not spanish, nor am I Mexican either). anyway, when they told me I had a baby sister, I already knew. Two-year olds are like that, we know things that no one has to explain to us.

So, that’s how my sister became the only member of my siblings to be born in a hospital. I’m talking about a real hospital, with doctors and nurses. Linda, she’s special, like I told you already. Me, I became invisible that night, completely so. When you’re the second to the last child born, that becomes your fate. You become invisible, and it’s up to you how you play your cards.

I learned quickly that if I used my eyes and ears, and spoke infrequently, the fewer problems I had. Strangely enough, at the same time, it created almost ideal learning conditions for me. With my mouth disengaged, and my senses of sight and sound working at a maximum, optimal level, learning became child’s play to me. For the rest of my life, I have maintained these two gifts.

The gifts I speak of here is a love of learning, and the gift of invisibility. The one helps me to do new things in which no one has “trained” me. I am therefore an advanced level autodidactic. That’s a person who prefers to teach myself new things. As with the invisibility, it’s like being able to turn on and off the lights. Now you see me, now you don’t. Really, I’m not kidding. In sum, these two gifts, they have defined me as an adult, made me who I am today…



About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
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