Darian, on being Darian:
I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, and led a rather sheltered childhood. Before starting 3rd grade my mom decided to home-school me and my brother, in a time when homeschooling was not the "in" thing to do. We were raised in a Christian household with strict, and sometimes strange rules. We could stay up later than any other kids, but we were the only kids in the neighborhood who didn't know what The Simpsons were. But muddled in the mix were times I hope age will never let me forget; listening to "Jeremiah was a bullfrog" with mom, where my brother was armed with his tennis racquet guitar, and I my vacuum microphone. The food fights at dinner, and Saturday morning pancakes.
As a young child, I hated reading. I would sit and stare at the page without reading, and then waited a few minutes before I would turn the unread page. I thought I was so slick. Then mom ruined my slickness by asking me about what I read. Busted. Forced to actually read, it didn't take long before I fell in love with books. I immersed myself in them, soaking up whatever world the author created. Reading became my escape from the every day, and in my preteen years I started creating my own worlds, and writing became my release. I felt empowered, excited, and brave. I could make anything I wanted with a few strokes of a pen.
In my late-teen years my parents divorced, and without question my brother and I both stayed with our mom. Life became more relaxed, carefree, and fun. Each of us started to explore who we were without the cloud of stress from their bad marriage looming over our heads. Slowly, I started shedding my skin as the quiet one, finding that I had much to say, and finally believing that it was worth listening to. I wrote daily, about my life, about imaginary lives and exciting happenings, but kept it to myself. Writing only gained me odd looks and strange glances to my ink stained finger. It was around seventeen that I tucked away my love of words and dream of becoming a novelist. It became my secret, and later, forgotten entirely.
As a consolation to the idea of seeing my book in my hands, I decided to become a journalist. I thought it a fine substitution, but in my family, journalism was not a practical job. Practical, by their terms, had steady paychecks, holiday bonuses, and 401k plans. Many of my family members already thought of me as the black sheep, the one that would inevitably go nowhere in life. So it was no surprise when the eye rolling started when I announced my desired career. After a lot of thinking, it seemed I could only do the one thing I knew for certain I was good at and enjoyed; taking care of people. Soon after starting college for nursing, I added to my black sheep persona by having a baby out of wed-lock, thus solidifying my status as "the one who had potential"
I had my beautiful baby girl, and that was all I needed. At 21 I moved back home with my mom and finally felt like I was getting my life back on track for us. I was working as a security supervisor, for the most part dead broke, nowhere near being able to afford living on my own, but I was happy.
At 22 my life took another unexpected turn. My good friend Steve, fresh off a bad break-up, had moved back to my area. We've spent every day since together. We stayed up late talking, about his break-up and mine, about movies, made stupid jokes and went out with friends. I'm still not sure at what point we became a couple. But one day I realized I was lucky enough to be his girlfriend, and now I'm the girl who gets to be his wife.
A couple years after we were married we had our son. I love being a mom, there's nothing more challenging and rewarding than wearing the badge of being a mom. But even with the good marriage and wonderful kids, something always churned inside me, still felt off balance, and it would be a few more years until I figured it out. In 2007 my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, on her 50th birthday no less. From that day until her last day in 2010, I took care of her. In my conversations with her through her last year - what she was most proud of, scared of, wished she could have done differently; I realized what I wanted. Life is too short to not go where your passions are. I started writing my first book, Love Unfinished. I wish she could have seen it through to the end, but it was because of her that it started.
So here I am, freely embracing my dorky side, my secret love of 80’s music, watching musicals, the UFC and playing Rockband with my friends. My favorite days are spent with my family, acting like a fool with my brother, and enjoying the beauty of my kids. Life is good.
How many books do I have in me? In the words of the great Dr. Seuss, "You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes, and you can steer yourself in any direction you choose." I choose to write until I can no longer type, until my fingers are too weak to grip a pen, and my lips too tired to tell someone a story.