Writing helps me stay sane (Tara Kelly)

My inspiration to write came from a pretty dark place. I did not grow up in a peaceful home. I made my first 911 call at the age of three...the first of several. Anger was a way of life in my family...along with violence and alcohol. In elementary school I was bullied and harassed because I didn't have the right look. The right clothes. The right parents. I fought back and I fought back hard because I wanted to make them hurt as much as I hurt. Adults labeled me with terms like 'problem child', 'at-risk', 'socially immature', future drug addict, future gang member, psycho...you name it they probably said it. But you know what? I never became any of those things.

I became an artist. A writer. A musician. A designer. A photographer. I've said this a million times, and I'll say it again. I really believe art, especially writing, saved me.

Over the years I've been told by various therapists/psychiatrists that most people with a childhood like mine turn out differently. I didn't come out unscathed by far, but I didn't turn out like a lot of kids who grew up in similar situations. People have often told me that I'm strong. But it took me years to actually believe it and see my passion for art as the gift it truly is.

Probably the biggest thing my childhood taught me was that if I want saving, I need to save myself. And if I want something to happen, I need to make it happen. Well, I wanted peace. Calm. Safety. So I locked myself in my room, turned up my favorite music, burned some incense, and wrote like a mad person. I created worlds I wished I lived in. Characters I wished were my friends. I poured everything inside me into those notebooks. My pain. My anger. My hopes and dreams. My secrets. And I found that the more I wrote, the less I felt the need to fight in real life. I started to reach out to other people and make friends. When things got really bad I knew I always had my writing to wake up to. An exciting scene. A character who just couldn't wait to be heard. Some exotic setting that only existed in my head. It became my addiction...a really GOOD addiction. One I still can't shake and refuse to shake.

I'm inspired by the bad, the good, and in between. The wrong people. The right people. Bad music. Amazing music. Traffic jams. Obnoxious neighbors. Big cities. Small towns. The middle of nowhere. Being. Living. Writing is like breathing to me. If I couldn't type or use a pen, I'd do it all in my head.

Because music is also a huge part of my life, I thought I'd end this post with a music recommendation. One of my all-time-favorite songs as a teen. It made me smile every time I heard it.

This Twilight Garden by The Cure.


  1. Lovely. Thank you for sharing this. :)

  2. Thanks for sharing. I'm a teen now with a not-so-great home life and writing and music has also been my salvation <3

  3. I work with low-income and at-risk kids (and yes, I hate those terms). I'm so, so, so saddened by your story. And so, so, so inspired. Thanks so much for sharing it with me/us and for all you can do for the world!

  4. Great post, Tara. Thanks for sharing and I'm sure you will inspire many that find themselves in the same situation. I spent a lot of time with The Cure cranked up on my cd player in high school too:)!

  5. Truly an inspiration you are Tara.

  6. What a great post and a truly inspiring attitude. Bravo!

  7. What a brave post, Tara. Thanks so much for writing this. It's humbling and bracing to see what you have gone through and how beautifully you have grown into yourself in spite of everything. I had a pretty decent childhood and still managed to feel pretty beaten up at times, so I can only marvel at your strength. (I also love the Cure).


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