As a child, I was lucky to never know how truly different I was from my peers. This protected me from being afraid to be myself (the fear came later). I made my own comic books, built props for my toys, and made use of “found objects” in my playtime.
In hindsight, I see how economic status, race, and upbringing affected my interactions with the world and still affects me to this day. It’s not hard being the poor kid when your friends are all poor too. But when your world gets bigger and you recognize there’s a divide between the “haves” and “have nots,” it becomes harder and harder to be yourself when your peers are all trying to be someone else.
My niece and nephew are big fans of the Wimpy Kid series. But even so, my niece complained there weren’t books written for her (e.g. for girls in her age bracket). We found some books obviously attempting to bank on the female Wimpy Kid audience, but after paging through them, she said she didn’t like any of them. After listening to her complaints and her desires, I told her I would try to write something for her.
Whether I succeed or not (probably not), has yet to be actualized, but I know I’m doing this for her as much as I am for the nine year old me who tried so hard to create her own worlds from nothing.