When tasked with writing a comic book story, the last thing I thought of was making it about myself. However, as my story unfolded, I realized how one’s lived story can impact their written one.

In a recent workshop with members of the LGBTQ+ community from Tamil Nadu, we were tasked with creating superheroes to inspire a generation. This responsibility seemed daunting as I normally don’t consider myself a very creative writer. I was also unprepared for the levels of emotion involved with writing what I originally thought was a simple fictional story.

The first day of the workshop included the retellings of people’s life stories and events that have shaped them. Learning about the struggle and strength involved in expressing one’s self established a basis for developing powerful yet relatable comic book characters. Exercises that day included limiting inhibitions and acting as superheroes ourselves.

On the second day, the writing process began. Once the stories were finished, everyone gathered to share what they had written. I had expected this to last for an hour or two, but it turned into a five-hour session. I was awestruck by the detailed and personal stories that were shared. Each one was filled with personal experiences, and often the author was the hero.

Because everyone wrote about topics central to their identities, I gained an understanding of that person and what makes them powerful and unique. Through the experience, I gained friends and a greater confidence in myself. I realized that honesty influences creativity and that listening is just as powerful as having a voice. The stories created at this workshop are transformative. I have no doubt in their abilities to inspire confidence in both their readers and writers.

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