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Being a writer, I became accustomed to unkind, and petty comments from friends, family members, and colleagues. I became accustomed to rejection and failure.
Neil Geiman once said, ‘When you start off in the arts, you have to deal with the problems of failure. You need to be thick-skinned to learn that not every project will survive. But, remember to make mistakes. Remember to make good art.’
When I heard these words for the first time, I tied them unto the crevices of my heart, and every time I’d receive a rejection letter from a literary magazine or a content writing job, I’d tell myself these words, over and over again.
It was not a virtuous feeling, of course. It is natural for any writer to doubt his creativity when most publishing houses or magazines he applies to reject him continually. And that is exactly what happened to me.
I wrote stories, sent them to be published, and they all came back. Apparently, according to them, I wasn’t ‘good enough,’ and my stories ‘lacked creativity.’
I wrote stories that made me fall in love with the idea of life, about two nations who’d divide. I wrote about the doomed fate of unrequited lovers and the constant struggles of a failure. I wrote about the yearnings of a soul and the dying wishes of a homeless stranger. I wrote when I felt overwhelmed with emotions, and when I felt as emotionless as a dead bird. Like the passing seasons of winter, my love for words grew. I never knew why, but writing stories and creating characters, uncannily made me feel relieved.
“And however, difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up. Where there’s light, there’s hope.” – Stephen Hawkings
When I graduated high school, I decided to pursue a career in writing. I didn’t know how I would do it. I just knew that if I tried, just hard enough, God will make a way. The way I became better at writing was not through college or school. I taught my own self; my teachers were writers and poets who’ve died a million years ago. Oprah Winfrey inspired me immensely, and Shakespeare taught me the beauty of tragedy.
Even if I stayed up till 5 a.m, I couldn’t stop penning down my thoughts, I couldn’t stop weaving metaphors for lovers I never met and strangers I was yet to befriend. Taking a gap year between high school and college, I sat at home and learned technical writing, business writing, SEO writing, editing, proofreading, magazine writing, social media management, marketing, and publishing. Stepping into the professional world, I realized that a college degree might win you a ticket to a job interview, but after that, it is only your skills that matter.
I was never good at solving math problems, nor at organic chemistry. I despised quantum physics, and biology revolted me. I had a hard time differentiating between the different algebraic equations, and I never understood why we had to study the gravitational formulas of Einstein to pass the twelfth grade. For a girl who flunked her way throughout high school, poetry saved me. From depressive mood swings to friends who ditched me, poetry was my knight in shining armor.
I’ve spent my childhood drowned in a sea of sorrows, buried under the expectations of a respectable daughter and an ideal student. It was only when I was drowning in a turmoil of grief and depression, words and stories grabbed me by my frail hands and pulled me up into a land of faith and joy.
I might not be an engineer or a doctor. But I am a healer, and I believe that is the greatest profession of all. I want to listen, I want to teach, I want to heal. I possess the ability to feel the emotions of others. I am not a writer. I might be good with writing words, but I am merely a human being with a compassionate heart and a soul that can recognize the feelings of those around me.
I can write about love, despite never feeling the warmth and ecstasy of a soulmate, about the grief of a beloved’s death, despite never having experienced a loved one pass away. I can write about the passing beauty of youth and the loss of one’s sensuality with time. Feeling what others feel, is a gift from God to me. My intuition is strong, my vibrations are high, and it is only when I place the softness of my words unto the wounds of a broken soul do I realize that God has created me for the sole purpose of healing those who are broken, broken with the weight of unrequited love, and loss, broken from their constant fight in the war of life.
None of my family members have chosen to pursue a career in the arts, and when I tell my mama ‘your daughter will make a million dollars off of writing one day,’ she looks at me hopelessly, muttering the word ‘crazy.’
But I believe that if you have a dream, if there is something you are passionate about, if you have a wish in your heart that you hope to fulfill one day, don’t ever let anybody tell you that you aren’t capable of doing it. You can be anything you set your mind to. Where there is a will, there is a way; I speak from personal experiences.
Here is a list of some of the worst things I’ve heard in the past few years.
- “You can’t even pass 12th grade, and you call yourself a writer?”
- “Look at your siblings, and look at you. They’re toppers, and what are you?”
- “Girls like you never make it past eleventh grade.”
- “Well, you know, not everyone can be Shakespeare.”
- “Your daughter will reach nowhere in life.” (Said by my tutor to my mother)
- “You are a goofy person; no wonder you don’t have many friends.”
- “Girls like you can never satisfy a man, emotionally and physically.”
These words used to bother me a lot. However, realization dawned upon me like an epiphany that I do not owe these people an explanation.
Somehow, writing prose, poetry, and weaving words, made me believe in the possibility of a better tomorrow. It gave me hope, that I deserve happiness and love.
And as I shut my teary eyes tonight, a thought ran across my mind, like the passing seasons of time, almost like a message from the heavens above ‘Today might be rough, but those who help others, God never leaves them alone to suffer. He will help you the way you help others. He will save you the way you save others. He will console you the way you console others. He will love you the way you love others. He will protect you the way you protect others. He will support you like you support others.
So, my dear, just a little more patience. All your sorrows shall vanish, and happiness will be replaced back to its place one day. The change you’ve been waiting for, is coming. The person you’ve been yearning for, is coming. The opportunity you’ve been seeking is coming. The life you’ve been praying for, is coming. What your heart is seeking, in reality, it is manifesting. Seek goodness, and it will come to you. Because indeed, it is only those who have clean intentions and a pure heart are the ones to win in this life and the other. So my dear, patience. Ease is coming soon.’
Remind these words to yourself. The suffering might come, but so will the blessings. The hardships might occur, but so will the ease. The storm might rage continually, but it will not rain forever. Obstacles will come, in the face of failure, rejection letters, unfaithful partners, abusive parents, bullies, and haters. Remember, obstacles are only put in the way of you and your dreams from God, to test your patience and will. No matter how difficult life may get, if you have a dream, you must protect it. Your dream deserves to come to life, it deserves to be flourished. Yes, it will not happen overnight. But that is the beauty of it. The sweetness of success, is much sweeter, after facing years of failure.