No Longer Afraid
When I think back over my life I often cannot help but to spend time concentrating on various missed opportunities. Even though I know tomorrow is forever gone and yesterday’s wrong should only be a lesson learned, it still upsets me. To add insult to injury, the bulk of the negative feelings and unsupportive energy came from the people I loved the most, my very own family. Out of frustration I began to look for outs. I started to write my nights away. I had big dreams and they were nearly rinsed away just as water runs down an open drain. A dream was deferred all because I allowed someone else’s negative seed to harvest in the midst of my blessing. I can remember the sabotage as far back as high school when I was full of light and bright ideas. It all seemed so innocent but that reply, “maybe you should think about that, it doesn’t sound like a good idea to me…” was how it always began. I was young without many inhibitions but those words made me stop and actually think. Maybe they were right. Maybe I was moving in the wrong direction. I was full of fire and loved the unknown but somewhere along the way I lost my nerve to chase stars unless I was guaranteed to catch one. It was not typical for people to make it outside the box of the norm. So what made me different? I could not think of anything that made me special enough to be the exception. So I let negativity win. Because I had not come from a place where the gray area was accepted I learned to embrace and entertain the black and white. Yet I felt the gray area was exactly where I belonged. I just did not have the courage to prove it. I was raised to believe in what I could see or hold. There had to be some form of financial benefit for time spent. There was no room for pipe dreams and glasses were always half empty.
It upset me that my family and friends could not understand my desire and need to be creative. Not having the support I needed was crushing. Though saddened, I used the hurt and pain to prove them all wrong. The approval I craved I overlooked and made up my mind that I did not need it. I cringed at the thought of any further rejection and began keeping my work to myself. I allowed my joy to be stolen and in fear, I opted for the blanket of normality. Just as easily as my ideas and dreams were pushed aside so went my confidence. After being told no so many times I began to give up on my outlandish goals, according to the pessimist that’s all dreams were after all. I settled for the typical nine to five to please my onlookers. I suffered daily from anxiety as I sat in the crowded cubical waiting for the clock to strike five because that marked my freedom until the next day when I would be forced to do it all again. I knew that this life was not for me. I had traded too many pieces of self for this dead end of madness and it will not suffice.
Eventually I got tired of being that caged bird and that is when I stepped out on my dream. Believing in me was all I ever needed to do anyway. I recall hearing someone say if you are writer then you just write. Write because you love it. I got it at that moment, writers write. Yes, it was that simple. All I physically needed was paper, pen and a free mind. I sacrificed my social life, sleep and a bit of sanity. There was no avoiding the desire when random words and verses continued to call to my soul. I realized there was nothing else in this world I could ever imagine doing more. I then began writing like my pen was on fire. I started immediately after dinner every evening and wrote until the early hours of the morning. Often I wrote until I fell asleep at my computer. I found something that no one could take from me. There in front of the computer or with a pad was where I wanted to be. There was where I became exactly who I was made to be. Today I can look back over the tears and disappointment as mere bumps along the way. The weakness has left my body. Now I am ready to use those moments to fuel my new movement. From lonely nights emerged the woman I am. Though I have not fully arrived, I am on my way. Today I openly embrace the days to come as I eagerly await change and the challenges of tomorrow. The work I have put in I do believe will spring forth ripe fruits and I will bask in its bounty. The bounty I seek is success but success by my measure is simply fullness in being creative and not monetary. When I am creative without bounds I am free and successful within my own right. When I read my words or turn the pages I am overjoyed. That alone has filled me beyond measure, definitely a priceless reward.
Believe me when I say, the pessimist is not your friend when words of encouragement are of the essence. Today, ten years later, I find myself seeking that courage of the young woman without the weight of experience to hold her back. I desperately want that untainted burn of enthusiasm and naive courage to push forward towards personal success. I have changed my approach when sharing my hopes, dreams and goals with people who do not share my enthusiasm. Why give anyone the opportunity to plant negative seeds in your spirit through pessimistic views? No one needs to validate who you are, where you are going or how you will get there. Just believe! Encourage yourself. Continue to keep the faith and follow dreams. Walk through adversity and fear of rejection. Working hard every day puts me a step closer to my goals. I have found my truth. As we speak I am taking my next step and graciously moving forward one day at a time. I am no longer afraid of being myself in whatever I do, with or without the approval of others.