*sips on her first glass of wine*
I remember the first time I was told that I was a good writer. It came from a teacher who had initially accused me of plagiarism because she could not believe the story she read was the original thoughts of a ten-year-old girl. My primary school’s principal would sometimes sit in on my speeches, simply because they amused him. In varsity an aloof, wide-eyed freshman said that my words “painted pictures she could see in her mind”. Each time, I was thrilled. Remember, this was well before Facebook; you had to earn your “likes” back then.
*pours her second glass of wine*
For the longest time, I refused to recognise my writing as talent nor did I work on developing it. I regret this. Perhaps, it was my sober middle-class upbringing? Poverty was not romantic or martyrdom; it was the hungry family that lived down the street. Writing was not a real job; it was something rich people did. I believed this because I saw no local evidence to the contrary. So, I graduated with a respectable degree in science, in an act of subconscious flagellation. You see, I committed myself to a field that forced me to choke down my creativity, and punished me for flair. I learned to write just the facts, to be precise and consistent. I whipped the creative itch right out of me until the very idea of writing “for fun” became preposterous. I worked in a laboratory and I earned a good salary- you tell yourself that this is enough but like a smile that never reaches the eyes, it doesn’t feel right.
The truth is I made excuses for not having the balls to be my authentic self and I’m done with that. How did I get here? I hit rock bottom. It came in the form of relocation; my husband earned himself an incredible opportunity to chart his career trajectory upwards. The catch was that he had to start over in a new province. It wasn’t fair to make him give up his career for my job (trust me, there’s a difference). So I quit. Admittedly, it was exciting for a while but after a few months I discovered that: scientific jobs were few and far apart; I was no longer an independent woman and my self worth was attached to a paycheck I no longer earned. More so, I realized that I never had a career worth saving. I was lost in the wind.
Now the great thing about rock bottom is that you learn how resilient you actually are. After all, I had nothing to lose. This was an opportunity to look at the wreckage and “put the pieces back together the way I wanted them to be” (J.K. Rowling).
It starts with a declaration: I am a new writer. I will make mistakes, I may fail spectacularly but I will not give up.
*puts the wine down and pulls up her sleeves*
Are you pumped? Then, let’s do this.