It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post. Too long.
I’ve been so busy it’s hard to get anything done. I’m overly sleep deprived.
I just finished writing a guest blog post and it reminded me of how much I love blogging and how much I hate for it to take a backseat to my freelancing. It’s my truest form of self-expression.
Honestly, I almost didn’t write this. It’s 1 in the morning and I have to get up at 5 am to hit the gym before work.
God how I hate mornings! I often wonder if being a morning person it a learned trait or something you’re born with. I am hoping it will eventually become a habit because if not, I am royally screwed for life. I never grew out of that rolling out of bed at 2 pm phase that every teenager goes through. What I wouldn’t give to love waking up. It is literally the worst part of my day.
I guess I am hoping to give myself some inspiration that will help me get up other than my 10 alarms set in five minutes intervals. Most would think that’s enough to wake anyone up. Not me, I can sleep right through those puppies.
24 is a weird age. I now consider myself a real adult, and while it’s awesome, it’s equally as terrible. I yearn for the days of too much ice cream and 12-hour sleep schedules. However, the upside is this is only temporary.
That’s what keeps me going. I have come so far! Despite still having miles to travel, it’s amazing to see results of all my sleep-deprived hard work. It’s totally worth it because I know this won’t be forever. I have a brighter future ahead of me because of my hard work. It’s like a domino effect, seeing your hard work pay off makes you want to work harder.
I am incredibly exhausted most of my days. I totally wouldn’t recommend bypassing much needed R&R time, and if I didn’t have a vacation planned in October (25 days away!) I would make sure I have at least half of a day to myself to ensure my own mental stability. It is so important to stay mentally sound as well as physically! Burning it from both ends will surely leave you burnt out, needing multiple days, if not weeks of recovering. My 3-week vacation is the only reason for going pedal to the metal. When I come home, I am cutting my hours at my job to focus on writing, and to give myself some space to breathe!
Well, that’s all I have for now. A pretty anti-climatic blog post after two weeks of silence. Remember to push on and take care of yourself in the process!
I turned 24 yesterday. My birthdays are usually everything but inspiring. I always find myself depressed as another year goes by with nothing to show for it and the fear of my life slipping through my fingers becomes all too real.
This year was different. A few weeks ago I decided I would not allow myself to waste my life and that’s where this blog came from. I’ve always loved writing, but my lack of confidence and my lack of knowledge always prevented me from pursuing my dreams. I came to the realization that if I shied away from taking that jump that I would forever be a server. My drive to change my circumstances overcame that fear of not being good enough and I went for it.
It’s been a few weeks since then and my life has completely changed. I have been chipping away at that mountain of information that overwhelmed me and made me not even want to try. My confidence has grown exponentially. I have met some amazing people who have gone out of their way to help me, and they helped me in such abstract ways that they wouldn’t even realize what they did for me. They didn’t give me steps on how to be successful. They gave me tips and encouraged my style of writing. They helped build my confidence by sharing pieces of themselves with me. I can never thank you enough. (You know who you are!)
This drive to make something with myself has reignited my drive and passion. It’s given me something to work towards. My dream isn’t to be a multimillionaire; it’s to enjoy my life. It’s to pay my bills without taking away what makes life so beautiful: adventure. I always thought this was a pipe dream. Something to give me peace when I was day dreaming, and now, it’s so close and so tangible I can almost reach out and grab it, and I will.
It’s crazy that the only thing stopping me was myself. I got lost in the every day, as I like to call it. The get up, go to work, pay my bills, eat, sleep, and repeat, a terrible hamster wheel that sucks you in and refuses to let go. I needed to find a way out, and even that is an exhausting idea. Ask anyone how to be successful. I bet you they’ll say, “Go back to school.”
Here’s the deal, I can barely afford to pay my bills as it is. How can I afford to go back to school? Take out a loan that doesn’t cover absolutely everything? Where would I find the time working a full-time schedule? Night classes? I work nights. Day classes? I work those too. Online classes? I’ve tried that. I am not only a procrastinator but a “hands on” learner. I think we need to stop telling people the only way to make it is to rack up tens of thousands of dollars in debt, become specialized in a subject and then try to find a job. After all, the more specialized you are the smaller the job field.
I tried starting an Amazon Seller business. I even saved up and invested about 1500 dollars into it last year, and trust me, which was not easy on my budget. It worked too, I was bringing in some decent side income with that. However, life came crashing down on and I had to dip into my profits that were meant to be reinvested and you can imagine how that ended. Amazon is a patience game, and when bill collectors are knocking on your door you can’t wait.
When I finally decided to give writing a shot, I gave it my all. I knew immediately I had found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I want to inspire people, I want to paint a picture in their heads, I want them to feel what I feel. My blog is the best thing I’ve ever done.
So this birthday was very different. This year I have so many things to look forward to and so many things to be grateful for. At 23 I found myself, I got engaged to the man of my dreams, I laid the ground work for a promising career, and I welcomed my third beautiful nephew into the world. There are so many things to be proud of and so many things to look forward to. My birthday wasn’t this extravagant affair. I didn’t open any gifts or cards. I didn’t blow out any candles. I spent the day watching TV with my amazing fiancé. I spent the day appreciating how far I’ve come and how excited I am to continue down that path. It was a beautiful day.
I am incredibly good at my job, though that’s not saying much as I am a server. I work at a private golf club, and while I hate it, I also love it. We see the same members on a day-to-day basis. I’ve been there for over three years, my longest job to date, and the longer you stay there the more you realize how wonderful it really is. We are a family at Hershey Mill. I know most members by name, I know their children, I know what kind of car they drive, what they do, or did for a living, and I know their golf score. Countless members hand me envelopes that contain not only well wishes for the holidays but cold hard cash. Trust me; it’s not the members who I hate. Actually, it’s the members that keep me coming back every year.
The good part of working at a golf course is that you can’t play golf when it’s snowing, which means the golf course and the restaurant both close for the winter months. Well, January really. They open back up in February, but only for the weekends. I, however, am gone from January till mid-March.
This much-needed vacation is the only piece of sanity I have left. It gives me something to look forward to and something to work for. My amazing fiancé isn’t native to the Northeast like me. He’s a country boy so you can imagine how out of place he feels in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Anyway, we pack up our little Kia and take that 1,300-mile journey down to the bayou.
I was born and raised in and around Philadelphia, and while it will always be home, I fell in love with Louisiana the moment my flip-flops hit the ground just over three years ago. Since then I have been trying to find a way back there for good.
Not only do I love the small town lifestyle, I love the people. I love the country accents; the simplicity of it all is calming. In Philadelphia, things go a million miles a second, but in his small town, there is no rush.
I remember how uncomfortable I was when random strangers would strike up a conversation. I have never been good at small talk. I still am not. After spending a quarter of my year, every year, for the past three years, down there I’ve not only gotten used to the friendliness, but I crave it. People here don’t even thank you if you go out of your way to hold the door. Everyone is too busy rushing to get where they need to get they forget to stop and appreciate the company of others, or even the generosity of others. People are more welcoming, friendlier, and less judgmental in Louisiana.
If there are any couples who have done the long-distance thing, I am sure you will understand this. The dynamics of my relationship change. Here, I am at an advantage. It’s my home; I know the ins and outs of Delco. I am independent and confident. Chase, my fiancé, isn’t comfortable here. He will never admit it, but I can tell in the way he carries himself. This is another world. Most people from his town couldn’t handle the culture shock that comes along with a drastic move from a small town to the city of brotherly love, or any city for that matter. He is more timid and shy. I feel like here, I wear the pants.
When we are in Louisiana it’s completely reversed. I cling to him. He is so confident, he is so himself. I fall back in love with him everytime we are there. He is in his comfort zone, and I am all out of whack. My self-assurance slips away along with my self-esteem. I need him; he is my only link to that strange place. It’s only then I realize this is how he feels in Philadelphia. To be honest, while I may hate that vulnerability that comes with Louisiana, I love seeing Chase like that, after all, that’s who I fell in love with: a quiet, mysterious country boy with a whole truckload of confidence. All I want is for him to be happy, and here he isn’t.
I’m not happy here either. My family is here and I love them more than anything. I have two, soon to be three, beautiful nephews who are the light of my life. While it’s hard being away from them, it’s harder to wake up every morning hating who and where I am, and I can’t live my life for anyone else but myself.
Every January I hope and pray that I don’t have to come back. I dream up different scenarios in which I don’t have to come back: I find my dream job, I hit big at the casino, I win the lottery, my entrepreneurial skills finally pay off, etc. Three years of crushed hopes. It took me awhile to figure out things don’t change unless you change them. This year will be different. I’ve got four months till freedom. Not just two and a half months off, but I am gone for good. I’m chasing a dream, and I mean literally chasing. Not just hoping and wishing on a shooting star. That’s what motivates me: to be happy and to be free. I don’t care about making millions of dollars. I don’t care about having a big fancy house or a fast car or even name brand clothes. I want to be free to be happy and still manage to pay my bills. I want to make that move I’ve been putting on pause because of financial reasons.
So that’s the motivational message I have for today. If you want something, you have to go after it. The reason why you want it doesn’t need an explanation. It doesn’t matter if it seems silly to other people or you’re worried about other’s reactions. The only person you should be living for is yourself. With that said, nothing good comes easy. Nothing will fall into your lap no matter how bad you want it. If you want it get out there and get it! Nothing changes unless you make it change!
What do you do when it seems as though every morsel of inspiration has been slowly drained from your body leaving nothing but exhaustion in its wake? How do you become inspired when you don’t even want to look for inspiration?
These words are much too true for me. I bounce wildly from driven and determined to docile and compliant. Maybe it’s genetics at work, my beautiful sister is diagnosed bipolar. Once upon a time, I was suggested by a therapist that I went to for depression issues that I could have a milder form of it. It’d be nice to have that as a scapegoat. Somehow I don’t think my pride would accept that. I could be on fire and I wouldn’t ask a single soul for water. Maybe stubborn is the right word.
The past couple of days I have been utterly uninspired to write. A fear has taken over me, what if my inspiration was a fleeting moment gone before I could even appreciate it? Almost like when I convince myself I am going to go to the gym every day, and I go for a week straight and then stop. Am I destined to be a server for the rest of my life?
That thought is more terrifying than the fear of that spark of inspiration followed by an inevitable darkness that can turn your soul cold. In that, I can find motivation. The motivation needed to hammer away at the keys on this old beat up laptop.
I find fear to be the best motivator, and for me, there’s nothing I am more afraid of than my life plateauing at 24. Inspiration can be hard to find, but motivation is always there, choosing to act on it is usually where I, and I am sure others, fall way short.
It’s easy to get caught up in the every day: wake up, go to work, come home, make dinner, go to sleep, and repeat. That cycle is enough to strip even the most aspiring of their inspiration. I struggle with getting out of bed most days, and usually, the only thing that keeps me going is knowing I can come home and cuddle up with my sweetie and fall back into that magical dream land where anything is possible.
There is a difference between motivation and inspiration. Motivation tells you to do something and inspiration tells you to be something. Motivation stems from those not so great feelings like fear and anger. Inspiration stems from those uplifting thoughts and feelings such as hope and desire. At least that’s how it is for me. My lack of inspiration is motivating me to trek on.
It seems as though this post is lacking the energy and emotion I hoped, though, I am still proud of it. I was consciously looking for any reason to put off writing today. I had a long, crappy day at work. My next two days will be torturous, tedious long days, as I work 12-hour shifts all weekend, every weekend. I had almost convinced myself to just hold off for a few days, and pick up again Monday. I know myself too well. If I stop I most likely will not continue.
21 days, it’s said, is how long it takes to make something a habit. I have accepted that inspiration comes in spurts, coming and going in the blink of an eye much like a shooting star. When you’re lucky enough for it to strike you, use it to your benefit, and when it’s gone you must rely on motivation to continue what you’ve started.
I only hope that this is much more enjoyable to read than it was to write. It was like pulling teeth to get out. Usually, the words flow out of me like music out of a speaker, but today, not so much. I write about what is close to my heart and hope it resonates with anyone who happens to find themselves browsing through this blog. I want to share something of value to someone else who understands, but what am I to write about when I have nothing of value to say?
The only thing I could conjure up was that it is okay to feel uninspired. But it’s not okay to give up because of that. I can’t give up on writing, I won’t. Even if my words don’t inspire you, hopefully, I’ve said enough to motivate you.
As I sit here, looking at this blank page, my eyes are already beginning to water. There are parts of me that have stayed hidden for a long time, feelings I am not sure I will ever be able to face. Even as my fingers hit the keys I question every letter.
My best writing comes from my heart, and from the dark corners of my life that have molded me into the person I see staring back at me in the mirror. My writing is the most honest portrayal of myself. It is my hopes and dreams, it is my wants, and fears. There is nothing more frightening than confronting the skeletons that have been hidden for so long, I almost forgot they were there. Almost.
Forgive me if I am all over the place, this is a hard topic, but one I feel I must write.
My father died when I was six.
Rereading that sentence quiets my brain. I’ve avoided this for so long, I don’t even know how or what to think or feel. A part of me shuns myself, as if I am being a big baby. Just get over it.
How do you get over a loss so deep and profound it leaves you empty? Do you ever get over it, or just learn to live with it? Or maybe, if you’re anything like me you bury it so deep the only way it can manifest itself is in a reoccurring dream that wakes up you up in the middle of the night. A dream so vivid and heart breaking it leaves you sobbing into your pillow until you eventually cry yourself back asleep.
I had never seen a dead body until my dad’s funeral. I remember that distinct smell of what I can only imagine to be embalming fluid. To this day, it was the worst thing I have ever smelled, and I’ve been to many funerals since. I remembered him wearing the ring on his pinky finger that my siblings and I had got him. Looking back, I didn’t realize this was my last chance to say goodbye, and I ruined it. I couldn’t bring myself to kiss him goodbye and I hate myself for it. I know I shouldn’t. I was a scared little girl staring at the lifeless body of her father, and yet that thought does nothing to ease my bitterness.
When I think of him, I try not to remember his funeral, although it always finds a way to grab a hold of my thoughts. I try to think of the good memories. There’s only a few I can remember, and they are mine, they are the only piece of him I have left, that and his wallet. I go through it from time to time; it always ends with me in tears, so usually it stays in my closet in a manila envelope gathering dust. But my memories give me joy, and appreciation. Though I can never speak of them, knowing I will lose it and end up in tears, I like to think of them as a secret between him and I. I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have them. I can’t lie, sometimes, when I replay them in my mind, I become enraged. Mad I don’t remember more. It feels as though someone stole a life time of memories I could have had. That I should’ve had. Sometimes it feels like they’re not enough, and they aren’t, but they’re better than nothing.
I’ve been to his grave site one Easter, years and years after his death. I remember that sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach when I found out he doesn’t even have a headstone. I can’t afford a headstone, and the minute I can I will put one there. He deserves at least that. I’ve never been back since that day. How could I? Knowing there is nothing there but a bush to mark where his bones lie. It hurts to even think about. So I try not to.
Six is the blissful age of innocence. Children don’t know the harsh reality of the cruel world. Or it’s supposed to be. Tragedies happen at all ages, but there is something soul crushing about a child learning, far too early, that life is unpredictable, unstable, and absolute chaos. At six you cannot comprehend death. I remember crying uncontrollably, my mother brought me into her bedroom and wiped my tears away, pleading with me to tell her what was wrong. My answer was simple, and at that age, understandable. I was afraid I would never see my dad again. She looked me right in the eyes, and said, “You won’t.”
Now, before you go on thinking how awful she was to crush my innocence, you have to understand my mother. She’s a strong, independent, no nonsense woman, who lost her mother at a young age. She worked three jobs to support three kids. She is the strongest woman I have ever met. In her eyes, I believe she thought it was better to tell me a hard truth, rather than encourage the delusions of a hopeful little girl. I doubt she realized how much of an impact that moment had on the rest of my life. It was that moment I realized that the world was an unkind, ruthless place, and the only way to survive it was to become tough enough to withstand it.
At six, I learned to suppress my emotions, something I struggle with today. It affects my relationships; it affects how I behave around certain people. I am quick to anger, not knowing at the time that at the root of my anger was other emotions I had never properly learned how to cope with. I’ve come to realize these bottled up emotions are the foundation for my anxiety, which is crippling. How much of my life and what I’ve done with my life has been at the behest of my anxiety. It has controlled every aspect of me for far too long.
There’s something to be said for a child who knows pain before pleasure. Who learns hurt before they learn joy. Who experiences loss before love. What happens in our past so greatly affects who we become. Some are stripped of their innocence before then could even enjoy it. The truth is life hardens us all, some before others.
I really don’t know if there was a purpose to this post. I fear it is all over the place and pointless. It is the first time I have ever really talked about his death, and how it affected me and still affects me. Maybe I hoped to have a self-realization from writing it down, and now I am worried I am just blabbering on making absolutely zero sense. Either way, I will post it, in hopes it will resonate with someone. And if it does, just know you are not alone.
I remember the first time I read this poem. The emotion, the relevance, the silent understanding of true love that resonated from the words to my soul, it was all too real. It had such a power over me that I even had it tattooed on my inner arm.
A little over three years ago, I accidentally met my very own Annabel Lee in the form of a misunderstood country boy, by the name of Chase, through Omegle. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s just like chat roulette, with less private parts. I was a 20 year old lost soul, trying to not only find herself, but find her footing in the world. I was single for the first time in four years. My heart wasn’t broken, my ex and I stayed together for years even though I had fully accepted our relationship was over within the first year, I had stayed with him because I figured it was easier than starting over.
Anyway, we exchanged facebooks, then numbers, then skype, and after two months of falling asleep together on video chats, or talking on the phone for twelve hours at a time, I took the plunge and bought a plane ticket to see him.
I’ll never forget that day. I had never flown by myself. Not to mention, I had a layover, and while at 20 you are considered an adult, I was terrified of getting stranded at the Houston airport. Somehow, probably by the grace of god, I made my connecting flight. As I fixed my makeup on the tiny jumper plane, I was overflowing with anxiety. Sweaty palms, uneasy breath, racing heart, along with a rollercoaster of thoughts and feelings accompanied by the realization that I had flown across the country to meet a stranger.
I must be crazy
As the plane landed, my anxiety transformed into fear faster than the strike of lightening. My knees felt weak as I gathered my carryon bag. As soon as I was in the extremely tiny airport, I ducked into the bathroom in hopes of steadying myself. Panic began to overcome me as I realize I couldn’t do this. I had made a horrible mistake. He wouldn’t like me. He couldn’t like me. I couldn’t face him. The fear of rejection was too overwhelming. The buzzing of my cell phone sent reality crashing over me. With shaking hands, I answered.
“I can’t do this.” I told him, uneasily. He seemed confused by the thought. I was already here, what was I to do? Stay in the airport for 2 weeks and return home? He stayed on the phone with me patiently, soothing my every worry and fear. I was in love with him, something I could never allow myself to accept, but as he talked me down off the ledge, in that tiny airport bathroom, I could no longer deny it. I was desperately in love with him. He told me he was down stairs waiting for me, and when I felt like I was ready, I hung up the phone, gathered my stuff, gave myself once last look in the mirror, and exited the bathroom.
I made it about halfway down the steps before I spotted him. He jumped up from his seat as our eyes met for the first time. My pace quickened. I ran down the rest of the steps and threw myself into his arms. Before my brain had time to process the last 30 seconds, I found his lips on mine. Our first kiss, our first meeting, it was more than I ever could hope it would be.
I spent two weeks with him. Two amazingly romantic and beautiful weeks where we confessed our love for each other, and made our relationship official, knowing full well I’d be leaving sooner than either of us were willing to admit. We laughed, and played, and danced, and kissed, among other things, we napped, and went on walks. It was the best two weeks of my life, and my love for him grew immensely. When it was time for me to catch my flight, I cried in his arms for hours. I was terrified that we would never see each other again. He tried his best to soothe my fears, desperately wiping tears away and kissing my forehead, while whispering promises of a reunion into my ear. We gave each other our most prized possessions, as if a last ditch effort to ensure this would not be the end.
1300 miles kept us apart, but not for long. Two months to be exact. I drove down to Louisiana all the way from Philadelphia and picked him up and brought him home with me. Three years later we are still madly in love. He proposed to me in February.
Before I met Chase, I had no idea who I was, or what I wanted out of life. I was a lost soul, roaming the world trying to find my place. He opened my eyes, my mind, and my heart. He has helped me answer questions I thought were too stupid to ask. He entertains my thirst for the unknown. He is the other half of my soul, and the very reason I am who I am. I have fallen in love with his small home town, I have fallen in love with his family, his best friend became my best friend almost instantly. I have found my place in the world. I have found my other person in the world.
A few months back, we were in a bookstore; I came across a bookmark that caught my attention.
We loved with a love that was more than love.
I ran my fingers over the words. I had heard it before, but for some reason it never resonated with me, until now. Chase, who is far more intelligent than I will ever be, recognized it immediately, and told me what it was from. On the way home I looked up the poem.
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we—
Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea—
In her tomb by the sounding sea.
I can’t explain how much that poem affected me. It is beautiful, it is tragic, it is real. It is what we should all strive to find in life. It is what I was lucky enough to find.
And so, to my own personal Annabel Lee: I love you. You are my muse, you are my passion, and you are every part of me. You have taken a frightened girl and turned her into a confident woman. You are my belief in a high power, you are the magic in my life, you are what makes me special. You are every answer to every question I never thought to ask. You are my purpose, my heart, my laughter, and my smile. You are my reason to get up in the morning, my reason to better myself, and the only reason for my open-mindedness. You are my soul mate. I love you more than the stars above, more than the number of grains of sand on a deserted beach. For all of these reasons and more I thank you for loving me, for making me realize I am deserving of love, that I am deserving of so much more, deserving of you. I will always love you.
There’s something magical about writing. Maybe it’s that excitement that accompanies it. If you are a writer, I know you know that excitement. There’s something beautiful about being able to tie just the right words together to form an alternate reality in which we can become whomever we choose to. A sea of words we can become lost in.
I have never been orally articulate. My mind seems to race faster than the speed of light. I can never seem to find the words to accurately construe my true feelings, and when I try, it’s as if my brain shuts off, and instead of any coherent thoughts, I stumble, clumsily, through a slew of words, and half sentences that confuses not only myself, but the recipient of those words. This is especially true when trying to decipher my emotions. I’ve learned the only true way to express my deepest emotions is through writing. When my fiancé expresses any grievances with me, I listen, and only listen. I know it frustrates him, the fact that I cannot engage, but after years of loving an extremely stubborn and independent women, he’s learned to accept certain parts of me that I cannot change. He knows his words do not fall on deaf ears. He knows as soon as I have the time and space; my emotions will pour out onto a page, in a shockingly eloquent fashion. I have a notebook within arm’s reach at any point. It’s like, when I have that pencil in my hands my racing thoughts screech to a halt, and all of those overwhelming emotions I could not put into words dance from my pencil in such a remarkable way it even surprises me. Writing is my sanity. It is my calm, my peace, my magic. It is my escape from that vast uncomfortable vulnerability; with a pencil in my hand I am free.
I think when I look back, I’ve always been in love with writing, and sharing my writing still to this day sends a wave of exciting shivers down spine. My writing is who I am to the very core. It is that wondrous little girl I see in pictures hung up along the wall in my mom’s apartment. It is the piece of me who has always been, while the rest of me has changed dramatically with the years.
As a child, I was always gifted in mathematics; I never thought my writing was any good, despite encouragement from multiple language arts teachers. Although I can’t recall how old I was, I know I was not yet in high school, I remember it specifically, like it was yesterday, writing a story about a normal day in the life of Taylor. My teacher told me to stay after class; I remember the anxiety of combing through my previous actions wondering what I had done wrong. To my surprise, I hadn’t done anything wrong, she had read my work and encouraged me to continue writing and submit it to Chicken Soup for the Teenaged Soul. She said my use of imagery was far beyond my grade level. I never once seriously considered submitting any of my work. There was no way I was good enough to be published, and even to this day, years and years later, I still carry those uncertainties with me.
My insecurities could drown me if I let them. I usually keep them at bay by focusing on the present: working my fingers to the bone and keeping mental, and physical, lists of to dos. If I stay sedentary for too long, the realization of who and where I am in life tends to overwhelm me. I will be 24 this month. I have racked up more debt than my ten dollar an hour job plus tips will ever be able to pay off, not to mention will it ever allow me to start a family, or even keep my bills paid. I always assumed if I worked hard, like karma says, it will come back around. Looking back, I have been working in the wrong direction, giving all my energy to a dead end job and absolutely zero energy towards my future. I guess I always had this artificial justification as to why I am where I am. I had a rough life growing up. My father died when I was young, mother remarried soon after. After a cluster of home wrecking affairs on her part, she divorced. My mother and I moved into an apartment, away from my siblings who, one was already out of the house, and the other chose to stay with my step father. That’s when her addiction really took off, though at that age, it could have taken root years earlier and I was too young and naïve to notice. I started drinking and smoking cigarettes; my grades slipped, and I withdrew from extracurricular activities. I would wake up for school and fine random men in my mother’s room. It wasn’t long before we were evicted, but that is neither here nor there. I cannot allow my past to excuse my future, or lack thereof. It took years for me to realize that only I am responsible for me.
In my very early twenties, I escaped a crappy relationship and a crappier receptionist job by writing Walking Dead fan fiction, on the only amateur writing site I knew of: Quizilla. I racked up hundreds of loyal readers a week, that’s when I realized there is no better feeling than someone reading, and enjoying, my writing. I didn’t have a degree, and didn’t think I had the proper grammatical skills, or even creativity to pursue writing. It was, as it has always been, my escape. I never thought it could possibly be my future, until a few short years later when my best friend told me about freelance writing. I excitedly did my research, and after reading blog post after blog post I convinced myself I could never do it. I didn’t know where or how to start, so I tucked my tail between my legs, kept my head down, and continued to wait on entitled country club members who saw me as the help.
A few weeks ago, I had a realization; I was going nowhere, destined to struggle and live pay check to pay check. Being a waitress couldn’t get me far, if anywhere, and the damage it can do on a body was sitting right in front of me in the form of my best work friend, a 60 year old waitress who has a massive number of degrees and nothing but decades in the food industry. She walks with a limp, as she struggles with hip problems. She is nearly blind in one eye, and misery oozes from her very being. While I love her, I don’t want to be her. Even at 23, my hands hurt every day. My toes have been numb for the better part of three years, I have intense shooting pains throughout my arms and legs, and don’t get me started on my back pains. I wear an arm brace to work, and when I’m confronted by members, I shyly smile and tell them I have carpal tunnel. Most of the time they want to refer me to a surgeon who has performed the surgery on not one but both of their hands, I, enthusiastically, take down this doctors information, and toss it in the trash as soon as I can, knowing I have no health insurance, and no way of attaining insurance. The truth is, I don’t know if I have carpal tunnel, the only thing I can do is Google my symptoms, although I think I’ve narrowed it down to three possible conclusions: I have carpal tunnel, I have diabetes, which runs rampant in my family, or like my maternal aunt, I have multiple sclerosis. Regardless of what may be, I mustn’t concern myself with things I can’t change, and that’s the reason I started this blog, to start changing the things I can.
I don’t know if I am blogging right, or if there is even a right way to blog. I don’t know how to navigate Word Press, as I am worse than my mother when it comes to technology. I don’t know how to connect with other writers. I just read blog post after blog post, and try to not convince myself that these amazing writers wouldn’t waste the time of day on a nobody trying to make a name for herself. I don’t know if anyone is even reading this, or even how to get people to read this, but I must start somewhere. I must follow my dreams, or I will ultimately fall victim to my own doubts and insecurities. I will give it my all, I will persevere. My passion for writing grows immensely every time my pencil hits my paper. It is what it has always been: my freedom.
I’ve spent the greater part of my life shielding myself from failure, from not being good enough. That fear sent shivers down my spine, enough for me to not even try, and 24 years later, here I am, wasting away as a server at a country club, not amounting to much of anything. Finally, my complacency came to a screeching halt. I was not proud of who or where I was in life. I blamed anyone but myself, the economy, Obama, my mom. I didn’t realize the hold that this fear had over me. I refuse to settle for a life I hate because of my fears and insecurities, and nothing in this world will change, unless you change. The biggest change one can make is facing and overcoming that overwhelming and anxiety ridden fear of failure. In hopes to not only motivate myself to overcome this irrational fear of failure, but others too, I have set forth a list of five things to remind you to embrace failure, not run from it.
- Failure is the only road to success
If you do not try, you do not succeed. It’s as simple as that.
- Failure is your best teacher.
The greatest thing about failure, is that it is a stepping stone to success. It teaches you what works, and what doesn’t. It is a tool you should use to your benefit. It is something you should learn to welcome, and learn from. It is your biggest ally in a world of foes.
- Everyone fails at some point.
Walt Disney was told by his former newspaper editor that he “lacked imagination, and had no good ideas.” Look at him now. He’s not the only one, Einstein, Stephen King, Elvis Presley, etc. They all had to overcome failure and the grappling fear that accompanies it. Instead of succumbing to this fear, they let it motivate them, which, brings me to number 4:
- Failure is your best motivator.
It’s like that whole reverse psychology deal, if someone says you can’t prove them wrong. Or if you’re anything like me, it’s like getting stuck on a Candy Crush level. Months and months of built up frustration as you fail over and over and over, and that heartwarming, freeing sense of accomplishment that takes over your body once you beat it. More importantly, what causes that sense of accomplishment? It’s your body releasing dopamine, a chemical released by your brain that produces a sense of pleasure, which in turn motivates you even more.
- Not trying is failing.
Let me say it a little louder for the people in the back
NOT TRYING IS FAILING
If you think by not trying you are in turn avoiding the chance of failure you are wrong. You are failing yourself. You are letting that fear run your life, and the worst part is you are failing and not gaining from it. At the very least failure is a necessary tool to succeed, but if you refuse to try, you are robbing yourself of the opportunity to be someone you are proud of. You are stealing your dreams from yourself. You are sabotaging your life goals and accepting defeat by forfeiting. You are accepting that you are not good enough, and that you are not worth the attempt.
Failing is a common part of life. It is something that we look at negatively, when in reality it is the biggest asset to success that we have. Robert Kiyosaki, an amazing author and real-estate multi-millionaire, said it best, “Successful people don’t fear failure but understand that it’s necessary to learn and grow from.” We should all start to accept that failure and success go hand in hand. We need to learn to welcome failure, not shy away from it.