Recently in writing class, we were asked to state what we loved about writing and our goals. Immediately a classmate spoke up saying she wants to write books that convert to movies and to be a best-seller. I actually felt my body tighten as she talked, and my inner voice laughed and shouted to me “Get a load of this girl. I mean, be realistic.”
I don’t know when I lost my ability to dream.
“Be real. You could never do that.”
The voice isn’t mine. It’s a combination of every teacher that told my parent’s I wouldn’t go far or told me to lower my expectations. It’s my clinical instructor from my pediatrics affiliation who told me one week from the end “I can’t see you passing this clinical rotation.” It’s my ex-husband who hammered into me, that I’m not good at anything, or worth the time or effort.
My inner voice has been contaminated. My therapist tells me that this is bound to happen after sustaining years of emotional abuse.
The future belongs to those that believe in the beauty of their dreams.
What I need to do is turn off the gaslights, open the window to clear the smoke and smash all the mirrors. Turn down the volume on the negative voice and remember there have been cheerleaders too. My physical therapy professor, whom after a practical told me. “I’m really looking forward to following your career, you are going to do great things” My parent’s who say “you never cease to amaze me.” My best friend who says, “You scare me when you get your mind set on something, nothing can stop you.” Joker, who sticks with me even at my lowest and who never misses a moment to tell me that he thinks I’m worth it.
I believe in you. But you need to believe in you too.
I struggle with this, and because my inner voice has been poisoned I sometimes rely too heavily on the external voices to provide validation.
Such was the case this week. For our last writing class, the professor told us to bring a few pages in from our manuscript. I spent the last two weeks of class agonizing over this and putting together an idea I had for a YA (young adult) book. I have always been attracted to young adult writing because when I was in that age bracket, this was a genre that just didn’t really exist. We had one shelf in our library dedicated to these kinds of books and I thought, I really wanted to contribute to the next generation of readers.
As I was writing it though, I was really struggling. I brought in an extremely rough draft to the class. It pretty much bombed. My anxiety had told me that it would, so it seemed like all the validation I needed to confirm that I was not being realistic about the goal of being an author.
I haven’t written in four days, save one blog post this week. I’ve been soul searching, about what to do. I’ve considered giving up. I’ve considered joining the circus. I have considered running away.
I have not.
I may change my genre, and I may shift my goals. But I won’t allow myself to quit.
And who knows, maybe I’ll score a movie deal some day.