I was 14 when he told me to give up.
A freshman in high school with dreams that stretched wider than the rubber bands hooked on to my braces. I tried out to be on my school’s newspaper staff and as my journalism teacher (and sole decider of who gets on to the staff) looked over my writing samples, he looked straight into my tea cup eyes and said, “You are not a good enough writer. Give up and join another club.”
And I am sure I did just that. For a couple days, at least, but I really don’t remember.
I remember being mostly confused. Me? Not a writer? Not good enough? I was just 14.
So I edited my writing and my attitude and a few months later, instead of joining the chess team or the bowling club, I rightfully earned a spot as a young staff writer with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel Next Generation program.
And I marched my size nine, stained converse up to my teacher’s desk, flipped open the page to my article that ran in a gigantic local newspaper and slapped it on his desk, the same exact way he tried to slap his wise words on to my rolls of hope.
That was the day I gave up on one thing, other peoples opinions. I became the girl who dressed, who danced, who spoke and who wrote however she wanted. Because what if people are wrong? We just believe them and they are flat out, dream crushing, wrong!
I learned to have the most faith in myself.
I tell this story to you, my readers and my friends, because when I started this blog a year ago today, I was struck with swarming butterflies of fear and what if’s. I spent months planning to create all different kinds of blogs but never narrowed It down to one with a purpose or a passion behind it. I was mostly scared of starting because I focused too much on failing, on what others would think of my writing, my stories, my uncovered and raw advice.
The day I started this blog, I wrote my first post after I had dinner with my now 93-year-old Great Aunt who made it clear to me, in the way Jewish aunts do, that life can be short if we don’t live up to our wildest dreams. And that was the kick in my apple bottom that I needed to give in and not ever, never, ever, give up.
We all have some kind of dream that turns into a nightmare that haunts us in the middle of the night, screams at us when we are sitting in an orderly fashion at the desk of our 9-5, creeps up on us as we are having a friendly chat with our pals. I’m not saying give up everything you have to follow your dreams, we all have bills to pay! But start somewhere. Start with something and build.
I am also saying that you need to throw out caring about what other people think. You can’t be successful with that hugging on to you and once you abandon that fear of failing in someone else’s mind, you can finally get to work.
Having a blog is kind of like having a baby. Okay, maybe it’s nothing like it, but it certainly keeps you up at night, throws up viruses and hackers on you when you least it expect it, pees on you with loving and bold comments from readers and falls asleep peacefully in your arms when you realize the naked truth you just put out there could potentially change someone’s life.
This year, this blog, has been my constant through all that has come and go, including new zip codes and new jobs. We all need a reason to wake up in the morning and even more, to be more daring in our everyday lives. This blog has been my reason, my challenge, my everything.
Thank you for reading, for sharing, for following. The adventure continues!