People come into our lives and leave a lasting impression, sometimes with nothing more than their words. When I was a little girl I had a few teachers who innately recognized my love for story telling. I don’t think anything I wrote was particularly noteworthy, but they nurtured that love nonetheless, perhaps seeing the passion it kindled in my soul- they taught me how to ignite it and set myself on fire. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer, there was never any question about it. As I grew up, this driving love I carried within me became something that I closely guarded.
Sometimes my writing feels like a secret, a deep chasm I hold within my heart that only those deemed truly trustworthy will ever bear witness to. Most people in my life don’t know much about my writing, in fact, there are only two that know of the existence of this blog. This is something that I have always regretted; I don’t know why I have never been able to yell it from the rooftops like other people that I know, instead I keep my words hidden away like sacred objects. Perhaps sometimes it just feels too personal for a girl who has mastered the art of masks and social cues. Or perhaps it’s because at the end of the day, I can’t help but wonder if I’m actually any good. I have a fear that the words of my soul don’t resonate as poignantly as I had hoped. At the end of the day, I am still that terrified little girl standing on the edge of the playground hoping she wont be rejected.
And yet, I can boldly write out my ramblings and post them for all the strangers of the world to see. It’s a funny little dichotomy I have here.You see, on this little patch of internet, I can be unapologetically myself. And yet, that doesn’t keep the question at bay: am I really any good at this? I think it’s only human nature to desire validation, and it seems that the older we get, the harder that can be to find. As adults, we generally aren’t in the habit of handing out gold stars to one another. And yet, there are those rare few who can change your whole worldview with just a few simple words.
Tonight, I want to take the time to thank someone who doesn’t realize what an impact they have had on me or my work. She is an unbelievably supportive woman who reminded me why I keep coming back and stringing these silly words together at a time when I was questioning my value as a writer. The funny thing is- I haven’t even actually met her. We know one another through a Facebook writing group that we created during Camp Nano this past year.
All it took were a few kind words to give me the validation that I needed to keep pushing through, to keep improving. Now, I know that I wont ever stop writing, I don’t think I’m capable of giving up such a large part of who I am. My writing is my identity, it is my soul in physical form. It is my patronus, of sorts; it is every good and every bad thing that has ever happened to me. Writing is in my blood, it’s in my soul. But I was beginning to question whether my words were good enough to be sharing with the world, or if I should hide them away. I am, and always will be, a writer. But I did not trust in my identity as a possible author. I wasn’t sure anymore if my prose measured up to be tossed out here for anyone to stumble upon, perhaps they were safer hidden in my notebooks. She gave me the confidence that I so desperately needed. And she still does.
It is crucially important that, when we see something that inspires us, that makes us think, that makes us smile- we should let that person know. It just might make all the difference in the world to them, it might give them the motivation that they need to continue on and chase those dreams; to keep writing, to continue tossing their words out into the void of the internet in hopes that they will make it to someone who will understand them on a deeply fundamental level. As creators, we need to remember the value of nurturing those embers of passion in another. Because silence can be as damning as any negativity. It is human nature to assume the worst, and without someone reminding you that your work is valuable, it is so easy to think that no one cares, that you are falling on deaf ears, entertaining an empty room. It’s easy to let those demons of self-doubt crowd into your mind and convince you that perhaps you really don’t have what it takes. So be someone’s beacon today, nurture the passion, feed that flame. After all, we are all in this together.
So Cindy, this one is for you- don’t ever stop being the bright shining star I look forward to talking to, even if it’s just on a Facebook message board. And thank you, for saying the words that I didn’t realize I was desperately in need of hearing. On those days when I feel like I don’t have it in me, your kind words help propel me forward. Thank you for making me feel a little bit less alone on this journey. It has made all the difference in the world. You are a truly inspiring person, and for that, I can’t thank you enough.