"All you who are dreamers too, help me make our world anew" - Langston Hughes
I’m a couple years out of college now. A couple years worn and withered, a couple jobs in. A lot of failures. A firing. A book. I come back to my UnMute writing class hungry to put the change into my life that I need to see, as the world has started to tell me that I’m not special or worthy enough. I’m too female, too inexperienced, too late. I’ve missed the boats. So many boats. I’ve made bad decisions. I’ve admitted I’m not perfect, and yet for most of the day still, I find myself in a drunken stupor, sitting over my phone watching YouTube.
This is a story I have been telling myself for a while. And it starts to hurt when you realize that all your energy is going into the wrong places, and you forgot that your life was going to be more meaningful, in the service of others, than in some egotistical pursuit of your own paycheck. But you weren’t going to make as much money as you hoped. Things were not going to be handed to you. Things were not going to be easy. And you start to forget that you are unique. You have not been listening to yourself or your own talents. You have lost a sense of impacting others and being a leader. Your dreams are running away from you. And you are alone in your apartment once more.
But then again, things are different than how you expected them to be. You wrote your book. You wrote your fucking book. Multiple times. You have written the best possible book that you could. And that book alone is the orb. It is the reminder, the physical reminder and fuck you to the corporate universe, that you got through it all and you still came out creative and loving and seeing and feeling on the other side. That is what your book means to you now. You started it when you were young, only 13 years old, seeking fame and fortune and approval from the adults in your life. And yet, here you are, 14 years later, more than half of your life working on this project that meant so much to you. And yet you denied yourself the beauty of writing it for six years because that was what you thought the universe and the school system and the tech industry needed you to be.
I am at a point of transition now. Of taking my dreams seriously. I have done that in a way. I have compromised myself and my time and my lifestyle in the pursuit of my book alone. A beautiful, bloody, long and laboring birth. But it exists now. My book is alive. My book is real and it makes me want to cry just thinking about it.
I almost didn’t make it. I almost put off my dreams of finishing my novel until I retired. Planned to publish it posthumously, which is ridiculous now that I think about it because that draft needed so much work. I have worked so much on my beautiful book this year. I have prioritized what was giving me life. But as I look up from my page, now that I have finished my round of edits, I don’t want the life that I have around me anymore. The book has come at a cost. I need to move. I need to make change. But I do so with my book in my hand, saved on my Dropbox, ready to be sent to more beta readers and agents.
I have cried a tear. My heart is bloodied but unbowed. I dream of living a life where I am not fighting myself constantly. I dream of life where my energies and my spirit are aligned with my needs and my environment. Where it's less of a struggle, and more a river gaining momentum, tumbling down to the sea.