The Day My Dream Died in a School Parking Lot
“Why would you even want to be a writer?” he said. “What a stupid dream.”
My other friend looked at me, the one who had told him I wanted to be a writer, as I crossed my arms and stared at the ground in disbelief.
“Who would even want to do that?” he continued, questioning the growing silence around him. “Why would you want to do that, Blake? What the hell is the point?”
I can’t believe he just said that, I thought. I can’t believe he just shit on my dream like that. But I didn’t speak up then because I was afraid of what he might say.
“Come on,” he said as the bell rung. “It’s time to go back to class now.”
“Okay,’ I said, as I followed my best friend back into school. But in my mind, I only wished for this nightmare to end.
The Power of One Voice
We don’t tend to realize how powerful our words are from the intentions we carry behind them. But they are more powerful than we could ever imagine.
Maybe my friend just didn’t understand. Maybe it was because his dad thought he was stupid for flunking in his math classes. Maybe it’s because he’d felt forced into a dream he didn’t like and in turn, his dad had killed a dream of his own. I don’t know. I never asked because I was afraid of what his answer might be.
I should’ve spoken up. I should’ve said something. I should’ve stood up for my dream and stood up for what’s right. But I didn’t. I only stood in silence, waiting for someone else to defend a dream that was supposed to be mine.
The thing is, all through my life I’ve struggled to speak up and let my voice be free.
Even if I knew something was the right thing to do, I quailed in fear at what others would think of me. About what others would say of me. The prospect of someone talking down like that to me again just felt so real. And it scared me to my core.
I was silent because I was protective of my dreams. But by keeping them only to myself from that moment onwards, I was doing more harm to myself than good. And I was suffocating my creativity to the bone.
My Story Soon Became Something More
It became toxic.
I began to see my weaknesses and my doubts and what I lacked all around me.
Even when I got a good grade in English class on one of my papers, I shrugged it off as the teacher being nice. Everyone seemed to get a good grade in that class, so why should I be so special to deserve more? What made me so great?
Even when my teachers encouraged me to do more creative writing and write more, I didn’t listen. Outside of school, I did little to no reading and little to no writing at all. I restricted my creativity to the confines of the walls of the classrooms and it hindered and limited my mind from growing into the wellspring of knowledge I know I could’ve gained.
Even then, I could’ve been great, but I was too scared of what might happen if I ever did.
Because I didn’t want to seem dumb, I became scared of moving at all. I became scared of revealing myself to others and letting them see my scars, so I stopped showing my work to others until I kept it to myself and showed it to no one at all.
Because I didn’t open up, I wasn’t free; and by keeping all of my vision to myself, I truly hindered my creativity and potential from growing.
Worse, I kept it from thriving. All because of 6 simple words:
What. The. Hell. Is. The. Point.
While the stories we tell ourselves seem convincing, they’re only stories. They are ways we rationalize ourselves and our places in the world, ways we keep ourselves stuck in a box. They’re the ways we view ourselves, and they’re destructive because they might be more limited than we realize.
What’s Your Story? What’s Holding You Back From Changing It?
Choosing to challenge my story was the best thing I ever did. Taking action on my writing dreams changed my life. It made me a better person as it unlocked so many aspects of myself that I could never see if I continued to hide it from the rest of the world.
By choosing to own my power, I began to set myself free. By choosing to accept my gifts, I became great.
Now I can choose to be a writer every day. That power is well within my choice. And it is fully mine, no matter what others will say.
What’s your power? What’s your strength?
Have you been holding it back from the world because you’re afraid of what others may say?
Know that regaining your power starts within. It starts by tapping into your gifts and unlocking your talents for others to see too. It starts with practicing in public and relishing your voice so others can speak up too.
Because you serve no one by playing small and labelling yourself in a box that others have chosen for you. Accepting that does nobody any favours — especially not yourself.
Yet choosing to move out of the confines of that box will do you much more good than you realize. And by choosing to adopt the truth of your life, you will set yourself free.
Just be careful what you say. Because your words have more impact than you think.
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Blake is an author, writing coach, and coffee lover based in Vancouver, Canada. He helps writers step into their potential and create great art. If you’re struggling to find your voice, you can download a FREE copy of “The Bulletproof Writer’s Handbook” to conquer the blank page today.