I have been thinking long and hard recently about my life, my career, and my passion and I have had to come to a hard decision. I have made a decision that I am no longer going to be affected by the support (or lack thereof) that I receive from friends and family for what I do. I am not going to let the fact that someone did not consider me for a job or took the time off to read my stories be a reason to be low and question my abilities or capabilities. I am going to use every interaction, whether positive or negative as fuel for my work. I am going to push harder and keep striving for what, I believe, is indeed my true calling.
No one said it will be easy (it hasn’t been); no one said I would get a leg up either. I am going to keep working at opening doors for myself and let it all happen as it should. I have been thinking of this lately because, as a writer and a freelancer, I have felt at odds with my environment. Trinidad and Tobago is not a place where either flourish without the ‘right connections’and I realise that I am yet to make many of those. I realise even more than the people who have the connections often write or freelance as a side thing/hobby, while I am over here striving to make it a career. It feels unfair. I won’t lie, it has affected me, but I have made a decision to no longer let it (and this environment) take me on a roller-coaster of emotions. I will not take it to heart.
When I made this decision, I came up with some tips that would help me along the way and I want to share those with you:
- Work quietly and carry a big stick. The stick is for the haters, the naysayers. Those who have yet to say a positive thing to you since you took your leap of faith for your passion. It does not matter what it is when you find your calling there will be many people front and centre who are willing to talk you out of it. They are scared, they are jealous, they are negative. Bash that negativity (or the person – just kidding) over the head with the stick and keep on working.
- Don’t let your personality work against you. As an introvert, it is hard to want to push forward into the spotlight. I have spent many days and weeks with a great story hidden away, an idea tucked in the recesses of my brain or in my well-worn journal. I was afraid to put it into the universe and get feedback. I preferred to become the cerebral person I tend to be and keep my gifts hidden. Don’t do that. The only way you will know is if you take a risk and let it all hang out. Try a trusted friend first, then work outward. If you don’t get the response you want (or any at all), don’t lose hope. Look at it as a positive step; at least you took the step to bare it all.
- Life is too short for this shit. Do you want to reach to 70 years old and look back on your life and ask yourself, ‘what if I had taken that leap of faith?‘ or ‘what if I had not let the lack of support make me let go of my dreams?‘ I don’t intend to do that. Even if I don’t become an award-winning writer, I would be supremely happy that I never gave up, and I kept on writing, even if only one person reads my books.
- Believe in yourself and your abilities. You can do it. If you spend the majority of your waking days thinking about this thing and you are at your happiest when you are engaging in it, this is your passion buddy. This may be your calling. It is natural to want the support and encouragement of friends and family, but you know what? You can still do it on your own. You will not believe how far believing in yourself takes you. If you need help, try a daily mantra. Just don’t give up.
- You are not everyone’s cup of tea (or coffee/whiskey etc). No matter what you do there will be someone who does not like it/you. I am well aware that my writing is not for everyone. But I am not going to let that stop me from writing. Don’t let it stop you from doing what you must do. You cannot please everyone. If you try to, then somewhere along the line you would have forgotten yourself and why you were doing this in the first place.
- Surround yourself with positive people. Yes, this helps. Yes, your family and some friends may be less than supportive or outwardly negative towards your endeavours, but I am sure you have that one person, who has always had your back. That person who, while they may not agree with everything you do, still supports you. Keep that person close because your soul will thank you.
So say your mantras, garner your positive support system, believe in yourself and let the naysayers Fly Under Chaotic Kites away. In an ideal world, all our passions would be supported 100% by all our friends and family members. This is not an ideal world, but you can find your true calling and follow your passion for success and happiness without everyone’s approval.