So I’m gonna tell you something. It’s not what I wanted to tell you or what I wish I was writing about.
But it’s real life. And before I say what I want, I’m gonna tell you a little more of my story.
When I was 19, I was at the local state college, walking the path I felt I should. Finish high school, go to college, work on a degree, then think about marriage and kids..
But it was my second year at school and I was miserable. I wasn’t an academic and I had no direction. One night, I was looking through a magazine my parents had given me and I saw an ad for an internship at a magazine called Urban Family in Jackson, Mississippi. It was everything I was looking for. It was a break from school, it was a different state, and it was another opportunity to learn about a culture different from mine. They were looking for interns and I was looking for a change. Perfect. I sent in the application and I was asked to come. Here we go.
When I got to the magazine and the community I would be living with, I got some unexpected and difficult news. The other interns that came would be writing for the magazine but my job would be answering the phone. I’d be getting the mail and making the coffee. And after that, well, whatever they asked me to do.
I was happy to be out of the college scene for a bit, but the internship felt like a big setback for my hopes and off the path I wanted to take. I loved living in the South and loved the people I met. But the message was clear. I didn’t have what it took to write for the magazine. I was secretary material. Case closed.
That was enough for me to abandon any thoughts I had for pursing communications, journalism or any other writing focused major. I looked elsewhere for ideas. I liked kids and decided to pursue teaching. And then, after several years, I finally finished up in a totally unrelated major, just desperate to wrap up my college degree. I was married by then and ready for babies. So, for the next 11 years I did just that. Had babies and took care of the house. It was what I wanted. I was happy.
As time went on, I began to write again. I loved to write. I felt so drawn to the written word and how it brought me to life. I was realizing that what I wrote not only brought me to life, it connected me to others. I got really honest with what I said and that brought relationships. I had my new community and the words began to flow.
Truly, I began to come alive again.
And last Christmas as I surfed the internet, wondering what was next for me, I found a graduate program that seemed perfect.
I mean PERFECT.
It would give me a MFA in Creative Writing with a focus on the type of writing I loved, creative non fiction. The faculty was familiar to me, full of many authors I loved. My contemplative world collided with my writing world and I felt like I was coming home. This was it.
Much to my surprise I felt pulled to do this for myself. School. I never thought I would go again. So I filled out the application and I did the extensive writing sample. I had friends edit it for me again and again. I found references to try and vouch for my work , then I sent it all in. It couldn’t have been more clear. I was going back to school.
Then I waited.
MONTHS went by.
And then I got the email.
So sorry. Not recommended for this program. Try again in a year. We just get so many applicants.
What I saw was this, We don’t want you. You are not teaching material.
I wasn’t enough. Again.
And I completely caved in on myself. How could this be?
I knew I wasn’t a smarty. I knew I wasn’t a natural at school. But this was right! It was using the skills I thought I had! It was so clear! This was my next step!
But it wasn’t.
And I’m not.
So I shut down the blog and I got really sad. Deep grief and then some more. I went on vacation and surrounded myself with people who loved me. I rode bikes, swam in lakes, drank wine, ate good food, played with my kids, drank some more wine, hiked sand dunes, hugged my niece, talked with my sister, fell back in love with Detroit. I just put all the pain on the back burner.
But real life had to happen again. I knew this grace period wouldn’t last. And, I kept getting really annoying texts from my husband. He wouldn’t stop and even when I ignored him, he wouldn’t leave me alone. I’d be asking him about one thing and he would just keep encouraging me. I didn’t want to think about it but he was persistent. The same thing over and over again.
I believe in you. I believe in you. I believe in you.
He just wouldn’t let up. Then he kept making me watch this commercial- stop making me cry, damn it!
So that’s where I’m at. I have people I love who believe in me. I don’t want sympathy and I don’t want advice. I just want you to know. It’s hard to write when you’ve been told you don’t have what it takes. But I do have something. I have my people. And for the few people that carried me through this (I couldn’t tell everyone, I just couldn’t) I say a big thanks.
When I look for God these days, God shows up as your face. Your words. Your love.
And for now, being believed in will have to be enough.