Writing has been my passion since childhood.
As a child, I penned poems. As a young teen, I’d write for hours, handwriting stories, poems and musings. Then, I’d hide the pages in a secret place.
When I was selected to be Copy Editor of the yearbook for my senior year, I was elated…until I realized that writing for the yearbook meant people would actually read what I wrote. Silly, I know. It’s not like writing a block of copy about high school events and activities was sharing my heart’s inner-most longings. But I was aware that my words would be forever documented between the yearbook covers and I took that responsibility very seriously. My close friends and yearbook advisor encouraged me and I rose to the challenge. Even after all these years, my stomach flutters when I pull out my yearbook. I vividly remember my excitement the first time I saw my words in print.
After high school, as life happened – the transition into adulthood – I continued to fill blank paper with prose. Only a select few writings survived; I threw most of them away shortly after they were written. After all, why would anyone care to read what I had written?
I was in my early 20s when I met her. She was hired as the receptionist for the high profile tobacco lobby where I worked. She was attractive, smart, and very chic. Close in age, we soon discovered, while polar opposites in lifestyle and attitude, we shared the love of writing. Soon, we were eating lunch together. I assumed since she was an English major, she was qualified to give me an honest evaluation of my writing skills. I finally worked up the courage to share one of my writings. She was brutally honest and confirmed my worst fear: she told me no one would ever be interested in reading such trivial ramblings. Crushed, I ripped my writing to pieces; I didn’t want to ever see the reminder of my failure again. A short time later, she and a married coworker were both fired for a scandalous affair. I wasn’t sad to see her leave.
Over the years, I continued to write, for my eyes-only, because it brought me great joy. However, nine years ago this week, I took a huge step of faith and submitted my first online devotional. It was the first step of pursuing a life-long dream to be a writer. My writing journey has been slow and long, but I am steadily moving forward.
Recently, I pulled out my folder of old writings. I picked up a page and scanned the first few sentences. I cringed. It was one of my trivial ramblings, written shortly after the brutal critique.
I had an immediate ah-ha moment. While the woman had been long gone from my life, her words had subconsciously taunted me for decades. I had given her undeserved authority. I realized in order for her candle to shine brighter, she had needed to blow mine out.
Oddly enough, I find myself wondering what happened to her. Since I don’t remember her last name, there is no way I can do some sleuthing.
So, wherever you are, Victoria, I hope you achieved your dream to write. I hope you found success, happiness and true love. And, I also hope that you’ve had countless people cross your path who have encouraged, supported and mentored you in your writing endeavors, even if your words were trivial ramblings.
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, But perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
- Proverbs 15:4