Failure of Courage-

For the second time I’m watching Super Soul Sunday with author Sue Monk Kidd. This woman is speaking to my soul about being a writer. But she’s said something that I completely disagree with; “Becoming a nurse, for me was a failure of courage.” I will agree that for her this may have seemed like a detour on her path to becoming a writer. That she chose a safe, traditional path because becoming a writer seemed scary or impractical to her, but I don’t see that as a failure at all.

I am a writer. It is my calling to write stories about survivors.

In my own life I’ve chosen many different paths away from becoming a writer in the traditional sense. I didn’t go to college to become a writer, until recently. I didn’t choose jobs that allowed me to primarily write, until recently. I didn’t choose to be of service as a writer in all my volunteer positions, until recently. Yet I have always been a writer. There was never a time in my life that I didn’t write-even if no one ever read it. What I believe about my path is that I never detoured from being a writer. I was born to be a writer. My path wasn’t a straight line from birth to writer, it was a winding path that lead me through so many different experiences, places and relationships toward finding my voice.

I am a writer. It is my calling to write stories about survivors.

I couldn’t write these stories if I hadn’t experienced all the places, relationships and what some may call failures. I had to become a survivor, I had to learn to survive, I had to be surrounded by survivors in order to be worthy of telling these stories. If I hadn’t been raped, I couldn’t write about rape survivors. If I hadn’t been in the military, I couldn’t write about military survivors. If I hadn’t been in abusive relationships, I couldn’t write about abuse survivors. If I hadn’t followed those “detours” toward becoming a writer, I wouldn’t have anything to write about.

I am a writer. It is my calling to write about survivors. Beyond just writing these stories I’m meant to share them with others. The times I’ve felt most connected to myself, to others, to the world around me is when I’m sharing the moments that connect us all. I remember studying acting in college. There were times when I was on stage and it wasn’t Amanda or who I knew to be me, but the character who was present. It wasn’t about setting myself aside in preference of being someone else, although that did happen, it was deeper. It was preparing myself through practice and hard work to connect the character’s story with the audience. It was as if I was connecting the energy of Amanda, with the playwright’s concept of the character, to the audience. It is an intimacy that can’t be easily described if you haven’t experienced it. It is as if at the core of each of us, there are emotions we all feel. We can label this as empathy- when you feel what I feel we have a moment of empathy. But there is something deeper than empathy that I believe writers, actors, artists, musicians, anyone who creates in that space connects with that can heal us all. The true power of survivors is in connecting that energy to others which causes healing.

I am a writer. It is my calling to write about survivors.

I am gripped with fear. I struggle daily with the thought that I am not worthy to tell these stories. Some of them aren’t my stories. Some of them are my stories and I’ve hurt others in the retelling of them. Survival is filled with fear, weakness, doubt, insecurity and anger. But survival is also hope, love, vulnerability, responsibility, laughter, and happiness. You can’t have one without experiencing the other. We all fear the negative emotions-I especially fear being stuck in the negative emotions. I’ve heard and said myself-I’m afraid if I let go of this pain, if I start crying about it, I’ll never stop. When the reality has been for me that until I let go of it, I don’t have room for anything better. I can’t go back and change my past…but I can reinterpret, I can forgive it by being someone with the courage to write it out. “The keys to your happiness are no longer in somebody else’s pocket from the past, they’re in your own.” Adayshanti

I am a writer. It is my calling to write about survivors.

That statement that I keep repeating is important. I can flower it up and say, I’m a writer, I’m called to give voice to the voiceless, power to the powerless, hope to the hopeless. But what I’m meant to do is very simple. I am meant to tell a story, that shows someone who may feel voiceless, powerless or hopeless that it is possible to survive. I may not change the world. I may not become a wealthy author like J.K. Rowling. I may not even get everything I write published. But I can’t stop writing. I can’t stop trying to connect those stories with the people who need to hear them. That is my calling- that is my purpose- that is who I am meant to be!

My courage has not failed, but my path has not been straight. I AM A WRITER. IT IS MY CALLING TO WRITE ABOUT SURVIVORS!

there-is-no-failure-ralph-smart

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