For years I’ve asked, “What is my purpose? What is the grand plan? What am I supposed to be doing with my life?” and now that I’m hearing answers, I want to take the back the questions. I am not ready to put in the work. Well, not ‘not ready’, just unwilling. It feels like a lot of work. It feels like a lot of ‘putting myself out there’. It feels like… excuses.
When I was in high school, I knew I was good at English. I knew I could easily be an A student instead of a strong B student. I just didn’t know what I was missing. After almost two years of missing the point, I finally sought help. I asked my teacher to point out all my flaws (and oh how many they were!). Apparently, I had talent, I just needed to hone the skill.
Instead of being salty about his remarks, I asked if he would allow me to write extra essays and have him grade them. He obliged. Every week, I submitted an essay, and every week, it was filled with corrections and comments. I was frustrated. Then one day, while teaching, he quoted me. Like, word for word. He didn’t even know it was me till a friend who had read the essay he referred to corrected him and said it wasn’t an Arts student, it was me. Me! I could not believe it. It took a lot of effort to keep a nonchalant expression. In that moment, I knew what success was, and it felt good!
If I had not put in as much work as I had into writing, I might have never taken it seriously. Truth is, a lot of times, I do not take it seriously. I’ve never really felt good enough. Once in a while, I write pretty good stuff that I feel proud of, but for the most part, I feel… average. How do you keep going when you don’t even feel special?
Last week, I attended the REFLECT conference at Elevation church (online), hosted by [Pastor] Holly Furtick. I’m not going to lie, I felt uncomfortable the entire time! It wasn’t one of those ‘feel good’ sermons that make you content with whatever lifestyle you’ve ascribed to. Nope. She said, “Your purpose is whatever you’re doing right now” and I felt that!
I didn’t want to feel that! I wanted an excuse to be subpar at everything I do because I am waiting for the sign, the big plan… my purpose. I wanted to be okay with being a little lazy at life because “I don’t want to waste my energy doing anything I should not be doing in the first place.” I have grown so comfortable in the idea of Ignorance is Bliss that I hated the fact that I couldn’t be ignorant anymore. I hated it.
Now, I don’t have an excuse anymore. I cannot unhear what I heard. I can’t keep pretending I don’t know any better. Even if I tried to, now you know too. There’s a witness. I can’t quite afford to slip up now. Sigh.
So… Any advice for a budding writer who wants to take her work seriously?
Nana Agyeiwaa Nyameba
P. S. Refiner by Maverick City Music. Powerful song. Yes?
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