Christopher Pike wrote a book called "Remember Me 2", where the ghost of a murdered girl was given a second chance at Life. Instead of being reincarnated, the ghost-girl was given the body of a Latina girl who had truly given up on life and subconsciously appealed to the universe for a way out. The universe answered the living girl by plucking her soul out of her body and interring the ghost girl's soul therein. While the Latina girl had felt that her life had no meaning and no purpose, the ghost girl took ahold of her second chance and, despite her limited options as an inner-city, high school drop out, she grabbed ahold of every opportunity and became a successful writer, whose stories touched the millions who read them.
There are so many inspiring tales of people making the most of their lives - people who survive, who succeed, who make it happen, even when the odds against them seem insurmountable. These people are like the ghost girl who are determined to make it happen, while, far too often, so many of us are like the Latina girl, ready to give up. Sometimes I feel like that Latina girl. I don't know where my life is going; I don't know where I am headed. Sure, I have many more opportunities than that Latina girl in Pike's novel, but, at the same time, I don't make the most of what I have and what I can do with what I have. A more ambitious person would channel their focus and drive, and sit down and write and write and write some more, honing their writing skills - making it happen. Me? I let the rejection of "Avi, Resurrected" affect me so much that I stay my hand at writing. I'm not the world's best writer - I'm not even in the top million - but I do love to write, so why don't I? I think there's a huge part of me that's afraid. Not afraid of rejection, not afraid of not succeeding, not afraid of not trying. There's the complacent demon in me that's afraid to change. I'm so comfortable - I haven't had any real upsets to mar my life. And that's what I'm afraid of: that I haven't paid my dues so I don't deserve success if it should happen.
In a way, I'm a pessimist and an externaliser. I sometimes think that destiny just doesn't have this, that or the other in store for me - so why try? Because if I try, I'm just going to get knocked down, since I haven't paid any dues to get where I want to go. Life is about struggle, about overcoming obstacles, about beating the odds. Other than overcoming whatever pains and heartaches I went through as a result of my parent's divorce as a child, and the random heartbreak of romance, I've had nothing to challenge me and make me work hard and earn my success. This is why I'm stuck where I am, or, at least, keeping myself here. I know the power is within me to simply turn over a new leaf anytime I want - but why do that when it's so easy to not do so? I can while my life away in the comfortable place that I am in life - knowing that everything would be ok, because there isn't anything to prod me into doing otherwise.
Sometimes I wonder about the great people of history. Would they have been great if their circumstances had not pushed them forward towards something greater? So many notable historical figures fought through so much to achieve what they wanted. When it comes too easily, it's never much of an accomplishment. My friend, Kirk, who, like me, had been thoroughly spoilt by his parents, was suddenly cut off by his parents in 2006 when he decided he wanted to go to China to learn Mandarin. A semester shy of graduating from university, Kirk was forced to find funds to pay off his tuition, to eat, to live, to survive, and then found a way to China to make his dream come true. The struggle, the effort, the determination made his success all the more sweeter and more deserving.
When you have to fight for what you want - when you truly are forced to make it happen - the ability to succeed is such a reward. In Trinidadian culture, you are embraced and kept safe by your parents for years and years and years. You're not forced out into the world to make your way and to struggle and make ends meet. That's a good thing, in so many ways, but at the same time, it results in a sheltered, complacent adult, who isn't really an adult when you think about it.
Do I love to write? Yes. Do I want success? Yes. Success in terms of what? Publication, fulfilment, and the energy and push to write some more. Am I willing to work hard and suffer through to make my writing happen? Meh. Not so much.
I think that I need to have a moment in my life where things aren't easy. where I have to fend for myself and stand up and make it work. Where I can't run to daddy for help with everything. I'm not like the Latina girl in that I am not ready to give up life just yet, but I am like her in that I'm not taking advantage of my talents and my advantage of simply being alive.
Today I came across a most affirming article, "19 signs you're doing better than you think", and it got me thinking. It was certainly a most positive, change-your-perspective type article for anyone who's down, but the point of the article is not to pat yourself on the back and sat back smugly and complacently after you've read it. The point of it is to understand how good you've got it, take a breath and propel yourself further - to be aware of how much you have going for you and to, in the words of Tim Gunn, make it work.
I'm typing all of this a ferocious determination at present. I don't know what tomorrow may bring - I may revert to my regular complacency, or I may push myself into being different. I don't know. I just want to remind myself with these words here that, in all truth and honesty, although I'm thirty, I'm pretty much in the same place I was when I graduated high school. It's a sad truth, but it's the truth. Do I want to be forty and typing/thinking that as well? Well, if I don't, I've got to light the fire under my ass and get moving. A new future looms before me: I move to Israel in January. Sure, I've done it before, but when I did it in the past, I did it on daddy's dime. As scary and poor as the recent future will be, I know I'm going to have to make it on my own, to succeed at the little things (day to day living) and big things (becoming a real writer). Like Rachel Greene of "Friends", it's like I'm entering the first episode of my new life, and it's time to cut up those daddy-given credit cards. Sure, I'll probably be poor for a while, as I adjust to living on my own: rent, food, etc., but I can just imagine the feeling of accomplishment I'll have, when, at the end of the day, I know I'll have made it on my own. And, besides, being a pauper (albeit, one with a Macbook Pro and an MBA behind his name) is usually the right school for successful artists - that's the way artists pay their dues, gain their experience, and truly hone their skills. So time for me to pick up the scissors and cut up those credit cards, otherwise a ghost will probably take over my life and make more out of it than I am at present. It's probably better if I didn't let that happen.