Yeah, I know – I’ve been gone a while here and a while there. Things have been busy. Well, it is not a bad thing for sure, but I have also missed being online at least for my own sanity. I have two kiddos that I homeschool that are high school age now and they have been keeping me busy. The younger two are a full-time job on a daily basis, so that is to be expected. So mama time – is just a fantasy that I hold in my heart right now, and sometimes there is a glimmer of hope in a few seconds here or there.
In one way, it is good for me having the two older kids in high school. They do most of their work on their own and in some cases, even help each other out when the other needs it. They do sometimes need help though and that’s alright by me – we often figure out things together. So lately I’ve been helping my daughter who is Dyslexic in her writing course. She does not need a lot of help, but she sincerely needs a reminder “you can do this” as often as possible. She is actually a really good writer, but she always second guesses herself. She wanted to stretch her skills and take a writing course and so far she had done very well – but it helps to have a “brainstorming session” with me to help her gather her ideas and when she writes, I try to help her to visualize herself in the story, either as a character or as a bystander so that she can use more important details in her writing. So far it has gone well, and the results have been fantastic – but wow, no rest for the weary!
In another way, there is a heck of a lot of preparation that goes into getting the older two ready for college. Not long ago, I was able to find a conference for one of them to attend in their choice of careers. It went over so well that I am trying to line up experiences for the other kiddos (even the younger ones) in the hope that something just makes things click for them. It is not always an easy task to find yourself or to figure out what path you want to take when the world just seems full of possibilities. So having these experiences, I hope, can help them start to figure things out.
Perhaps it helps to understand that as a kid, I was rarely encouraged. I’m not trying to make this a sob story, I am way beyond that now. I just like to think of it as a point of reference for me and a worthy education at times as well. I think of all the things that I missed out on. I cannot help but imagine what might have been if things were different, but I am also rather happy where I am now (hope that makes sense). I wrote even back then and actually participated in competitions (even moving as high as representing my state in a few competitions in high school). Sadly, I never knew much about the world outside of school and home. I never even knew to look up writing groups or find ways to attend conferences… nothing. Of course, back in those days things were different than they are now (as my son likes to say, were there dinosaurs when you were growing up?). Nowadays, everything is a click away. You just need to know what to search for.
So, I am taking advantage of that change in times in the hopes that I can provide something for my children that I feel I really missed out on. Mind you, despite the lack of encouragement – there never was a question that I wanted to be a writer someday and I really don’t mind if the only writing I am able to do is on my blog. It just took me like eons to figure out that you can be a writer all on your own without anyone giving you a certificate 🙂 and I’m really glad that I have this opportunity.
Ahhh, I do have to say I do like some of the changes that have come over us. Technology does have its benefits. Were it not for the internet, perhaps I would never have been brave enough to even call myself a writer. Fortunately, spending time with other writers and like-minded people has helped me see my own value as well. Instead, I have learned to feel more comfortable in my own skin as a writer and I have no doubt that I can write. Trust me though, when I say I am not overconfident to the point that my head will swell. But let’s look at it from the perspective that many of us are afraid to say those words. I used to be that way too. We somehow feel like we have to have our names in lights and our faces on the back inner spine of a book in order to have achieved something.
As I was saying… when I was growing up, I was never encouraged. My family did not even know I wrote (even though I banged on that typewriter all the time and spent time in competitions – but they were during school trips). They just didn’t take any interest. They still don’t know that I write now, but that is another story for another day. Anyway, the most important thing in my life somehow escaped their attention. When I was in high school and in college and said I wanted to get an English degree, I was told “writer’s never get jobs.” I was equally told it was a waste of time and that I would never amount to anything, so why bother? But I cannot help wondering, what would have happened had someone said “Try! I believe in you!” How many times have all of us needed that voice?
Now, there were certain teachers that did encourage me to the best of their ability, especially the one who encouraged me to take up the pen in the first place. The sad thing is though, that they can only do so much and most assume you live in an encouraging environment. So for me, I never found out about scholarships or attended writing groups or conferences. I just wrote and kept my voice to myself.
I am happy to say though that despite the lack of encouragement, I have never lost my love for writing and I doubt that I will ever tire from the desire to express myself even when I have limited time. There were times I had to spend working on things I did not love and there were times when I have had to put my writing aside – but I always come back to it. I need to – as sure as I live and breathe. It just somehow makes me whole.
So yeah, I take my job pretty seriously for encouraging and supporting the kids as much as I can. And yes, it is a busy undertaking, but I know how important it can be. Some of my kiddos are certain about what they want to do and others are just as equally uncertain. One is certain she wants to be a writer – but has trouble knowing what that means for her. Will there be opportunities? And for me, as a mother – I don’t want her to waste her time trying to find reasons she should not. I want her to find reasons she can and if there are no paths for her, then she can make one. So I feel it is my job to find ways to let them see what is out there and to see what they are capable of in the hopes that just like my teachers did for me… I can encourage their first spark toward something they love. I know they won’t ever forget it – just as I have never forgotten the same and what a precious gift to give.
So if you notice my absence sometimes, know that I am most likely okay. If I have not visited, know that I will try once an opportunity arises. I have missed you to pieces, dear blog family. I know people will say, don’t bother with the blog… but I do this for me – and as much as homeschooling keeps me busy, I need my time away… writing or taking photographs to feel sane and anchored to the ground. I have finally matured enough to not feel guilty for having needs too. This is where I wash away my fears, allow myself to drown in my tears, and pull the sunshine out of the sky when I need it most. It is the one place that I am free to hear my own thoughts and where I am closest to my dreams. As a writer, I could not ask for more.
Now there is one last thing I want to share with you. I know that I’m not special. What I mean by that is – I know that I am not alone in never hearing words of encouragement. It is a sad fact that I have known many and I am ever so grateful that they believed enough to share a part of their hearts so bravely. It is not easy growing you own courage! I just want you to know – I’ve got your back.
It’s like I tell the kids all the time, there are so many people who achieved greatness and perhaps many of them were never even celebrated – but they mattered. What they did mattered – even if they only touched the heart of one other person in some way. Of those who were later celebrated, in their day and time they were discouraged, told they were dumb, told they had no talent, told they would never amount to anything and all I can say is darn it, I’m glad they didn’t believe them! For some miraculous reason – they just held on to their dream. They were fortunate that in some way they were able to pull through the muck and mire, they were able to bring forth the courage no matter the naysayers. In some other cases, there was someone behind them – pulling them or pushing them forward with words of encouragement.
At the end of the day, you need to realize (as do I) that these same people probably had the same fears that we do. They probably struggled with wondering if they were good enough, talented enough, or worthy of dreams. They probably wondered if the naysayers were correct and maybe they should stop wasting their time. I mean, what is the point anyway, right?
The question I have to ask myself – and you have to ask yourself – is how will you ever know if you aren’t willing to try? And most importantly, we must learn from those who came before us. What would have happened had those people – those celebrated for their greatness – never had someone (perhaps even themselves) say that they could? The loss would truly have been ours and you cannot imagine where we would be without their influence.
So, even if it is a little voice in your head, listen to it. If you are fortunate to have someone else willing to believe in you, show them just how right they are. Cherish that they are willing to hold your hand. And if the only encouragement you have is this very blog post, then by all means take it! I give it willingly. I believe in you. I believe in you – and if you believe in yourself, you will be amazed to see what you can accomplish. Let no one steal away your opportunity to dream. For what would the world be without you?
© Sumyanna 2017