A Really Big Stick

“Don’t ever mistake my silence for ignorance, my calmness for acceptance, or my kindness for weakness.”  ~Anon

Life isn’t fair. You probably already know this. People will do and say things to you that you don’t deserve. At least once in your life, you will be misjudged and kept from the opportunity to defend yourself against harsh untruths. As writers, as human beings, we have no choice but to accept this. How you choose to do so will determine the outcome of any number of situations you’ll encounter in your life and it will say more than a little about your character. The question isn’t ‘What can I endure?’ because … we will always endure. So long as there is breath still in our lungs, we are enduring. The question, is ‘How can I endure better?’

Attitude is everything. This you know as well. But, how often do you really apply that knowledge to your daily life? To your writing? A great many failures were people who were mere moments away from success when they gave up. So what if you just got back your 47th rejection letter? What if the 48th reply contains the ‘yes’ you’ve been looking for all along? Knowing that in advance, would you get that far only to toss in the towel? Of course not. Problem is … we don’t know for sure, so we must assume, always, that success is achievable. We must always believe that if we are doing the right thing, the very best that we are capable of, that we will accomplish what we most desire.

Truth is … hardship never ends. It takes on different forms, but some years will simply be tougher than others. Shit happens, as the saying goes. Do you stop living? Do you sink into a depression? You could. I could have. But, you know what? I haven’t come this far just to quit now. Life is still unfair. It never stopped being what it is. As soon as I think I’ve gotten a reprieve, a moment to take a breath, I feel another blow. Know what else though? Blessings come in bizarre packages sometimes. And all we can do is our damnedest to seek out the positive in every situation, however unfair, however untrue to the goodness that we’ve sent out into the universe, however undeserving we are of the circumstances we’re currently in. Because the reality is, if we change how we see our circumstances, then the circumstances will change.

No, I didn’t start working for Hallmark. I’m just tasting the dust in my mouth from having fallen enough times to know how to get up again … to know that the ‘getting up’ will never really end. It may get easier at times. But it will never truly end, and the fire fueling greatness doesn’t come from waiting idly by while others blaze trails all around me. Know who you are … know where you stand … that way, when others question you, in whatever form they do so, the only response necessary will be to exist. Let your life, in and of itself, be the answer they’re looking for.

Live in such a way that even your silence leaves an echo.

Dare to be your best. Dare to do whatever you do, with skills you can’t even imagine having. Breathe like you know how to hold your breath forever. Walk like you’re an olympic runner. Speak as if your words will be the last they ever hear, and be kind accordingly. Listen as if what you’re hearing is the most important thing you’ll ever hear. Hug like it’s a final goodbye. Love others like they’ve never known love before. Forgive them as if it’s your last day on earth. Give without remembering and take without forgetting. Feel gratitude for even the slightest of things. Dream like the world is limitless.

Because it is …

Your dreams won’t come true overnight. They manifest through small changes that all add up to becoming greater than yourself. Dare to see the world as it really is … wide open. We too often place limitations on ourselves because if we allow the oh-so-small thought, ‘What if I could …’ to take hold, then we’re responsible for our own failures and successes, and it’s far easier to leave it up to fate, or the actions of others.

Oh … I believe in fate. I believe in karma. They’re in my employment, and I assure you they’ll have an end of the year bonus after all the overtime they’re putting in. But, for now, there are no limitations and I won’t, for another moment, sit back and wait on others to make this life any easier. It’s already in my ballpark. And if all else fails … you can always fall back on the West African proverb that Teddy Roosevelt loved to quote: “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”

Is this soft enough?

22 responses

  1. Your big talk and soft walk make my heart smile. It’s good to hear from you and time to quote you on my wall, if you don’t mind? That line about your employees: yeah, that’s good to remember. Thank you.

  2. Determination. It’s a very good way to describe what this post is about, and a very good way to describe me too. I know I have a tendency to have depressions and doubts and voice them all too loudly at times, but I am still here, and still with the same focus I’ve had all my life. So I would say that’s saying a very big something :)

    • It’s a very big something indeed!! I’ve battled depression for years Rachel, so I know that demon well. You’re never alone. We have our moments of coming out of it, but the struggle you deal with is more taxing than a lot of people give it credit for. I’m proud of you for having that focus and that determination. It WILL get you far!

  3. Shameless plug: My novel Icarus is FREE on Amazon right now. SO, if you have time, go download it and you never know, you might even like it. :)

  4. All I can say is you are an inspiration. Keep getting up, keep moving forward, and realize there are ways around EVERY roadblock in your path.

    I know that battle with depression, too. It’s tough, but you are (both) not alone. Writing is solitary, lonely and often a frightening thing to do as we battle through our doubts and fears. Sometimes it’s only our determiniation and belief in our own work that keeps us going.

    • I definitely agree with that. And I know the last part is very true. I also have started wondering if it’s that very feeling of inferiority in other aspects that keeps me focused on my writing, the very thing I’m supposed to do. Would I be so determined to make this work, as hard as it is, if I felt I had other things to rely on? That does make sense. I guess there’s a reason for everything.

      • I think there is something in what you say, here. I had to look around and find another thing I was good at, then another. You may never feel really secure in yourself, but gradually you will know that you are good at other things besides writing.

        Confidence comes from within us, realizing, and believing, we have as much right as others to walk the face of the earth and do what they do. Not easy, I completely get that, but I am determined to find the confidence stolen from me. I am determined not to cower from others but somehow stride through my life. Sometimes it takes others to help us. This is a good place to come for hand-holding, not just in writing, but in life.

        I’m here if you want to talk.

      • Thanks for the offer. I’ll keep it in mind. I’m doing fine today, and I know you might find it hard to believe but I am more confident about things than I used to be.

      • Rachel, I believe you, It takes confidence to believe in our own work when no one else does. Glad to hear you are doing well.

      • Well, I do have great support for my work. I always have, even after all this time. The trick is getting people to read it :p And also to get the right people interested enough to publish it. I have had a short story published recently, no money for it, but it still felt good anyway :)

      • Congratulations. I have just finished two LONG manuscripts in the last four months. I’m trying to complete a third shorter novella. It feels good to get things finished and then I can just edit and start the searching process.

      • I think I’m about a month off from finishing the initial writing of my current novel. I probably would have had it done except I did quite a bit of editing on the first half already (not that more isn’t needed, but it’s not in too bad of condition). And I know who I want to be published by, so I hope with all that’s happened I won’t really have to search beyond that! Also do you have a facebook account? I feel bad about using Breanne’s blog to have a conversation!

      • Rachel, I’ve been off here a bit; our e-mail system has been down all over the island. We are just now getting stuff from two weeks ago! I accepted your (and Breanne’s) friend request. Thanks for friending me.

  5. HAHA! Doing a happy dance. I love this post. It carries the full weight of that big stick yet its wrapped in velvet ribbon, as if it is awaiting the person who will receive its gift. I don’t know why this post makes me so happy except that, perhaps, I’m really glad to see you on your feet and back to your feisty, beautiful self!

    I also know that life isn’t fair. I tell people that. It’s just a fact of life…unfairness, I mean ;) and it’s best that we learn from our scrapes and the mouthfuls of dust rather than curl up in a ball and point fingers at the rest of the world.

    Now I’m going to go get Icarus (finally got the Kindle for my PC)! I’m so excited to see what changes you made to it after we discussed it. You’re an inspiration, Bre! (PS: are you still coming out West in June?)

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