I know there is always a first time for everything, I just wish someone would teach me how to overcome the nervousness that comes with it. I’m about to do the scariest thing I’ve done in my thirty-three years of existence on this planet. Bearing in mind that I once encountered a shark; flew a Piper Tomahawk (the longest thirty-eight seconds of my life); performed CPR on two occasions; had my tonsils removed without anesthesia when I was a kid; watched someone take his last breath; hitchhiked and was picked up by a weirdo, who was touching my legs in the car; and I look in the mirror every day. OK, I do love my face, I just tend to tell jokes no one else laughs at.
I don’t know what your take on this is, but I didn’t like it at all when upon graduating from university, I was forced to enter – as one of my teachers used to call it – life with a capital L. Being a grown-up sucks sometimes and nobody prepared me for that. I’ve spent my entire twenties looking for a purpose, a “career” that would keep me motivated and make me want to show up at work every day, or at least, one that wouldn’t make me want to bang my head against the wall and eat the plaster that is falling off it.
I sacrificed painful years trying to stick to the “norm” and follow a regular path, but I constantly failed. I could never stay longer than a few months in a job (the record being a hundred and ninety-eight days) because I always felt trapped and I suffered. I felt I was wasting my life and that thought made me frustrated and even anxious at times. My patience and the number of days I was able to push myself to stay in a workplace got shorter and shorter and when I quit a decently paid, said-to-be prestigious job in London after only six days because it drove me crazy, I knew it was time to pull my shit together and do something with my life.
I was always jealous of people that knew as a child what they were destined to do and were working towards their dreams their entire life. I wasn’t that lucky. Even though I used to spend all my pocket money on new, shiny pens (some of them were even scented) and notepads of different sizes and colors and would write down everything that came to my mind, I didn’t realize until my late twenties that writing it was that I wanted to do.
So when the enlightenment finally came, I started scribbling down my thoughts in a more structured way and labeled them as stories. I was making notes all the time, on everything I could get my hands on. My scratchpad I carried in my bag, my phone if I didn’t have a pen on me, my laptop if I got inspired while working on something else, napkins in cafe shops, the back of a piece of paper torn off a poster, my palm, my arm, the back of receipts, plastic bags, the blank spaces on the pages of magazines, and even the leaf of a tulip once. Stories were born after another, but I never showed them to anyone.
I was terrified. I am terrified. But I always remember Robert De Niro’s words from “A Bronx Tale:” “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.” This thought stuck with me ever since I saw that movie, and I might not have talent at all, but it would definitely be a waste not to try to figure out whether I did.
Also, I’ve recently had the privilege to meet Bill Bryson, who told me that the terrifying feeling would never go away, so “I’d better man up and start sharing my work.” (“Work.” That’s what he called my scribbles and if mental orgasm exists, I’m sure I had one.)
Stories are meant to be shared.
So, here we go. My hands are shaking, my lips are dry, and I see black spots in front of my eyes even after I squeezed them shut real hard three times. I might faint in a minute, but I wanted to let you know that, as of today, I stop being scared. And I’ll go all the way. From now on, I won’t only write for my own entertainment but also for YOUR pleasure (or suffer). And if I’m lucky, you might even like my stories.
Enjoy my thoughts and let me know yours.
Read another story here.