Dear Friend M,
You must have been shocked when I cried: “No, we’re different. I’m sure of it.”
But when you said: “We’re the same, I also wanted to be a writer, but I gave it up in high school,” instinct took over me and I wholeheartedly expressed what I believed to be the truth.
I believe we’re different. I’m not saying I’m better, because I have no idea what your writing was like. I’m not saying I’m special, because if I was, I’d be a writer instead of languishing in dreams of being one. My protest wasn’t sparked by a false sense of superiority or an inflated confidence.
You see, giving up isn’t an option for me. “To give up” implies the existence of choice. I don’t have a choice, not right now. I wish I could give it up. Being a tormented aspiring writer is far from romantic. It’s terrifying.
I try to stop writing. But then my eyes glaze over as I go about my day and my mind instantly spins tales. In the people that I encounter, I start to see bits and pieces of the characters that demand to be written to life. I hear their voices, the very things they want to say. I see words and phrases floating inside my eyelids as I try to sleep. And even if I do manage to sleep, I dream of the stories that are yet to be written. If you were able to give it up, it couldn’t have been the same for you. If I don’t write, I feel like my head will burst. So I write, even at the expense of sleep, exercise, learning, and recreational activities.
I dream to succeed as a writer because I would be writing, regardless what happens in the course of my life. I would be living as a normal professional and after work I would be living as an aspiring writer. If I can make a living as a writer, then I wouldn’t have to live exerting twice as much effort.
As a little child, I wrote stories on letter-sized paper, folded in half and covered with construction paper to make booklets. In grade school, I delighted in the long writing assignments that my classmates detested. In high school, I carried a notebook with me at all times, jotting the overflowing ideas that refused to leave me. All the time, my mother looked at me lovingly, proud that I dreamed so intensely, but worried about how I could live my life with that dream. I never told her this, but I looked up my two first names once; it turned out that together, they could mean ‘tortured poet.’ Maybe it’s true that people can grow into their names. What a curse my name turned out to be.
I’m not capable of having a different dream. But you’re different. You have a different dream now.
Good for you. It’s torture to want to be a writer if you don’t have the right connections, the lucky opportunities, enough talent, and writing charisma. I don’t have any of those. There’s no one I know who can help me get published, there are no lucky breaks in sight, I’m average as far my writing workshops go, and even now, I slave over my stories only to have them go unread, unnoticed.
I despair because of my dream. I wished with all my heart that God will take it away from me since I don’t have the opportunity to reach it anyway. So much so, that one time I wrote a letter to God.
Please take this dream away from me,
I used to pity people who didn’t have many dreams, or worse, don’t have that One Big Dream. It just seemed to me that their lives would never reach their full potential. What a waste, I thought.
Now I envy them. I wish I can just be happy to live a decent life, with no great ambitions, just to advance in a corporate job, and gain some level of material wealth. That I don’t sacrifice my time and precious sleep to work on stories without actually getting closer to being recognized. Is this worth it?
It’s romantic to say that it is. However, you can only really say that when you actually succeed.
At this point in time, with dark and wrinkly undereye circles and constantly wanting to just lie down to sleep because I never get enough rest… no, it’s certainly not worth it. I am producing nothing worthwhile. Not only am I not getting any closer to reaching my dream, I’m not improving at all, and unfortunately, no one is helping me improve. Thank you world, for making me feel that I am too trivial.
So yes, dear God. Just take this dream away from me. Let me live a slightly empty life without knowing its full meaning, and yet not know about it. Ignorance truly is bliss. What I don’t know won’t hurt me.
Don’t let me be aware that there’s something more to life.
I don’t want to dream anymore.
But for now, I still can’t help it. I imagine, I write, I don’t sleep, I suffer. Because I dream.
“To make your dreams a reality, you must first wake up.”
Well. I just want to sleep.
Needless to say, that prayer went unanswered.
Today I cried. It was too painful, suffering because of my dream and then thinking that I could lose friends because of my poor judgment, that the fatigue and sadness clouding my mind makes me say things carelessly.
I didn’t mean to offend you. I was simply expressing the truth in my own way. I’m terrible at talking to people and I lead people into misunderstandings. I’m sorry.
And I’m sure, we’re different.