Writing Journey

To Everyone Who Has Ever Doubted

The world is full of voices but none as loud as the villainous whisper in your head—relishing in your insecurities, jabbing at your failures, and empowering the cynic within in the absence of self-confidence. Your inability to perform, though only in theory, feels like your destiny—a fated inescapable moment where your future is but a disappointment. So why bother trying? Why subject yourself to false hope? You can’t escape the antagonistic voice, surfacing at every one of your attempts to prove yourself worthy—punishing you for wanting to believe.

But there, in the destitute of faith, you see a light—faint as a lonely star on a cloudy night. Its glimmer far from your reach. Its glow barely grazing your wet cheeks. You can’t feel its warmth but you can see it. It is the hope in the enveloping darkness—the dawn of a new beginning. And so you choose, hushing the rustle of skepticism, to give credence to a possibility—that perhaps you are capable. Perhaps, you will one day succeed. Perhaps, you are not a lost cause after all.

At that resolve—giving yourself one more chance—an ally rises from your misery. It wields the stubborn boldness of a hero. Unlike the challenger of your potential, its voice bestows a profound courage. It names itself the champion against the beast that means to destroy you. And in the presence of a formidable adversary, it bears only a fearless demeanour—a commanding and unwavering disposition. You didn’t know—when you choose the light, you awaken the warrior inside.

As defenders of our dreams, desires, and self-worth, we will always be at war. There will always be a voice, echoing our doubts, blunders, and shortcomings—feeding on our vulnerabilities. But that doesn’t mean the battle is lost. We all have a warrior within us—a spirited fighter who, in the midst of uncertainties and difficulties, will push forward until the very end.

If you have ever doubted, you are not alone. None of us are free from the discouraging questions that linger in our heads. But know that you are more than those pessimistic whispers. You have the strength of a soldier, the perseverance of a victor, and the heart of a believer. The fight will not be easy—you will take painful blows and tend to deep wounds—but you cannot be defeated. The moment you choose to hope—a source no darkness can overcome—you’ve already won.

Writing Journey

How To Balance Passion & Work

One of the biggest, and probably most difficult, decision we have to make in life is the choice between surviving and pursuing our passion. Which is more important—doing the things that we love at a cost or work to pay the bills and perhaps live a more comfortable life? It always seems to be one or the other. And, we often believe that those who get to do what they love and make a living from it are the blessed minority. But here’s what I’ve come to realised… there’s actually a way to do both. It won’t require much except for a little courage and a change in mindset.

Let’s start with our mindset. As passionate individuals, we often want to live our passion—solely our passion—nothing more, nothing less. We have the biggest dreams and the wildest goals. We aim for the stars. And, there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s something we should keep doing. Heck I do it all the time and perhaps too often. But, if all we strive for is what we idealise—refusing to try anything new—our dreams will remain as dreams.

Speaking from personal experience, I’ve spent way too many years focused on the dream of becoming a full-time author. It has been all I’ve ever wanted that it tunneled my vision—building walls around my other abilities. Because that dream was my sole focus, I shied away from trying new things, exploring new industries, and stepping outside of my comfort zone in fear of ‘jeopardizing’ my dream. But, after a few uncomfortable experiences, I started to see what the world had to offer. I found opportunities that could actually help me achieve my dreams. Yes, they may not be about writing or directly related to my passion, but they can and will bring me one step closer toward being a better writer as a whole. I still want to be a full-time author, but I’ve chosen not to box myself. I’ve made a decision—a change in mindset—to try, fail, and seize everything the world throws my way.

Now, of course, if you’re an introvert like me who has been boxed for far too long, doing something new is daunting. Choosing to embrace new environments is scary. What if you say the wrong words? What if you fail to meet expectations? As many opportunities as there are to advance yourself, there are equal or greater opportunities to fail. So, we make excuses. Despite knowing what a great stepping stone it may be, we give ourselves a reason not to do it. What a waste, isn’t it? Here’s the thing, we actually don’t need a lot of courage to break those walls. Sometimes, all we need to do… is close our eyes and say ‘yes’.

I’m a socially awkward individual who has trouble connecting and meeting new people. But I’ve learned to say ‘yes’ to social events because I know it will do me good. I still hate it—I do not like mingling—but if it’s a good opportunity to advance myself, I say ‘yes’. I may regret my decision later on—diving blindly into an unknown environment—but I say ‘yes’ first and worry about the outcome later. After all, we cannot predict what will happen in life. But I believe that every open door presents an opportunity to go further and do greater things. And with all these doors, it only takes one step—a pinch of courage—to step through them.

If you’re in this stage of your life where you’re struggling to balance between your passion and work, perhaps it’s time to be bold and break the walls you’ve built around you. The odds of you achieving your dream is higher when you do more. Confining yourself at the notion of protecting your dreams doesn’t preserve your passion. Instead, it’s hiding your gifts and abilities from the world. So be brave fellow dreamer. Start learning new things and exploring new ideas. Start challenging yourself for the sake of your awesome dream.

Original Works

Meerkat | Star | Days

meerkatstardays

“Dear Morning Star, I am the Meerkat of the South Desert. Would you grant me one wish, as you’ve granted those who’ve laid their eyes on you? I do not want to ask for much, as I am but a lowly being, but this is one request I must make. For just three days, let me be-”

There is power in prayer.

Disturbed by my cousin’s restless sleep, I was awakened an hour short of dawn. As I tried to find a comfortable spot away from him, to catch a few more minutes of shut-eye, I caught a glimpse of a twinkling star. It was unlike any other. Streaks of pale orange had formed across the sky, washing away the common twinkles of the night. But the Morning Star, the one rumoured by many to be a God, pierced through the glow and radiated in its own sparkle. To even see it in one’s lifetime was considered a miracle. And I saw it.

Scurrying outside for a better look, I only took a couple of seconds to admire its beauty. Then shutting my eyes, I said my prayer. It was an odd prayer, I know. I could only hope the Morning Star would hear my plea and grant me my wish. When I finally opened my eyes, after an extra minute of self-doubt, the Morning Star was gone. But despite it leaving, without even twinkling goodbye, I had hope. That very same night, I took my place beside my cousin, ready for an adventure.

Morning came quickly in a dreamless sleep. When I awoke, a smile crept up my face. My prayer was answered. My wish had come true. I had three days to live as a lion – the almighty king of the South Desert. My claws were sharp and ready for a hunt, my nose picked up the scent of breakfast, and my mane blown by the wind was the most amazing feeling I’ve ever had. I had no regrets. I was going to enjoy three days basking in a lion’s fearless glory. But then, my worst nightmare took form.

“What are you doing?” she asked. I don’t know how I understood her – her roar. I just did. “You have a fight today. Get up and eat your share of the catch.”

Afraid to say the wrong words, I followed after her to the antelope lying motionless on the warm sand. None of the lions in our pride had taken a bite, not even the alpha; whichever the alpha is.

“Eat and make us proud,” she said.

I hesitated. I’d never tasted raw flesh before, and the idea of consuming it made my stomach turn. Still, all eyes were on me. Gathering the courage of what a lion should have, I took my first and last bite, before retreating.

“Eat more,” she ordered, so firmly I would’ve ran for my life in my true identity.

“I’m done,” I said – a thought manifested as a growl.

“Then you must go,” she replied.

Go where, I didn’t know. I’ve learned about lions, so I could only guess what that day was. And even if my guess was correct, where was the other pride resting? How strong was its alpha? Could I beat him? I may look like a lion, but I was not a real lion. Barely an hour after thanking the Morning Star for granting my wish, I was already praying to go back to yesterday.

“I can’t go.” My thoughts became my words.

The lioness tilted her head and narrowed her gaze. She looked confused, as though I’d spoken in a foreign tongue. Did I?

“Are you afraid?” she asked.

“Yes.”

Immediately, she snapped her jaws and my paws instinctively shuffled backward.

“What nonsense is this? Go!” she roared. “I didn’t raise you to be a coward. Go!”

A coward. Being a lion didn’t make me less of a coward, it seems.

“I can’t.”

“Then that is your problem.”

The lioness turned away and gathered her curious cubs. When she did, the pride followed suit. They feasted on the antelope, ignoring me as I watched them. Once they were done, they left.

I was too much of a coward to follow after them. I was afraid the males would attack me if I did. So I planted myself until night arrived. My hope was to wait for the Morning Star to petition my return. That was all I could do as a coward. One that is also quick to give up. When the Morning Star finally made its first twinkle, it graciously answered my prayer.

Today, I’m a meerkat – the small, beady-eyed, creature that sleeps in a hole. I am me again. Happily me. I know there’s something to learn from my day as a lion. But unfortunately, my mind cannot accept the revelation of my journey. I always thought the bigger you are, the more courage you had. Am I wrong? The thought of it otherwise baffles me. Maybe next time, when I happen to gaze upon the Morning Star again, I will say a better prayer. I will ask to be a man. After all, they’re bigger, and without a doubt, braver.

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Meerkat, star, and days were words given by thinkingoverload. When I first started writing this piece, I had no idea what the ending would be. And usually, that’s not something I practice. I like to know where the story would go before hitting the keyboard. Strangely, I surprised myself today… because hey, it didn’t turn out so bad. That’s what impromptu writing can do.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words and write a piece of your own. Just go ahead and write away. Don’t think or be afraid to sway. Because who knows… you’ll create a good story today.

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3 Words, 1 Story © 2016 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)