"Walk By Faith, Not By Sight" 2 Corinthians 5:7
Hey guys, I just entered this story/article thing into a contest that you can find here. The topic was what type of failure have you encountered in your writing life and how you overcame it. Thanks for reading!
Failure is such a powerful word. It holds so much power and can push us into submission, and more so, into a belief that this failure is what owns us, that is, the thing that we failed at. We often feel that our failure defines us, and that definition is a negative thing. Failure can produce anxiety for many, or more. Fear is the end all and be all for failure. It is what holds us back from taking the next step to keep on trying. For many writers, they can pinpoint a time when failure’s fingers took hold of their life. Perhaps it was a getting denied a publishing deal. Or maybe a proposal was turned down. It can simply be the infamous “writer’s block.” For me, however, failure has been my life when it comes to writing.
As a young child, I struggled in school with words. Letters were the big confusion. I would look at the page, and see something different from everyone else. As letters are the basis for words, it got worse. I would try to read a word, shaping my mouth to each letter, only to find that what I read wasn’t what was actually on the page. After many trials and errors in Kindergarten through about Second grade, my parents and teachers decided to get me tested. I had failed miserably at what was considered the learning standards for our state. After being tested, though, we found that it wasn’t entirely my fault; it wasn’t that I wasn’t just trying hard enough or even that I was stupid. I had a learning disability that affects people like Tom Cruise, who has to have his lines read to him, or at least so I am told. I have Dyslexia. Dyslexia is a learning disorder that is like a short connection in the brain where what is actually on the page gets jumbled around and flipped backwards and upside down before actually being processed correctly. So, whenever I would read as a child, I would see weird concoctions of words that were a confusing sentence, where words from the line above would merge with lines below to show this nonsensical hybrid.
It wasn’t just words, though, that were affected by the Dyslexia. I would get confused with math, and which side was left or right. It definitely showed in my grades. I would become so frustrated, thinking that I was dumb because, even though I did all my homework, I would get a “C.” Many nights, homework would end with Mom’s help, and plenty of tears.
I began working with an ESE specialist, who worked with Dyslexic students at my elementary school. I went from not being able to read at all prior to third grade, to finally learning how to enjoy the written language. I could write my letters correctly, without having a “d” look like a “b” or placing the tail of an “a” on the wrong side.
By fourth grade, I was placed into the gifted students’ learning program. And, by the time I hit sixth grade, I was taking advanced language classes. My love for language grew, leading me to conquer all spelling tests, and research papers. I faced my “failure” head on.
By the time high school came around and I had to begin thinking about my future, I finally considered college for the first time in my life. I never thought that I would pursue a higher education because of my learning disability. I applied to three different schools, and ended up at Florida State University, where I would enter as “Undecided.” Two weeks into an exercise science program, I felt called to become an English major. Never, in my wildest dreams, did I think that I would pursue Journalism as a career. I will never regret that decision either.
Throughout this whole process, I have learned so much about what failure really is. Failure isn’t something that holds us back, or determines who we are; it is what shows our true character. Do we grab failure by the horns, or do we let it confine our ability? Failure, to me, was my Dyslexia. It hindered me from learning the love of writing and reading at an early age, like so many others. But, it also showed me that nothing is impossible with determination, and will power. Failure was my life. It is my life. It has pushed me to overcome. It has taught me to never give up.