Eighth-grade graduation was the highlight of my elementary school career. On the verge of young adulthood, getting ready to enter high school, I received my first prestigious award, perseverance. I wasn't sure exactly what perseverance meant at thirteen until the bumps in life taught me how to cultivate it. Good old Webster's defines it as continuing in spite of difficulty.
My first major test in perseverance occurred at the age of twenty-five and being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I had to resign from my first teaching job. I wanted to hide under the covers and never leave my bed. The debilitating pain in the early days owned me. My pain managed my day and ruled my hours. Until I finally woke up and said no more. There is beauty in the pain of chronic illness. Pain teaches you never to give up, to persevere. Therein lies the beauty, the lesson.
I chose to commit myself to persevere. Enduring and fighting through the adversity made me who I am today. I researched, investigated and experimented with doctors, remedies and supplements. During the early nineties having a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, commonly referred to as a "woman's disease of anxiety and depression", left me confused and angry. I wasn't anxious. I wasn't depressed. Traditional medicine only offered an antidepressant and more symptoms. Lacking quality care forced me to persevere until I found a doctor who could help. Three years later I found a naturopathic physician in Connecticut who saved my life. I returned to the classroom, furthered my education and raised a family. My life experiences honed my perseverance, and I chose to commit to the lessons each experience offered.
Writing in this later stage of my life further sharpens my perseverance. Because I choose to persevere and learn from my mistakes, each book I write allows me to grow as a writer. Each day I sit in front of my computer and a storyline makes me scream or dialogue dries up like a desert, I persevere. Every time I attempt to write and characters seem thin or plotlines daunting, I persevere.
My difficulties in writing remind me of the stubborn doctors I visited. Doctors that made me work harder to find the right one. The same way I work harder through difficult stretches in writing to dig for the most creative situations or illustrious words.
Self-doubt as a writer also triggers my need to hide under the bed covers again. I have two choices. I can embrace it and stay there, or I can power through the cruel sister of confidence. I choose to believe in myself and defeat the ugly beast of insecurity by sitting in my girl cave pounding on my keyboard the stories that hijack my brain. I choose to persevere in my hope that one day more people will find them as interesting as I do.
Your difficulties are your triumphs if you accept the challenge of pushing through the mud. I hope you join me to commit to keep on keeping on in whatever you do in life. We can share our perseverance journeys! I'd love to hear yours!