H. L.
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From Fear to Purpose

A Journey Through Life and Writing

I had always had a love of reading and writing. However, I was a creative person living in a logical world, and logic says “Art is a hobby, get a real job.” In response, I did just that. I loved my job in healthcare. But I was missing a sense of purpose.

I went through a frustrating and debilitating time of depression when I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 27. It rattled my dormant core.

I went through therapy to help with my diagnosis and depression, and I found so much more; I found myself. I found a little girl who had been stifled. I found a girl who desperately wanted to be freed and be able to express herself. It was very overwhelming, but with help, I found her and I brought her out.

I began writing for myself, as a way to give that little girl inside a voice of her own. And when I began, I couldn’t stop. I felt for the first time that I was on the right path. That I was doing something right, something that was me.

Transparency was still a terrifying aspect and allowing anyone into my new world was almost unthinkable.

Something drove me to seek out other authors for critiques; I wanted to see if anything I had written was of any quality at all. I thought “Wow this is great! I can get some feedback and I don’t need to tell those close to me!” I thought that maybe if I was getting critiqued by others, it wouldn’t hurt as much.

And what a wake-up call that was!

The first couple of critiques I received were great, very encouraging and helpful. Then, I received a bad critique and I allowed myself to deflate. I stopped writing for about a month and fell into a state of questioning whether or not this was for me. With help from my wonderful counselor, I was able to rise above and began to see this as a journey and less a dead end. She asked me why I wrote in the first place. I told her I had initially been doing it as a check off my bucket list. Something that, if it goes somewhere… great! If it goes nowhere… great!

When I tapped back into that attitude, I was able to be more discerning with the critiques I received. That attitude has saved me from many more deflation periods. I still struggle with depression and health issues, and that will be ongoing for me. But, now I have something bigger.

The writing community has been a rewarding experience. I have made many friends along the way and feel like I belong. We authentically want each other to succeed!

I hope this helps you on your own journey of becoming a writer, or in whatever else you choose to do. My prognosis is good, but that scare was enough to jolt me into following my life’s purpose. I fell to the bottom in order to find my right path. Don’t let that happen to you!

Be who you were meant to be. Do what you were meant to do. And if you are not sure of any of that and that seems like an impossible feat, there is help around every corner. Seek it out; don’t be afraid to be transparent.

It wasn’t until I finally stepped off the cliff, that I realized there was a bridge.

H.L. Jae

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