Xeno Hemlock


What Did You Do One Year Ago?

What did you do one year ago? I’ll answer first before you, “I Started Writing.” One year ago, I wrote a poem called "I Started Writing…

I started writing because friends were quick to judge. While explanation and reasoning were still incomplete, they were ready to dismiss.
I started writing because my mind is unexplored land. No mountain and no valley of the Earth look like the plateaus and hills of my world.
I started writing because the ember burns within. Withholding the fire slowly destroys my flesh and spirit.
I started writing because the world can never have enough. Visionaries, leaders, sailors, and teachers – we will always have room for them.
I started writing because my parents will be proud. I am not rich with money; I am rich with creativity.
I started writing because who else can write like me? I’m no Twain, no Spyri, no Hemingway, no Chopin. I’m neither a Samuel nor a Guy. I’m not Harper. Don’t ask me why.
Only I can write like me. Hence, I started writing.

When we are building our dreams, there are times we feel like failure. We look at where we are and where our dreams are, and find our arm still extending in the hope of finally grasping it. But alas! We discover we are not there yet.

Let me personally tell you, to pop the bubble of perfection, that I am guilty of feeling like a failure… at times. We have been wrongfully taught and fooled by the world that success must be instant, that attaining something must be quick or else it’s not worth yearning for, and that the sooner a desire comes to life the greater the glory that comes along with it. I fall victim into those misleading thoughts whenever doubt, fear, and insecurity attempt to reclaim me. But I have faith, hope, and courage, and I know better now than to succumb to those dark, tempting thoughts of delusions. Whether the journey is long or longer, I finally know the truth - it’s the journey that matters more.

Today, I went through the door of time-travel and stumbled upon the poem. Instantly, the clouds of dark thoughts dissipated and sunshine came flooding back in, exposing the trick of the devil. I had whined and whimpered about the journey that still lay ahead of me and was temporarily ignorant of how far I had come. One year ago, I was still grasping my way, still making clear my vision, and still shedding my old skin to make way for the new one but I did one important thing - I began to follow my heart. “I Started Writing…” was proof of it. Now one year later, I’m still writing.

Following our hearts is a leap of faith down into the sea. We don’t know how cold it is. We don’t know how deep it is. We don’t know what other creatures live in it. We don’t know how dangerous it is. But we still take that courageous leap because we know it will make us happy.

Ever since plunging into the sea I have began truly living, no longer waking up every day just going through the motions of what they call life. Instead, every word, thought, and action has purpose and meaning. There has been a lot of growth in different aspects of my life. There has been a great collection of memories, not material possessions but memories which can never be bought. Goals leading to bigger ones have been achieved strengthening courage, expanding wisdom, and improving skills. Like-minded people have come into my life giving the true meaning of relationship. I’ve been drowning into the sea of life for more than a year yet I still found a reason to whine and whimper. How foolish of me!

If you feel like you’re not making progress at all or that you’re a failure, then look back one year ago. From that point forward, remember all that you have accomplished, all the goals you’ve smashed along the way, all the growth you have achieved, and all the seawater you’ve been drinking. This way you’ll never get tricked by the devil. Now tell me. One year ago, what did you do?

I Started Writing originally appeared on Glipho and Hemlock Time. It also appeared in the book Xenanimus.

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