There are certain moments in time that remain suspended in our minds as if they had just happened yesterday. Some of them tragic, like watching the twin towers fall. Some are wonderful, like seeing the first man walk on the moon. Moments like these are memorable, not just because they change the world around us, but because of the change they create inside of us.
There are also those moments of change caused by things that are much closer to home. The moment you lost a loved one. Or the day you were married. Or the time you held your first child.
And then there are moments that aren't brought on by an external tragedy or joyous event. These moments aren't shared with the world, or perhaps even your family at the time. They are moments of realization and recognition, hope and understanding, or a decision that brings a very real change in yourself. And you know you will never be the same.
I had one of these moments last year. It was the moment I became a writer.
It wasn't in a workshop, or at a conference, or a book signing, or at my desk in front of my computer. It wasn't while listening to the encouragement of my husband, a friend, or a fellow writer. It wasn't when I finished the first draft of my soon-to-be rejected manuscript. And it wasn't when it was finally accepted.
It was before any of that.
It was while I was alone, swinging on that middle swing, on a chilly, clear, fall night when, for the first time, I thought to myself, "I think I can really do this. I think I can write." And I believed myself.
That was the moment I changed. I shifted from a person that writes, to a writer. Everything that's happened afterwards has been wonderful, but nothing yet has been as dear to me as that one moment in time where I felt like I became real. Like the Veleveteen Rabbit. I was the Velveteen writer. And I was changed forever.
I wasn't changed because of the path my writing took me on. That certainly was the product of hard-work, a lot of luck, and even more divine intervention. I changed because I allowed myself to believe that I was something more than my doubts and fears had allowed me to believe. When I thought those words, that I really could be a writer, and I allowed myself to believe in those words--to have faith in and trust myself--that is when something settled inside of me and I felt it.
I'll admit, it grates on my nerves when I hear people say, "All you have to do is believe in yourself and all your dreams come true." It's not true. Just because you want something, or even believe it will happen, doesn't' mean it will. Much of life is out of our control. We can be the finest artist, the best cook, or the funniest person in the world, but the world might never know it if circumstances out of our control don't allow.
But, what I do know is that when you allow yourself to believe in yourself, to trust have faith in yourself, and to trust yourself, even though the scenery of your life might not change, you will have changed.
Happiness doesn't lie in what happens to you, but in how you feel about yourself. I'm not just talking about self-esteem here. I'm talking about truly believing that you are capable of doing something. Whether or not it actually happens is different. But you can know it about yourself, and that knowledge, that faith and belief in yourself, is what will bring you the greatest joy.
Belief is powerful.It makes things real. That's why, for me, the moment to believe I was a writer is so special to me. It stands out as a very real moment in time where I chose to believe in that part of myself, and it changed me forever.