I have been scared to write my first blog post for my business. I didn’t know why I was struggling, why the fear within kept getting stronger and stronger. After a coaching session with my personal coach, I was able to get to the heart of the matter–an experience I had as a junior at UT Austin with one of my writing professors. The letter below is how I have found a way to heal from it. I needed to tell my younger self an important message.
Dear 20-year-old Vanessa,
I want to talk about your advanced British literature class you just finished taking. I know that your English professor tore your writing to shreds. He made you feel worthless when it came to your writing. I know those words hurt when he wrote in red pen and in big letters, “You write haphazardly.” I know how his words pierced your writer’s heart when he said that you must not be a reader because writing is a reflection on what you read. He was quick to judge you, and it hurt. Little did he know you were a reader and found so much joy in writing. He made you feel that you were not good enough. He made you feel your writing would never be enough. I know you worked hard to change your writing to meet his demands, his style, his “right” way of writing. You lost your voice writing papers for his class, but you were able to walk away with a solid B. His criticism crushed you, but you pushed through to write what he wanted because you had something to prove—you had to finish strong in his eyes. Little do you know that you lost your voice in those subsequent papers and your heart for writing.
I want to tell you that even though you will struggle for 20 years thinking you are a terrible writer, that your writing is never good enough, and that most people are better than you, you will still hold onto your writing. You journal from your heart. You may not share it, but you know it’s there, full of your ideas, your thoughts, your struggles, your growth, and your creativity. You will blog for a bit when blogs are all the rage. You manage to give people a glimpse of who you are with your vulnerable posts on social media. Writing will always be your biggest outlet. I want you to know you will heal, you will let this experience go, and you will find inner strength to let go of your professor’s words.
I want you to know that those words from that English professor do not define you. I want you to know that you have a drive to connect with others, and many will say so. When you find the courage to put yourself out there, your words will resonate with others. I want to tell you that you will become a strong woman: you live a life taking risks, loving others, caring for others, experiencing failures, loss, joy, sorrows, heartbreak, successes, and you will find that you will pull out your journal and write time and time again. My dear girl, you will keep writing. You will be set free from the harsh criticism you once received, and you will soar. I tell you, go, write from your heart, write haphazardly, write however your heart tells you to write. Be you. Share your goodness, share your compassion, share your thoughts, your experiences, your joy, your pain, your breakthroughs, and your growth. You will encourage others. You will empower others. Dear Vanessa, let this man’s words fly away, and say what you need to say without fear of your writing not being enough. You, my dear, are enough.
Your 42-year-old self