Another installment in the series of posts of the WCWW scholarship contest winners and runners-up! Today’s post is written by Sarah Smyczynski, one of our scholarship runners-up. Enjoy!
Have you ever wandered around, combing through things, making a mess, pulling your hair, only to discover that what you were looking for was right there the whole time?
I’ve been doing something like that for the last ten years. Only in the past couple of months have I finally realized that writing is what I should have been doing all along.
Creative fiction has been an interest of mine since I was old enough to be left alone with the word processor on the family computer. I’m not saying that what I wrote was any good – one of my first stories, called “The Merciless Trail” featured five girls all named Mercy. Once I hit my teenage years, my passion spiked, and by then I was using a variety of character names. Through my high school years, I read and wrote like I needed to devour and spit out words in order to live. In my small school, my short stories circulated around the halls, and everyone said that I should be a writer. However, I lacked the self-confidence to make a go of it. I listened to my parents when they told me that I couldn’t make a career out of writing. I don’t think that they were wrong, mind you, but I wish that they had encouraged me to try harder rather than find a career track that matched my level of ambition at the time.
In the last six years, I’ve gone through a parade of careers in an attempt to find something that I was passionate about and was also respectable. I don’t regret anything I’ve tried, because I’ve gained far more life experience this way. Most “kids” my age finished up college only a year or two ago. I’ve been a graphic designer, cake decorator, pampered chef consultant and a wedding photographer. I’ve also lived five different places, moved across the country and gotten married. But for one reason or another, no career ever clicked for me. Certainly there were things that I liked about each of them, but at the end of the day they were all lacking.
If I didn’t already think I was crazy for wanting to do something I love, my husband’s family certainly never helped. See, he was talked out of doing what he loves (music) in favor of getting an English degree, which led him to his current job as an underpaid, overworked software tester. He’s possibly the best husband in the world because rather than sit around moping about his regrets, he’s actively encouraged me to make things happen for myself.
But what does any of this have to do with changing the world?
When I was fourteen, I wrote in my diary that I felt that I would either die really young, or that I would do something to change the world. I never stopped feeling this way, and I just turned twenty-four last week and it looks like I’m not dying any time soon. I’ve spent all this time searching for what I’m passionate for, for what I want to be when I grow up, and it’s been right here all along. In my heart, I’m a writer. I have a lot to learn before I can change the world, but the thing is, I believe that I can.
Sarah Smyczynski is a writer, photographer and geeky wife living in Michigan. You can find her website at sarahski.com.