Five years ago, I hit rock bottom. It felt like one of those dreams where I screamed but no one heard my voice. I felt helpless, ashamed, and lost. I wondered what people thought of me. Did they see a grown ass man with no cash, no home, no girlfriend? I thought, only if they felt what I felt, only if they saw what I saw, only then they would understand my dilemma. But they didn’t. They saw someone at the bottom of the ladder, the steps covered with poisonous snakes, no where to go, no where to hide, no where to find hope.
I pushed hard to make things happen. I stayed up at night and planned my escape, and during the day I executed that plan. But nothing changed, the reality got worse: in addition to no job, no cash, no girlfriend, now I also had no self-esteem. I was the voiceless voice. So I gave up. I said, enough of this shit, I can’t take this anymore, I surrender. I asked God to take me away, I had no interest left in this unkind world, a world that valued the comforts of rich people, white people, privileged people.
That was the best thing I ever did. You must be thinking, What? Are you serious? How can giving up help? Aren’t we told never to give up, to keep trying, keep hustling, keep moving forward? Nope. Not always. That’s what’s wrong with our society. We tell people to keep pushing, keep doing what “makes sense.” Thank God, I didn’t.
When I got quiet, I heard a voice. It was like something dropped from the sky, whatever it was, I accepted it. And it saved me.
So why am I bringing this up now? A time when I’m grateful that I’m financially free, I have an amazing job that allows me to help young learners uncover their hidden creative genius, I have people in my life that make me smile every day. Well, there is something that has been bothering me lately. Something I’m struggling with. Something I can’t let go of. I’m at the point where I need some clarity. Things are too blurry. It’s getting dark. Something needs to drop from the sky. It needs to shake me up. It needs to wake me up.
For too long, I have been pushing hard, keeping busy, doing the work. Yes, I am much happier now, but have I been doing the right work? Definitely not. As my friend Selene says, I need something that’s orgasmically good for my soul. What I really love is writing, not just any kind of writing, but fiction, the kind where I just open myself up and let God flow the magic through me. If you don’t believe in God, then whatever power you believe in will flow the magic through you. For me, it’s God. I talk to Him when I pray, and I listen to Him when I write. It’s not easy for me, but by challenging myself I’m growing as an artist, I’m learning new things about my craft, I’m becoming more talented.
But there’s a problem. It’s time, most of it is taken up by my job. How do I balance the two? An amazing job that’s good for my chosen career vs writing novels that’s good for my soul. You know, living in a big house in a posh neighborhood, driving hot cars, and showing up at parties with a trophy wife is not my kind of American Dream. For me, it has always been the ability to travel in style, to try new cuisines around the world, to stay at boutique hotels, and make new friends in foreign lands. I always believed that if I could travel all the time, I would be happy. It would be the perfect life. A few months in Medellin, then off to New York, then to Barcelona, without worrying about money. This has been my American Dream.
But after living this dream for the last five months, I realized that it didn’t make me that happy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful every day for my wonderful life. But I felt there was no magic. I was on a long vacation and that was it. It was fun, lots of orgasms, but none for the soul. So what’s good for my soul?
When I was young I had this dream of publishing a novel, but I never did anything about it. The desire kept coming back, so, a few years ago, I decided to write my first novel. I woke up every day at 4:00 AM and wrote for three hours. What was I thinking? I knew I wasn’t a gifted writer, but I loved the process. There was something magical about it, something that made my soul sing. I won’t lie, there were many days that felt like torture, sitting in front of a blank page, nothing coming, nothing dropping from the sky. But when it did, it thundered, the lightening hit the lighthouse, the angels sang, And I became the vessel through which magic flowed. The best feeling in the world.
This global pandemic has been a blessing in disguise for me.
Like a portal opened and pulled me in. It reminded me that I needed to reevaluate my life, my work, and my true desires.
Working remotely for the last few months allowed me to have some extra time: time I saved from not having to travel for work, not having to manage classroom behavior (trust me teachers waste a lot of time doing that), and the fact that I was not going out with friends. This is what I meant by a blessing in disguise. I went back to the earlier draft of my novel, and rewrote what my editor suggested. It was such a great feeling. I had forgotten about the magic. When I reread my work, I couldn’t believe I wrote that. Rumi said, “Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” I know what’s in my heart. And I’m grateful that these uncertain times reminded me that I can’t let my job stop me from doing my real work: write a novel. I believe God has a great sense of humor, when we ignore our inner voice and instead do what makes sense, He reminds us about our true desires, usually in ways we don’t like.
I have been fighting the wrong fight for a while now, it’s time to give up, it’s time to surrender to the higher power. I’m going to write every day from now on, no matter what. When I’m back from work, I’ll shower, and then I’ll write. This is why I was born; to let the magic flow through me, to write, and to tell stories. I hope you find what is orgasmically good for your soul. This is why you are here, to do that work. To be a vessel through which magic can flow.