I remember sitting on a white, sandy beach in El Condado, Puerto Rico thinking my life had hit rock bottom. I thought I was destined for unhappiness because I was leaving another “going nowhere” relationship. While watching the massive ocean stretched before me, thinking how insignificant I was, it happened—my “scare the crap outta me” epiphany. It was a wakeup call, a call to slap myself in the face and say, “Hey, girl you don’t need the aggravation or the drama of a relationship that’s not working.”
It seems as though most crossroads in my life occur that way. (I’m sure many of you can relate.) Whenever there’s an important, life-altering decision or choice I have to make, I’m thankful that common sense and gumption step in.
My journey as a writer has been the same way. Almost 25 years ago, I applied for a job working in communications and on a newspaper. I was young, ambitious and knew I had some talent. I also knew I had to learn the ropes and pay dues. And I was okay with that. When the hiring communications director complimented my writing samples, I was thankful. Yet when he told me I wasn’t qualified because I didn’t have a degree, I was heartbroken. My disappointment, and to some degree anger–perhaps unwarranted–stemmed from knowing another person had a similar job and no degree.
Yet the experience was an epiphany of sorts. It was constructive because it propelled me into action. (I had already been attending college at night, in addition to raising a family (three daughters) single handedly and working full-time.) My disappointment pushed me to take additional courses, so I could graduate earlier. Guess what? I’m now in the department doing the job that I was turned down for 20 years ago. I’d gone full circle. Yeah, it hit me.
I said all that to say this:
When I attended Romance Slam Jam (RSJ), it changed my life. I had another epiphany. I knew I wanted to spread my creative wings, but for whatever reason hadn’t. As I mentioned, I’ve always love romance novels, and have a voracious appetite for reading. Meeting some of my favorite authors at RSJ was exciting, uplifting and a huge part of my epiphany. They encouraged me to start writing my books. They counseled me on how to carve out time from my day-to-day writing to create my stories. I’ve haven’t slowed down yet. I’m usually huddled over my computer until the wee hours of the morning, before I go off to write for my day job.
Epiphanies are wonderful things. They’re motivating and often followed by courses of action. However, epiphanies with support and encouragement are blessings. I’ve had a few in my lifetime and it’s a great feeling to comprehend when it finally “hits” you. Oh, and that relationship I thought I needed so badly? Done, dead, not even a distant memory and definitely not happiness. One source of my happiness takes place in my mind and on the keyboard of my computer.
May all your epiphanies be as productive.