I’ve surrendered to My Calling, and now I’m happy.




Drawing, filmmaking, writing. Drawing, writing. Filmmaking, series-producing, writing. Writing. Writing. Writing. 

Writing. 

I love to write. I have done it every single day since I was eleven years old. At my eighth-grade parent/teacher conference, my English teacher—Mrs. Stewart—told my mom “His creative writing reminds me of my own writing when I was in college.” The caustic would berate her ability, but I truly believe this was a complement.

Why didn’t I pursue writing as a vocation?

Fear.

Fear of ridicule, of rejection. Silly things like caring what other people thought of me. Guilt and a sense of duty to “find a paying job” that Put-Food-On-The-Table-And-A-Roof-Over-My-Family’s-Head. Paradoxically, laughably, I chose the path of a visual artist to do that. I ended up sliding into paying banalities the likes of: production artist, production video, marketeer… skill-based but about as interesting as the flat side of a thumbtack.

Recently, an incident shook the complacency from my life. I learned that my position was evolving from being production-driven to curation-minded. I would no longer be “creating” items, but managing vendors instead. This infuriated me at first, but intense soul-searching lead to a realization: “This is an opportunity to re-assess everything I am.” 

“First thing’s first,” I told myself, “I need to go back to school.” My experience alone has been enough to garner jobs, but today’s reality is different. In order to compete in the job market, I have to have evidence of my ability. I need a degree. Ironically, I work for an online university—but it does not offer anything that interests me. 

“If I’m going to do this, it needs to be something that will keep me engaged.” The search began. Illustration and filmmaking were out, I knew that. I knew it was time to come forward with who I really am.

I’ve always written stories, but I had to assess what my weaknesses were; I’m ashamed to say it’s a common malady… I lack proper education in grammar. I know my tenses are all over the place, I have a vague idea what participles are, and I think I use semicolons correctly 50% of the time. Then there’s active voice, split infinitives, etc. I’ve taken it upon myself to learn, but I need guidance. I started looking at writing degrees.

There are plenty of writing programs out there. At the risk of sounding like a testimonial, it needs to fit my schedule—that means most brick-and-mortar schools are out (even the ones with online classes, since they’re taught at specific times). It needs to be non-profit, and it needs to be inexpensive. It didn’t take long to find one that matched my needs perfectly.

I applied and was accepted to Southern New Hampshire University’s Creative Writing program. My previous credits from Community College allow me to start out as a Junior. And further, this path will open up future opportunities with my career while I hone my craft at night.

However (and this is the best part), NOTHING WITH WHAT I DO IN MY SPARE TIME WILL CHANGE. I will still write, but now it will be with intention, with focus, and with pride. I have hundreds of stories that I have told. Once I’m confident in my ability, I’ll WANT to share them… just give me time to edit them first. 

“But Juan, what about your drawing? What about your films?”

Yeah- what about them? 

I’ll likely have the urge to draw once in a while or pick up a camera… but it will be on a whim, for nobody else, and for comfort. I won’t resent doing those things anymore because they aren’t important to me… or rather, they aren’t important for the wrong reasons. 

So here it is, 2020 is a new year. A new decade. I’m coming out as my TRUE self because I have finally accepted my calling.


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