The Importance of Encouragement

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Get ready. I’m going personal for a second. I had this as private for months, but I want to share it now.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. For a long time, this dream was dashed because of two people. One is my first psychiatrist. He told me I’d never make anything out of myself and at first I believed him. He stopped me briefly, but only briefly.

The person who was first to really shatter me was my teacher in grade 7/8. I would have been 12 or 13. Grade school was not good to me. I had no friends, I was tormented by the kids because I was hovering close to 6 foot by then, and I held a lot of “Catholic guilt” being at a religious school. The worst part was that the adults were equally cruel to me. I don’t know what I ever did to any of them, and it’s stupid that the question still comes to my mind. I was a child, they were adults, nothing I could have done would have made me deserve any of it. It happened anyway.

I’m not going into the specifics about how each adult wronged me, how the priest made me hate religion, or how no one was ever reproached for the well known poor treatment. No. I’m just going to talk about Mr. D, and how for years afterwards, I never wrote a word.

It was a tiny thing, but I was already so fragile. I was staying inside for recess because I had no friends outside. This was a huge thing and I don’t remember how I managed to stay inside. Nearly every day, I was forced outside to the reminders of how worthless I was there. I was writing a story (one I remember as, but probably wasn’t, really great). It was very LOTR-esque, and I remember it had “chaos” in the title. I can’t stress enough how excited I was about this. I gave it to Mr. D to read, tell me what he thought. (I guess it’s important to mention here that despite everything, I was a really big fan of Mr. D.)

He handed it back to me after merely glancing at the first page, said to me, “the title is spelled wrong”, and refused to read it further. It was such a tiny thing but I remember being utterly crushed.

I didn’t write again until high school, when it was like I couldn’t hold it in anymore, and never showed a soul. At one point, I let my friend Allison read something. She loved it so much I continued.

I needed a lifeline more than anything at that grade school. It was a miracle I made it out alive, though more broken than when I went in. I don’t have one good memory there. I wish it would get torn down. I’m sure Mr. D is still there, or somewhere, tearing up dreams without even realising it.

I would go to my old hometown just to watch the place crumble. I’d gleefully spit on its ashes, dance in the rubble. I’ve never hated a place before, or even a person for that matter, but I will happily hate that place for the rest of my life.


6 thoughts on “The Importance of Encouragement

    strandedinthecity said:
    November 3, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    It’s amazing how a few seconds can impact your entire life. I remember singing in a school program in first or second grade and a classmate, let’s call her P.H., said “You sound like a frog.” To this day, nearly 3 decades later, I hate the thought of anyone hearing me sing. Keep writing and don’t let anyone discourage you from persuing your dream!

      Averill Elisa Frankes responded:
      November 4, 2012 at 8:05 am

      Thanks for your thoughtful reply, strandedinthecity! I’m sorry you had a similar experience. Hopefully, someday you will be singing away as I publish my first book 😉 haha Best to you!

    Peter D. Mallett said:
    November 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Encouragement literally means, “to put courage in”. 7th and 8th grade were not great to me either, I enjoyed 10th, 11th and 12th. I went to a school outside the area where I lived. I love writing. I’m older now, but I remember an incident with a hobby I had. I showed something I’d practised to a relative and their only response was, “It’s hard to make a living at that.” I was about seven, and had no such intention. People don’t always realize how damaging a few words can be. When we are older though we choose whether or not to let the words hold us back. I’m proud of you for pursuing what you enjoy.

      Averill Elisa Frankes responded:
      November 14, 2012 at 10:04 pm

      I’m sorry that you had a similar experience. It’s hard to bounce back from crushing words. My high school years were much better as well. Thank you for your comments and compliment. Hope to see you around. 🙂

    mary mageau said:
    November 16, 2012 at 6:24 am

    Thanks for visiting by blog and liking it. I loved this story. Never mind what others say – just forge ahead and enjoy the journey.

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