Not Just A Dream, A Promise | Teen Ink

Not Just A Dream, A Promise

October 3, 2011
By AShiftInLife BRONZE, New Jersey
AShiftInLife BRONZE, New Jersey
2 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
Brother: They call me junk yard dog. WOOF!!
Me: (laughs) More like junk yard chihuahua.

My dream is to write a book. But, when I looked up the word “dream” in the dictionary I found this “an idea or hope that is impractical or unlikely ever to be realized.” And I thought to myself, “That’s all it really is? A hope that’s unpractical?” I fought for a few months with myself about my dream. Through these last few weeks I dug deep into my memories of the first time I found I loved to read, and through the years until the last time I had a passion to write. With those long weeks I came to a conclusion, the dictionary was right- as it almost always is. A dream is something that might never come true, a fairytale in a way. My desire to be an author is not something I can drop. I’ve worked far too hard to give it all up now. Therefore, this I believe is not just a dream, but a promise. But, to truly understand how I came to this conclusion, I have to first delve into the beginnings and most recent events of the path I’ve chosen because to understand my past is to understand me.

It all began in the third grade. Up until this point, I despised reading. I was horrible at it. My palms would sweat whenever the chance that I would have to read out loud came up, and when it did, I would be a stuttering mess. But that all changed with the Rolling Library.
Since our school didn’t have an official library, we had carts set up with books that we could choose from once a week. It was Wednesday, and my teacher told us all we had a mandatory reading project to do. I had to read a whole book in a month -something I did only when forced. I chose a book about mummies, and sat down with the rest of the class for a twenty minute quiet session totally devoted to the books we’d chosen. In those twenty minutes I fell in love.

When I returned home, I laid in my living room, stuck my nose into this book, and devoured it. I paid no attention to the astonished remarks of, “She’s been there for an hour just reading!” By the time I’d entered the school the next morning I was ready for a second book and was sorry to hear that the Rolling Library wouldn’t be back for another week. I spent the rest of the school year reading various books by the same author, and searching for other authors I could love.
Then I moved. It was the first day of fourth grade. I was shy, and I didn’t like to meet new people- this school and these people were all too unfamiliar. So I was lucky when one spunky girl decided to be my friend. She was a dramatic little thing that could burst out crying one second and end up laughing the next, but I thought she was awesome. I stuck to her side like glue, and spent most of my time pretending to be a fairy with her during recess. That got boring pretty quick. One day, she asked me if I would write a story with her. She came up with the idea of a mystery series- at the time she was obsessed with the Nancy Drew. It had one of the most ridiculous plots I’d ever heard, but back then it seemed cool, exciting even.
Though we never finished this particular piece of writing, we went on to write parts of a “series” that was a cross between aliens and Harry Potter. With that, I was sucked into the world of writing.
I’m not sure when my love of books, and my love of writing merged together to become a dream to be an author. It just sort of happened, and by the time I was a freshman, I’d succeeded in writing a novella of 50,000 words, various stories that I could never stick to long enough to finish, and five or six short stories that weren’t exactly the best but were good enough for me.
Freshman year was also the year I’d decided I wanted to be in honors english. For two years all my other friends had been in honors already while I listened from the sidelines dreaming about the day my teacher would come up to me a declare that level one English wasn’t advanced enough. But that day came and went, and I was still stuck on the outside looking in. I didn’t lose the feeling of the need to write. If anything, that feeling was strengthened. The way to become better at something is to try your hardest and to practice.
My chosen topic to use as practice was a story that I would collaborate on with my friend- thinking back to my childhood, this one was much better than any of the other ones we’d ever written. This story was about two girls with hidden pasts, and broken memories. The main characters were based on us, one was spontaneous and funky. The other was the quiet half, Cecilia Sharpe (she was based on me). While writing this story I realized something, my writing sucked. Everything I put down on the paper came out wrong. I couldn’t get the true Cecilia to shine. She was too quiet, too awkward, and I felt to continue with the story would just discourage me from writing even more, so I quit.
By this point I hated myself. I hated that my writing sucked, I hated that I couldn’t get into honors english, and I hated that my dream was slipping through my fingers. For weeks I refused to write anything, and when I read I felt my heart rip in two. All the books I had around my room were reminders of what I would never be.
Three weeks later I was cleaning my room- messes always damper my mood and I didn’t need to be any more depressed. It was when I was going through a pile of old papers that I found it, a character sheet on Cecilia Sharpe. That night my mind was consumed by Cecilia. I thought deeper into what was wrong about her, why she just never worked in my writing.
It was the next morning that I realized what exactly was wrong with her. Cecilia, who was supposed to be a more exaggerated version of myself, had a fatal flaw that I’d failed to notice before. She was fearful. Cecilia was afraid of everything, afraid to make friends, afraid to loose her family, afraid of the unknown, and I had the same flaw.
Fear held me back, just as it held back Cecilia. The reason I stopped writing, and stopped reaching for my dream was because I was afraid of failure. I was afraid that if I moved up into honors english I would be overcome by all the brilliant minds that sat in the classroom while I was left to drag on in a class where I didn’t belong. Even now, saying all of this, I’m afraid. But I also learned that fear is there for one reason, to over come it. Fear makes you strong; strong enough to be ready for anything that’s thrown at you. That’s why the next day I asked my teacher if I could go to honors as a sophomore. And here I am one step closer to being an author.
Now I’m still afraid, afraid of backing down again, of giving up my goal. That’s why becoming and author isn’t just a dream to me. If a dream is most likely never to happen, then that’s not what this is. Nope. It’s a promise. I promise one day you will see my name on the cover of some book you see at Barnes & Noble. Briana Martins in huge bold font, and you’ll think, “She did it. She really did it”.

The author's comments:
I started writing this piece for class, and as I wrote it, all my feelings and memories just gushed out on the page. With this essay, I realized just how much I actually loved to write. Maybe this story of my life as a reader and an aspiring writer is what really got my blood going about starting to write more, and dedicating myself to becoming an author.

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