May was the official #MenAreTrash month. Women all over social media attached the hashtag to almost everything they posted. “I’m having breakfast #MenAreTrash” “OMG I got a new puppy #MenAreTrash” “Does anyone know a good pizza place? #MenAreTrash” Immediately following the #MenAreTrash saga, some shameless Batswana men (and women, unfortunately) decided to prove just how trashy […]
I remember, as a child, standing at the edge of a grave at a funeral and wondering how the deceased had met his/her fate. Later on, in the privacy and comfort of home, I asked my mother why the person died. The answer was ‘it was a short illness’ and ‘they were very, very sick’. […]
Dreams In the Beginning…
It has been a long and arduous journey and it is far from over. October 2015, whilst sitting in a boardroom of a law firm(that is where interns work), I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a writer. I had had an itch for a long time but I just didn’t know how to start. I stumbled along clumsily until I had written a short story of 3000 words. Reading the story now, I cringe inside. I will gladly take that as a sign of growth. I googled short story competitions and only applied to those that were free- yes, because I am poor. My first rejection came in February 2016 but I was not too deterred by it.In April, this blog was born and I became Fallen Thoughts. I quickly created a page on Facebook and churned out poetry and a short story series. I carried on submitting my short stories. Rejections kept on coming.
Dreams Reasonably Doubted
Slowly, the momentum I had begun with fizzled out. I stopped writing everyday and fell into doubt. My dreams seemed to fade into the distance. The naysayer’s words kept echoing in my mind.
“You can’t make that much money as a writer, how will you support yourself?”
“Base, you are in Botswana, be realistic.”
“Are you even that good?”
In that moment of darkness, I almost conceded defeat. I was depressed because I felt like such a fool. I had told people that I was going to be a writer and absolutely nothing was happening.
One day I saw that Botho Journals were calling for submissions for their blog. I promptly wrote two different pieces on Becoming and Nurturing. I went back and forth with the editor because my pieces needed a lot of polishing. Eventually, she accepted my final draft. Botho Journals published something I had written. I was elated not only because something I had written was published on someone else’s platform, but also because it was satisfying that it was on a homegrown platform. August was a good month. Then I wrote my first book and submitted it for consideration (doubt it’s going to be published because I tried to read it the other day and the cringing was perpetual).
Dreaming: Sports Botswana
On the 20th of October, as I was scrolling through my timeline on Facebook, I came across a sponsored post for a job opportunity to be on the Editorial Team for Sports Botswana. It was a long shot, and I would like to thank the powers that possessed me to even apply because they were onto something there. I sent my CV on the last day of submission. Like I said, a long shot. The following week I got a phone call; the nice lady told me I was required to come in for an interview. I almost collapsed. An interview! That is a foot in the door for most people but I made up my mind that they would have no choice but to hire me.
Preparation was key. I googled all sorts of things, from what makes a good sports writer to how to act during an interview. When I walked into the interview last week Tuesday, I used none of my newly acquired information. They asked me the most unconventional questions and I did my best to not only impress them but to also remain true to who I am and what I can offer. I left there feeling good. When they did not call on Wednesday, I started to worry. My doubts started to eat at me but I fought to remain positive. On Thursday, the 3rd of November 2016, I got the job.
I started off as a short story writer. I morphed into a blogger. Now I am a sports writer. There are many routes to success. Adapting to change is key and so the direction of this blog will change dramatically. But at the end of the day: I am a writer and I am employed locally. I will be remunerated for my pieces. A milestone is achieved. Many people discourage pursuing careers that are in the arts or that go against the norm but that is because those people are ruled by fear and are haunted by the ghosts of their dreams. Be bold and fearless and go for it. Do not be intimidated by geographical or cultural restrictions. I may not make a lot of money, I may have only begun but I am on my way. Dreams: they come true.
I hope this letter finds you in good health. Please send my greetings to your loved ones. I bumped into you the other day in my mind. 2016 was a long and gruelling year and the new year is poking its head around the corner. I know you had set goals for the year, you had things that you wanted to achieve. The new year often evokes feelings of wanting to change and improving oneself. Do you still remember what those goals were? How far did you go to try to achieve them? Was your New Year’s Resolution your saving grace or has it become a reminder of your failure?
I wonder who came up with new years resolutions. We make them under the worst circumstances. If you are like me Stranger, you might make them under the influence of fermented grapes. Then you hold yourself to an impossible standard that you are unlikely to achieve. You are then haunted for 365 days by a goal or ambition that was fuelled by inebriation. Guess what I decided today Stranger? I have decided that I will only make my New Years Resolutions after the 7th of January. I want to be level and clear-headed when I commit myself to my improvements.
As much as 2016 is drawing to a close, it has not ended yet. There is still time to begin doing what you wanted to do all those months ago. If you wanted to achieve a goal, start toward it today. If you wanted to quit a bad habit or start a good one, begin today. By the time the 31st of December rolls around, you may not be where you had thought you’d be but you’d be somewhere. There is danger in abandonment and simply not starting.
This year, Stranger, I did not have any resolutions. A friend suggested we have a theme for the year. Because she wishes to finish her master’s degree, she suggested the word ‘finish’. That word propelled me through my darkest times. When I felt lazy, I told myself to finish. When I felt no inspiration, I told myself to finish. Ironically, this was a year of many beginnings for me as well. So perhaps instead of setting unrealistic goals for yourself, centre 2017 on one word that will be the theme of your life. Connect your theme to everything you do. Whether you achieve your goals, fail or surpass them, always remember that there is always time. Start today, there is time.