After much thought and deliberation (the last fourteen seconds), I have decided that I will be publishing an Inspiration series. A series where individuals share the things that inspire them, and the things that rejuvenate their souls. This is the first post.
In our daily lives, it's important to find the things and the people that speak to our souls. Some individuals might have tens of things, while others might carry with them a single passion that rejuvenated and revitalizes their souls. For me, one of the main things is Writing.
Many have asked how I started writing. I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I didn't start writing because of my love of the art form, or any of the other things that will dictate my relationship with words in the future. It started because I wanted to run.
I have lived a privileged life, despite the pain and trauma, I had many things going for me. But I didn't always see it that way, and at times the world was too much, while other times only my world was too much.
I have been running my entire life. It is one of my superpowers. I can escape, I can run. Ever since I was two, I could find the best ways to run, and hide, and for years I did just that. I did so carelessly, with a single direction in mind, and feet to take me there. I walked, or hid, or scurried along without a second thought. It was natural to me.
But when I was thirteen something changed. I changed. Instead of just walking off I decided to plan. I realized I wanted to leave, but didn't feel welcomed by the streets. Looking back now, there were a million different solutions to this, but the one that rushed into my mind is to become a bestselling novelist, and to live as far away from my family as I could. I had just started writing my first novel the week before, and J.K. Rowling had just made a billion dollars with Harry Potter. So why couldn't I?
I'd like to think I am a very confident guy. There's absolutely nothing out there that I don't believe I can achieve if I really wanted to. If I haven't accomplished it yet then I am on my way, or I don't want it enough. But I don't believe I will ever be as confident as I was back then. Why? Because I was inspired. I was driven to take charge of my life, something I've done in the last few years, but the inspiration was never the same. Believe it or not, it all started with a neon stick.
I was at a school dance the week before. One of those 2PM dances they'd have for random middle schoolers and I was in charge of selling snacks, because obviously my two feet were only good for leaving, not dancing. It was the day I learned why everyone that sells snacks had a ton of disposable cash all of a sudden, and I'm embarrassed to admit that I followed along the next dance. But for this dance I was still me, or whatever there was of me then, and that's when I saw glow sticks for the very first time. I was enchanted by them. Maybe it was the loneliness at the time, or maybe it was my curiosity, but I thought they were the greatest thing ever. Magical even. I was given one, and my world was never the same.
When I got home, bored out of my mind, too tired to go to the library like I did almost every day, I pulled out a new yellow notebook I had taken from one of my classes, and I started writing my first novel. I had falled in love with writing a couple of years earlier when we were asked to journal for English Class, and I could not overlook the need to write. That novel was a story filled with magic, love, and compassion. I wrote one page. Then another. Then another. And finally made it to five that night. I had never been so proud.
The next day though, I couldn't get back to it. The magic was gone.
But instead of giving up, I pulled up another sheet of paper, and started writing again. It was another story filled with magic, but this was also filled with pain, and trauma that I still did not understand. The main characters name was Ahmed because I couldn't come up with something better, and secretly I needed a way to live life far away from the pain.
I wrote every day, my English teacher praising me along the way, and by the end of that year, a mere two months later, I was done. It was written in a notebook and on paper, with a pencil, and it was complete shit, but to me it was the greatest thing ever. I didn't even read it. I went on google and I started looking for an agent. Rejection is normal in the publishing world, and the moment any agent or publisher found out I was 14 they laughed. But I didn't stop, and then I was asked for samples. A pity request, I suppose. But they did nonetheless, and I started scrambling to get it typed. I even asked my sisters to type some, despite rarely talking to them.
Then at some point, after countless rejections, I got a yes. I'm fairly certain that agent was high out of her mind when she said yes, but she did, and for a 14 year old dreamer at the time it was all I needed.
I moved to Jordan soon after, and no novel was good enough for me. I rewrote the same story six or seven times. It got me into a great university, and allowed me to survive my anxiety, depression, and dissociation disorder, and so much more. All because I wanted to run away, and glow sticks. I'm proud to say I not only ran, but I can also afford as many glow sticks as I want now.
I have come a long way since then, no longer the distance runner I once was, and no longer in a place where I need to publish for survival. Writing is an extension of me, a part of my life so magical it'll ever-last everything else that I am. It inspires me, it inspires others, and brings us closer together in ways I never knew possible.
I am constantly in search of things that inspire me and speak to my soul. Life is ever changing, and for us to continue to grow and to find ourselves we must change with it, and integrate our past and our present together.
If you're interested in sharing about what inspires you please check out the Belong Page and submit your experience.
Ahmad Abojaradeh is the Co-Founder of Muslim Community Link, An Engineer, a world traveler, a Peer Support Specialist, a Novelist and the founder and editor of Life in My Days. He hopes to spread awareness of living a life of wellness through his writing, workshops and speaker events. Follow Ahmad on twitter, instagram or facebook.