Musings: Writers are born, not made
There’s a question that refuses to leave my mind, hours after it was asked. “What is your problem, Aniesha? Why are you always complaining?” And after much deliberation I have come to the inevitable conclusion: It’s not me, it’s YOU.
We are underpaid and overworked. We are asked to leave behind our true passion for we are paid a certain fee for our “writing services”. Our ideas are trashed for the reason we are from a different background. But let me tell you, Sir, my background is far superior to yours.
Truth is, creative people are creative. Sometimes we need someone to believe in us. Or much like the fairies in Neverland, we tend to die as well. But what would you know about that? Obsessed was you are with winning awards, you don’t see what is right for your team at all.
For over a year, I’ve had to listen to this feedback - “I won’t give you a pitch because you’re not there yet.” And after a year when I finally get a retainer account, the client loves it. They believe the ideas are fresh and our brand has been doing really well. It’s been six months. And I still have fresh ideas for the brand. Are you going to tell me it’s because I am new? I’m looking at it with a fresh pair of eyes? You didn’t even spend an iota for your time training me to get better. I had to get here on my own. And you still dare ask me why am I complaining?
Six months into this job, I had a nervous breakdown. I’ve been in therapy since December last year. Because I cannot deal with how truly toxic the environment I work in is.
You need to understand that I live alone. In an alien city. There’s no one here to take care of me. You are not doing me a favour by letting me work from home. It’s basic humanity. If I cannot get out of bed - how do you expect to come into work? I’ve worked from home on days when I couldn’t even get up from my bed because I knew it was my duty to do so. The days I’ve been able to manage, I’ve come into work. No matter how ill I’d been.
It’s been around six months since you joined and you know nothing about me. You don’t know that I’ve authored five books. That I worked on graphic novels. Or that I am a natural born storyteller. You and the company have doubted me so much that I spent a long time second guessing my own abilities as a writer.
I’ve pulled out countless universes out of thin air, on the fly. I know I’m good at social media. It’s not really my fault that I was kept away from it, with the constant excuse of not being there yet. With all due respect - how would you know if someone is there or not if you don’t let them work towards it?
It is not arrogance but it is confidence that you see. I’ve always been a little scared of public speaking. But you know what? Not anymore. I am not scared of speaking up. I am not afraid. I will speak my truth and as long as I can - I will not be silenced. This world can steal all my pens - but I will still find a way to raise my voice.
One more thing. You asked me what I would do if I was in my boss’ shoes? Certainly not this. I have never and I will never dump work on my juniors as when it is convenient for me. You would say that I am saying that now and I’ve never led a team. Sir, I was a manager of a publishing house. I was a barrier between the employees and my boss. We were part of the biggest book festival in the world. If I could be fair to my juniors back then, I can be fair to them even now. You see, Sir, when leaders naturally assume their role they are more empathetic. When they are thrust into it before their time - well, only time will tell if they’re truly capable of doing their jobs. After all, someone being good at their jobs doesn’t mean they will be a good leader. Isn’t it?
I am not writing this to spite you. I’m writing this to show you that no matter how hard you try, you are not going to stifle my voice. I’ve always known I’m a damn good writer. I’ve worked towards this since I was six years old. Never again will I let you or anyone else belittle my skills or fill my head with self-doubt. I’m doing the right thing. The pen is mightier than the sword - always has been, always will be. I hope this blog post of mine proves it.
P.S. - I know I make a lot of typos. Now is as good a time as any to come clean about this - I am slightly dsylexic. I could see 83 and keep telling you 38. I am not sure there’s a cure for this. But I’m learning to get better at proofreading.