Though I usually like to narrate stories from the beginning, I think I’d like to begin this one with the end.
The ending song “Tribes” was playing, confetti in the air, people cheering—the usual ingredients to the conferences we have. I pulled out my phone to check if any one of my friends coordinated with me on our logistics. Instead, I found an direct message from Instagram. The message at 9:08 PM read:
“Hey Sam! This may sound random, we haven’t been in touch since 2012… I remember reading an article about lipsticks on your blog a long time ago then I came across your page again this week! Haha I just wanna let you know that your page has very good content and I feel really blessed after reading each article. May you have more inspiration to write and transform lives 🙂 Have a great day!”
I was stunned. I didn’t know what to make of it. But I was so sure—one hundred percent—that this wasn’t a coincidence.
One of the ways that people would introduce me to others would be to talk about my writing in the past. In those times I’d often divert the attention from any description of me being a writer. And it wasn’t because I was trying to fake humility or anything. I was embarrassed of myself. I was ashamed. I ventured in 2016 to put up this website for women who loved the things I loved. It was then launched in April of 2017. I kept writing, hired an amazing graphic designer, did the social media, the works.
But soon, I forgot when, fear started to dawn on me. Pressure came. I became unsure of my words, unsure of what I wanted to say, and unsure of who I was. Was I really a writer? Could I even call myself one? Comparison came. Surely this other person was really the writer, and I was just a phony.
I don’t really know when I found the courage to at least try to write again. There were these messages swimming in my head, and I was afraid that if I forgot to write them down one day, they would be lost in the endless human sea of thought. So I prayed and prayed for many more months, still afraid of my own words. Still afraid of what they would turn out to be on screen.
But something else happened that night.
I went to a nearby Chick-Fil-A with my campus director, his wife and kids, and some friends from my local campus ministry team. When it was getting late, I got myself a Lyft home.
My driver’s name was Jeanine. She was tan and blonde. We talked about Orlando. She shared how she went to design school, and how colors can incite emotions and experiences in different venues. I asked her the question I usually ask most drivers from transportation apps: “Do you have another job aside from Lyft?”
“I’m actually a travel blogger,” she responded.
Suddenly, it was almost as if I heard the sound of a lid opening in my mind. We conversed about her website, the content she writes, and what gets her to keep on writing. I opened up about my fear of getting back to writing, and my worry of what the writing will look like, and what people were going to say.
“It’s funny, I just had a conversation about this with a gentleman this afternoon. You see, sweetheart, it’s kind of like watching a movie. At the end of the movie, you fall in love with the character not because they are beautiful but because you know them, you journeyed with them through the story.”
Type, type, type, I was typing this away. She was definitely a writer.
“Let me give you another illustration. Directors, in a casting call, don’t get the best looking people for the role. They may look beautiful on screen, but some of them really look homely in real life. Directors get the ones who will be right for the role.
You have a unique voice about what you want to say. You can inhibit it by saying “no one will love it” or “no one will understand it”. But if you met everyone in the world, 50 percent will love you and 50 percent will hate you.
Write what you like because there are people who will look for what you’re writing.”
Like a slap to the face, I think this was the clearest audible voice I’ve heard of God when it came to my writing. This was His answer, and it came in the form of a sweet, blonde Lyft driver at the tail end of the night.
Still in shock of what just happened, I told her, “I don’t know where you stand when it comes to God, but I believe that He planned for us to meet. This was what I needed to hear. Thank you so much!”
She looked at the rearview mirror at me, and I could see a smile on her face. “Aww. I’m sure He planned all this, hon. I’m sure He planned this all along. When you’re on the right path, everything’s going to reveal itself.”
. . . . .
“Today I’m going to write,” will probably be the scariest and bravest thing I’ll say to myself in the next few months. At this point, I’m praying that’ll extend to years. Decades even. I don’t want to jump the gun just yet.
And the writing doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be real. It doesn’t always have to make sense, because even life doesn’t ever make complete sense.
But she’ll write because she writes.