I was fortunate to grow up in a loving home. Both my parents were supportive of my brother and I and they were proud of the people we had become before they passed away. I’m sure they are looking down on us now and are extremely proud of the way we continue to live our lives and take care of the people around us.
My dad, in particular, always wanted us to be the absolute best we could be. I remember coming home from high school, at the age of fourteen, proud to show the results of my math test. I had scored ninety-eight percent on that test and was over the moon. I showed him the test, and the first thing he said was, “what happened to the other two percent?” It was like an invisible hand balled into a fist and punched me in the gut. I went to my room and cried. He wasn’t being mean; he was simply pointing out that there was a slight margin for improvement. But the teenager I was at time could not see the forest for the trees.
Sadly, that comment has stayed with me. Thirty-eight years later, I still doubt the success of my endeavors and always feel there is room for improvement. Nothing, in my mind, is good enough.
Today, one of my dear friends reminded me to stand tall and accept the pride I am allowed to feel. She didn’t ask why my fourth book wasn’t two percent better than it could have been, she simply told me to embrace my writing talent and be proud of the fact I have written four entertaining novels that have received great feedback. In the back of my mind, I know my dad is beaming with pride, and so is my mom. If he knew how much that flip remark had affected me, and that I carried it with me throughout my life, he would be devastated.
It is now time to turn the page, to move on to the next chapter and leave that comment buried in the story of my life. It no longer has the power it once had, and I am filled with a sense of pride that threatens to burst out from the ends of my fingertips. I am an author, and I have a talent for writing. I have completed four novels and am currently working on the fifth in a series of six. Perhaps that two percent was hovering in the background, waiting to be applied to the thing I am most passionate about, my writing.