So, stopped dreaming.
At school, I loved my creative writing class, I had loads of ideas, opinions, narratives, and views to express… But my teacher did not like my writings… “Writing is not your strength,” she advised, “ stick to science, this is what you’re good at,”
So I stopped writing.
I then shifted to another passion… drawing, painting and visual art. My father and my brother are amazing artists, you could mistaken their drawings for photographs. But my art is different. I draw human experiences and healing. I express emotions and feelings through colors, forms and shapes. So, when I declared that I wanted to be an artist, I was met with a definitive “No way! You’re not good at art!” They advised in the most friendly way…“stick to science, this is what you’re good at!”
So, I stopped drawing!
When I graduated high school, I joined pharmacy. I was always good at science. But this wasn’t actually my reason for joining. Deep inside, I wanted to learn about those magical foods and herbs I experienced in my grandmother’s kitchen. Her kitchen was consistently brimming with aromas and flavors. A big pot was always simmering preparing the most delicious lunch for any potential guest. I have been enchanted by the magic of those recipes. I wanted to be an agent in people healing like she has been. Unfortunately, the way herbs and plants are taught in pharmacy stripped them from their magic, from their soul and reduced them to mere chemical formulas and Latin names. When I tried to express my point of view, no one understood what I was talking about.
So, I stopped trying.
I graduated top of my class and was hired as a teaching assistant in pharmacy. I loved my work. I love biochemistry. I love teaching and lab experiments. But, there was always something missing, some part of me I left behind in my grandmother’s home... some part of me that I left when I abandoned the kitchen, the stories, the sketchbooks, and the journals. But, I was now too busy climbing the ladder of academia and finishing my master degree in pharmacy.
So again, I stayed part of the system.
But, thankfully, not for long!
Fast forward… Now, decades later, I am glad I did not listen to the Nay Sayers.
My journey taught me to listen to my heart, instead, and not to fear being different.
- They told me supporting women through stories is not a profession… I now practice narrative therapy, offer workshops and retreats, and my books are used to facilitate women’s support group around the world.
- They told me I cannot make herbs my study and the kitchen my pharmacy… I now use herbs and natural products to restore health in most complicated conditions doctors fails to cure.
- They told me I can never be a writer… I published 6 books, 2 of them have been translated into more than 10 languages and read and taught by 1000s around the globe.
- They told me I’m not good at art… My art has been part of juried exhibitions and my art journals published in Canadian publications. I even integrated art in my work as a healing tool for self-exploration and expression.
Recently, I’ve been told of other things I cannot do and things I’m not good at…
My self-confidence took a hard blow and I retreated in my own little bubble. Then, I remembered my journey. And, maybe, once more, I need to choose whether to listen. I know now that it is my choice and I know that whatever I choose, the answer is never in hiding… the answer is in keeping the momentum.