Eye-Opening Moments are real-life stories of adversity, encounters, and perspectives. In this episode, you will hear about a moment of adversity called A Hidden Voice, a moment of an encounter called Discouraging Professor, and a moment of a perspective called My Special Car.
Hello and welcome to Episode #24 of Eye-Opening Moments where you’ll hear stories of adversity, encounters, and perspectives. These are real life stories that can lift your spirits, give you some food for thought, or move you. I’m your host Emily Kay Tan. In this episode, you will hear about A Hidden Voice, Discouraging Professor, and My Special Car.
A moment of adversity called: A Hidden Voice
Silenced as a child, I became quiet and lost my voice. But I still had a voice inside that wanted to be expressed, that wanted you to hear it. Thus, the secret desire to one day become a public speaker or writer came into being.
Over fifteen years ago, I entertained becoming a published writer when I attended a seminar on making a side income from e-book writing. I bought the program package. I looked it over, never started on it, but I kept the program with me. I even packed it with me to move abroad many years later. I couldn't bring myself to get rid of it. Shelved.
Couple more years later, I arrived in a foreign country. I got a job and was bored on the job. A co-worker said I should start a blog and write about my experiences here. I thought about it but didn't do it. I now wish I did, but I find my memory of the details not clear enough. So, that was my excuse for not moving forward with it.
Further, I researched and found that a successful blog needs to have writing pieces daily and, at worst, weekly. I didn't think I could do that, and I thought I might run out of things to write. So, this excuse sounded very reasonable. Why get into something when you know the odds of success are low, the work is tedious, and it would take so long to start making money?!
Still, with all the adventures experienced living abroad, the idea of writing remained in the back of my mind. Years later, after living abroad for some years, I returned home back to the USA. A friend suggested I take a break from my regular job and join her in her business or take up writing a book, as I mentioned, that I had been thinking about for over ten years already. I did neither. I got right back to work as I wanted a steady income that would give me a feeling of security and stability.
Two years later, I decided to quit my job, search for a new career or a different path in life. With no clear idea, I decided to sign up for some classes six months later. Two of them were writing classes. The writing classes helped me start writing as there were writing assignments, and I got some positive feedback.
As I listened to other people's writing styles and compared them to mine, I thought I could do better. In a class of 20 students, I had the most positive reactions to my writing. Then the instructor said, "Have you published?" I said, "No." Others encouraged me to do so. It wasn't just the claps, the wows, the tears, or the gasps that I got after people heard me read aloud my essays, but I heard other people's work that I was not very impressed with and thought I could do better.
Feedback from an online course with specific detailed critiques also helped me sharpen my writing skills and realize how pieces of my life story made people wonder and hunger to know more. Interesting. After several courses, I finally found out why I wanted to write, and I discovered a purpose to write, which made all the difference to motivate me to write.
Writing is a way to express my voice. My lost voice hungers for you to hear it. My inner voice keeps begging to come out and reminds me it is still there. The undying desire would not escape my thoughts. I can self-express and be heard by being a published writer, but will I do it?
With purpose and motivation to write, I began writing essays separate from class assignments. With a worldwide pandemic going on, no job, and in a lockdown, I had plenty of time to write, no excuse not to write, and write I did.
As I wrote, a little voice kept asking if I was writing anything of significance, anything that people would be interested in reading. It was like asking if I had a remarkable or unique life, and I didn't think I was anybody that stood out in this world.
As I prepared to move abroad, I had a language partner with whom I spoke four hours a week for three months. With that many hours of conversations, it seemed like we talked about everything under the sun or at least what was important to me in life.
One thing that struck me was that he said I had an abundant life. Before that, I never thought of myself as having one. It was only in sharing my stories with him that I discovered precisely the twists and turns that created the spice in my life. And everybody is somebody because we all have our own unique stories about our lives!
Then I moved abroad, moved into a new place, got a job, got busy with life, and stopped writing. Still, it was in the back of my mind nagging me to get to it. Then came more excuses. Why am I not motivated enough to write when I want to write?!
Writing memoir pieces was emotionally draining at times. I'd need to bring myself back into remembering things that I might not be happy about recalling as they could bring pain and heartache. Then there was the question of why do this again. I'd expose myself if I published; do I want people to know my inner private world? I hesitate to post because I am a private person, but how will my voice be heard if I don't do it? Such a contradiction, you want to do it, and you don't want to do it.
One day I found an online writing course called The Thirty Day Challenge. I thought this should get me moving into the habit of writing, as that is precisely the purpose of the class. It gives you a topic to write about each day for 30 days. As I neared the end of the thirty-day challenge, I realized I was getting into the habit of writing. Because I had to write daily to meet the challenge, I learned to get my thoughts in print and worry less about perfection. I can always go back and do another draft.
What has taken me so long to write more was overthinking and demanding perfection from myself. Thinking about how a piece should be expressed, thinking if it is the right content, thinking if it is too revealing, thinking if it will sell, or reading it all slowed down the writing process. My overthinking decreased the speed at which I did anything in life! It was a lesson learned through the writing experience. With a 30-day challenge, the result was less overthinking and more doing with limited time. It was learning to jump in and do it.
After completing two thirty-day writing challenges and completing 100 essays, I found myself continuing to move along. The more I wrote, the less I worried about imperfections and no more excuses!
Finally, I wrote my first book and published it. I now call myself a writer, and it tickles me! I don't have to say I always wanted to do it but never did. I can now say I always wanted to do it, and I did it!
A moment of an encounter called: Discouraging Professor
It was the first day of class, and the professor said, “Did you know that one in five teachers will quit the teaching profession within the first five years of teaching? If you don’t think you are cut out for it, quit now. Don’t waste your time in this program.”
Professor Pental’s words shocked me. I didn’t understand how a professor could be so discouraging. Did he not want to have students? On the other hand, a part of me said, “How dare you think that I may not be cut out for it; you don’t even know me. “In my world, I thought teachers were supposed to encourage and inspire students to go do great things. But the professor standing before me did not look the part. Perhaps he wanted to give us a dose of reality. Maybe he wanted to tell us that being a teacher is no picnic in the park. I don’t know his intent, but he sure made an impression on me. It was negative, but it motivated me to forge ahead.
Since his class was a requirement in the teaching program, I continued to attend his class. Soon Professor Pental said another thing that stayed in my memory. He said, “If you really want to teach and you are bilingual, you can start teaching now. Get in and see if you like it. Better to know now than to complete the program and realize that teaching is not for you.” He continued, “If you are interested, see me after class.”
I was one of the few that went up to him after class. Though I thought I wanted to be a teacher, I also didn’t want to waste my time or money to go through the program and not become a teacher. Mr. Pental did give me the name of the person to call for a job. I began to think of him a little less negatively. It seemed that he was practical or realistic and wanted students serious about becoming a teacher. He didn’t want students who believed that being a teacher was an easy job with many vacations.
I soon called the contact person, and she quickly arranged for me to take a battery of tests to determine my bilingualism. I passed the tests. Shortly after that, I interviewed, and the school district hired me as a bilingual teacher.
True to his word, Professor Pental had stated in class that there was a great demand for bilingual teachers, and there weren’t enough qualified candidates to fill the positions. Being hired on an emergency credential, it was clear that the high demand existed. And bilingual skills were the way to get in early.
I soon started as a full-time teacher by day and a full-time student by night. Though this period was exceedingly busy with homework as a teacher and a student, I quickly learned firsthand what it was like to be a teacher. As Professor Pental said, it was not what I thought it to be. I thought it would be fun and fulfilling to make a difference for young minds. It was, but it took time and patience. Many people did not give themselves the time or had the patience to reap the rewards.
As it turned out, my supervising professor observed me teaching on the job and said that I had a special connection with students that she rarely saw. On the one hand, students felt comfortable to “play” with me, and on the other hand, I commanded authority when I taught. “I had the talent for the job,” she said. Inside of me, I told Mr. Pental that I had found out I was cut out for the job.
Though I did not initially consider Professor Pental to be a good teacher because he was not the most encouraging, I did get the opportunity to jump in to see what it was like to be a teacher before I finished my studies. He gave me that opportunity. From Mr. Pental, I learned that someone could make a difference for you, even if it didn’t seem so or it was negative. He expedited me into a career to discover if it was my calling. For that, I must thank him. I have enjoyed many fulfilling years of teaching and am grateful for the opportunity to make a difference for others.
A moment of a perspective called: My Special Car
It was a clean, shiny, and white car. It was a brand new car. It had a built-in navigator; that was what attracted me to it. Also, it looked small on the outside, but it was roomy on the inside. It was the year 2005, and not everybody had one. But it was in great demand; I had to order it because so many people wanted it. Many people liked it because it was a hybrid, and hybrids became popular.
Gas prices were high, and if you drove a lot, you'd want this car. At that time, I was in business, and my business partners told me about the car and encouraged me to buy one because we all had to drive to different places daily and even places a few hours away. What I loved about it most was how smooth and quiet the car was when I drove it AND, of course, the built-in navigator. All I had to do was type in the address, and it would direct me to my next client's house or another business office. You can't imagine my excitement and thrill when I finally got a brand new car – at midlife.
My first car was a banged-up light blue Mazda from an auction. It was noisy; it had a big hood, and the inside of the car felt small, making you feel claustrophobic. I think it was a 2-door car. I didn't like it much, but it was dirt cheap. That is why I got it. After about a year, I got rid of it when I got into a car accident. It was my first car accident. I ran a red light because I was driving to work and was zoning out.
Though it was pretty traumatic for me, something good came out of it. I had to get another car!
My second car was a white Toyota sedan. The car looked better, was roomier inside, and felt less rough driving. It was better than the Mazda I had. I had the car for about fifteen years!
My third car was a backup car; I don't remember why!
Just remember that it was a blue Toyota hatchback. I could lower seats in the back and haul more things into the car. It seemed like I needed a car like that. For some reason, I always needed a vehicle to move something or when I had to buy things. The car was quite useful.
With car number two and three hogging up space in the garage for quite some time, I decided to donate car number two. Now there was more room to store things in the garage. Of course, I kept car number three instead of car number two because of the number of things that could go into the car.
Cars 1, 2, and 3 were all used cars. For some reason, I had it in my head that new cars were more expensive, that I couldn't afford a new car, and they depreciate as soon as you drive them out of the lot, so why buy a new car!
Now car number four is the brand new Toyota Prius. The excitement of getting a brand new car when you never thought you could get one and then you finally get one after so long in life is the thrill!
A business partner who got a Toyota Prius loved it so much that he told everyone about it, and soon a second business partner bought one, then a third, a fourth, a fifth, a sixth. There came to be a seventh and eighth one, too. After that, I stopped counting. It was funny. When we went to the same office one day, you could see all the Prius cars parked there.
Then I saw someone who had the same color as mine, and I was not a happy camper. I had white first; how dare that person get one after me!
I never cared much for cars other than using them for transportation, but when I got the Prius, it was the first time I loved the car I had. I never liked to drive, but I wanted to drive when I got the Prius. I chose it, wanted it, and could buy it using my knowledge of money from the business to get it. Since I've moved abroad, what I miss most is my Prius! Things seem to be ever so precious when there is a long time before you get a hold of it, or for some reason, you never thought you could have it. It's like a dream come true. But getting a brand new car late in life did not have to happen that way. It happened that way because I didn't think it could happen. So, the result was no action to make it happen until my thinking changed.
Key Takeaways: Though I thought about writing a book for over ten years, I finally discovered my purpose and published my first book!
Though I had a discouraging professor who made negative comments, his words motivated me and expedited my long and successful career path.
Though I didn't get a brand new car until midlife, I learned that you can change your actions, when you change your thinking.
Next week, you will hear three new real-life stories called Close Encounters With Death, Overheard Conversation, and Ten Things For Daily Therapy . If you enjoyed this episode of Eye-Opening Moments, please leave a comment, share it on your social media, subscribe on Youtube, or go to www.inspiremereads.com. Thank you for listening!