Every year always turns out to be a rollercoaster, and to be completely honest I’ve never been a fan of rollercoasters. I prefer to have both feet on the ground. Though, if I’ve learned anything this past year, it’s that life will never pause to wait until you have both feet on the ground. You’ve just got to be ready to adapt. In the beginning of 2017, I thought things were going to be different because all of the obstacles I overcame in 2016, but it was just the beginning. Bear with me guys, this may be the longest blog post I’ve made.
This year, I was challenged in more ways than ever before. I was depressed, working in a job that I was desperately trying to get out of, unhappy in a myriad of ways and I was forced to rely heavily on God. Forced to accept that He has always had plans for me that are beyond what I can begin to envision for myself. There were days that I genuinely didn’t think I would make it to see the end of 2017, I had lost count of the number of panic attacks, tears and times that I thought I couldn’t possibly go on any further. If it wasn’t for God, my family, and closest friends who pushed me kicking and screaming through everything, I don’t think I would be here. In January, I was given a shimmer of hope as I was just starting to feel hopeless in my job at the time. I was given the opportunity to intern at Ayesha Pande Literary, a literary agency. It was the first taste of the publishing world that I had after completing the Columbia Publishing course. This was the time to gain hands-on experience. Serene, Ayesha, and Anjali were all incredibly kind and warm to me. I couldn’t have started my career with a better group of professionals. They were based out of NYC and it cost me $50/week give or take roundtrip for a 5-hour commute to go to their office and intern for free on my day off. I did it for four months because I was determined to pursue my dream, even if I had to sacrifice to do so. I don’t regret it for a moment. I learned so much valuable information, I read manuscripts, queries, drafted reader’s reports and got to ask questions whenever I had them. Despite my unhappiness at my full-time job, I was able to find joy in the fact that I was reading manuscripts in my free time, reading for leisure, writing more regularly. I was determined to stay sharp and focus on my goals. Once the internship concluded, I was back to where I was post-graduation: applying for jobs, interviewing, not hearing back — lather, rinse, repeat. After some silence, much prayer and support, August is when my life took a complete 180 degree turn. Ironically, I posted something about wanting the last few months of 2017 to be the plot twist I needed — and in a way, I got exactly what I asked for.
I was supposed to be taking a long weekend to visit my close friend, Nia, in Rhode Island. Out of the blue, I was contacted about an incredible opportunity to work as a counselor for a two-week sleepaway camp with a non-profit organization, Writopia. They contacted me on my last day of work to see if I was still interested in the position (which I had applied for months before), I responded immediately and we made plans for a Skype interview. I interviewed and was hired in the same day while I was in Providence, RI. I sent my letter of resignation to the job that I’d been working in for nearly a year that same day and never looked back. Everyone except my close family and friends thought I was CRAZY! I can’t blame them. I quit a full-time job to work for two weeks at a summer camp. I couldn’t explain it but something about the easiness and sequence of events just felt right, like fate. I left for camp probably a week or less after I was hired. I packed my bags, went to New York City, and disappeared into the Pennsylvania mountains with no cell service for two weeks with complete strangers. I was anxious the entire time that I wouldn’t adjust, but every person that I crossed paths with in those weeks made a positive, lasting impression on my life. God knew that this was where I needed to be. I needed to disconnect from all my stress, breathe fresh air, write and interact with uninhibited creatives to remind me why I loved to write. Camp came and went faster than I realized, my family heard the change in my voice, and I knew I was coming back a stronger woman than when I left.
Once at home, my parents had questions: what’s next? Where are you going to work now? How are you going to take care of your bills? Etc. These were all valid questions but I didn’t have a single answer for them. I was still swimming in the serenity that camp gave me and I wasn’t anxious at all or worried about what was next. I felt confident that things were going to come together for me, things wouldn’t go back to the way they had been. It was now September and I was casually applying for jobs, which was a polar opposite approach to the mass applying that I had been doing since I graduated college. Ideally, I wanted a full-time job but I decided to take a risk, apply for some jobs and a select few internship opportunities. In no time, I was contacted for a phone interview for a full-time job at a publishing company and also told that I was in the running for an internship opportunity at a renowned literary agency. I was between two incredible opportunities and the anxiety was purely due to the realization that my life was moving in the direction I had always wanted it to.
The application process for the internship seemed to be moving faster than for the job. I was submitting paperwork, had interviewed for the internship and was still waiting to hear back from the job. The recruiter from the full-time job contacted me telling me that I was one of three applicants considered for the position and would be invited for an interview that coming Monday. I was shocked! That same Thursday? I was told that I’d been accepted into the Writers House Internship program and if I accepted their offer. On the phone with Michael Mejias, I didn’t hesitate. It felt right and I said “OH MY GOD, YES!” without pause. It was once I hung up the phone, I really needed to think on whether or not I was making a foolish choice of choosing an internship with a stipend over taking a full-time job. I hadn’t interviewed so who is to say that I would even get the job? I let that question float in the air around me before I emailed the recruiter saying that I was no longer available to interview, apologized for the inconvenience but hoped to cross paths in the not too distant future. That’s when it really started to snowball. I became the Subsidiary Rights Intern for Writers House where I am still continuing to learn so much and gain some of the most invaluable skills. I’m surrounded by kind, intelligent, and ambitious fellow interns that have managed to take my honest, perpetually flustered,and hot-mess personality as endearing and continually show me such kindness. Despite never having two feet on the ground, sleeping on any-and-everyone who has been willing to offer’s couch, air mattress, or floor, staring at my bank account praying for imaginary funds to come through — after much prayer and supplication, I found a part time job. A part time job that works perfectly around my internship schedule with two more kind and understanding supervisors to add to the list of the ones I will always be eternally grateful for.
It is December 31st, New Years Eve, my absolute favorite holiday for reasons I could elaborate on for far too long, enough to warrant a blog post of its own honestly. The prospect of 2018 is both terrifying and exhilarating to me. Terrifying because my dreams are within my grasps and the reality of failing is just as terrifying as the possibility for unbelievable success. I am exhilarated because I like to believe the life God has always planned for me is starting to take shape, one puzzle piece at a time. I can’t predict the future and I won’t pretend to have an inkling of what is even going to happen tomorrow. What I will say is that I am actively aware of the fact that I am entering into 2018 with a blindfold, prepared to free fall into the endless possibilities, because if 2017 has taught me anything it’s that I will by no means always get what I want (if ever), but I will always find myself with exactly what I need: from the people who said the words I needed to hear, the money that magically came to me in desperate times, the friends who made me laugh all the while, and the mentors who have supported me through everything. I don’t think any means of “thank you,” will ever be enough but I promise to prove myself to be everything you have believed me to be capable of.
I’m sorry for the exceptionally long-winded post but I just want to say Happy New Years!! I hope 2018 proves to be everything you need it to be and more.