Dreams are fascinating. There are people who don’t let themselves experience their full potential because of fear which takes many different shapes in all of us – be it fear of disappointment, fear of failure, fear of the unknown, even fear of success. Then there are those who live to chase their dreams and reach for hope. Against every fiber of my being, I choose to be the latter. Even though my mind is constantly racing and overthinking, I’m really a dreamer at heart, a stubborn girl who follows her gut instead of letting her thoughts take over. But I do believe we have a choice in the matter: we can choose fear or we can choose to dream.
As a child, my world told me that feelings were a sign of weakness. You’re French, so you keep your composure. But I was a ball of emotions and dreams, pushed deep down. To relieve some of the emotional pressure I hadn’t been allowed to express, I turned to writing. It became my escape – a way to unload the heaviness of my mind. For the longest time, I didn’t share my writing with anyone. Those words were private little odes to the most vulnerable corners of my mind and the universe. Vulnerability made me uneasy, so I wrote solely for myself, hoping that one day I’d be brave enough to share my words with the world, and become an author.
As I got older, my dreams and love for writing stayed constant. When my son, Charlie, was diagnosed with autism, I felt like a prisoner in my own emotional fortress. I was only able to express my overwhelming feelings in text – it was freeing. But this time, instead of writing just for me, I shared my thoughts on a blog. The positive response from strangers took me by surprise. It was hard to believe that my words were not only healing for me, but for others as well. It inspired me to write the book I’d been dreaming of for so long.
As I sat down for the first time to write All Across The Spectrum, I felt hope. I couldn’t help but smile remembering my five-year-old self daydreaming about becoming an author. I typed the first word and knew right then that I wasn’t going to give up until this book became a physical object. After many late nights and lots of research, I had put together a book proposal I was eager to share with literary agents. My dream was coming to life and it felt incredible.
Sadly, the rejections came flooding in, and I started doubting myself. The people closest to me thought my dreams of being an author might be a bit premature – they tried to soften the rejections to protect my tender heart from disappointment. I couldn’t help but wonder if they were right. Was I living in a fantasy world? Deep down I knew I could do this, so I kept pushing. Some of the most successful authors, like J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, and Agatha Christie were rejected dozens of times before having their first manuscript published, and it gave me hope. I held on to this when the weight of the rejections was too heavy to bear.
Fast forward six months after writing the first words of All Across The Spectrum, and something unexpected happened – life put someone in my path who believed in me and my book. I was so used to being the only one to believe in my dreams that having someone like that working with me was that much more special. I didn’t feel alone in the journey anymore, and that gave me wings. Before I knew it, we found a publisher. I rarely felt as happy as I did on the day I got the phone call that Thought Catalog wanted to see my book come to life. I was on cloud nine.
All I had to do now was to finish my manuscript. The outline and foundation for the words were there, I just had to keep writing, pour it all out on the paper, and finish the story. But the process of finishing the manuscript was emotionally draining. I went through periods of writing non-stop, even waking up in the middle of the night to open my computer, dim the light, and type soft but there were also periods of emptiness, and doubt when I couldn’t get a word out. There were moments of fear – that silly little thing that creeps up in all of us far too often. How will people react? What about negative feedback? And the next day I would feel pure bliss because I couldn’t believe I was actually writing a book that was going to be a physical object.
The past year has been one of the hardest and yet most freeing of my life. On any given day I could feel inspired, lonely, powerful, sad, brilliant, unworthy, loved, or completely empty. It was a struggle to stay focused, eye on the prize and I had to fight away doubts daily. In the end, I had a choice: choose fear or choose your dream.
Next to me, right now, sits my finished work, my biggest dream, my book. I don’t know what the future holds for All Across The Spectrum, but I’m so proud of myself for not giving up, and pouring my heart out for all to see. I hope this book will help educate, entertain, and remind people that they’re not alone. Because all you need is someone to believe in you, and at the end of the day – that person is you.