How Discontent Helped Me Transform My Life

Franca Gimenez
Franca Gimenez

Last year was a pivotal year for me. It may have been the best year of my life because I’ve finally achieved something I’ve always dreamed of: getting my writing published and having people (other than my friends) read it. Even though these accomplishments may seem small or insignificant to some people, their impact on me is much more profound than anyone could even imagine and I am about to tell you why.

I discovered my love for writing when I was 14. I was going through a hard time and found no one to talk to who could understand what I was going through, so I resorted to my notebooks. I started with my high school notebooks. I would write what I’m feeling, my problems and how I plan to deal with them and I would write down what I would say word by word. Slowly but surely, I found it just made me feel so much better, it didn’t fix anything but it was therapeutic, just to be able to write it all down and feel like I can say what I truly want without filtering or pretending healed me in some way. Eventually, my notebooks turned into journals, and my journals turned into diaries, and my writing turned from being a sporadic habit to a daily ritual. So I started getting creative, I started writing poems, scripts and dialogues, I even wrote songs! (I don’t plan on sharing these with anyone, and save myself the embarrassment).

I was discontented with my life, so I started finding solace in writing.

When I turned 22 I realized I have so many notes and diaries and poems that are just stored either under my bed or on my computer. I started sharing some of them with my closest friends, until one of them suggested I start a blog and share some of them. At first I was hesitant, but I wanted to test my writing on a somewhat larger scale. So I started a blog back then sharing some of my poems and my thoughts on certain topics. People responded positively to it (and by people I mean my Facebook friends) but I just wasn’t feeling it, and I felt like I was sharing the most personal stuff that I became an open book to everyone, and at that time I liked someone who wasn’t a big fan of my writing, so I deleted my blog and stopped sharing my notes altogether, I also stopped writing. I felt like it should be more of a hobby than a lifestyle, after all if you are not a bestselling author, you are just like any other “wannabe writer” chasing a dream that may or may not happen.

I was discontented with the feeling of being too exposed. 

Two years later, I was really bored and tired of my field and the tedious jobs that suck the life out of me, I was feeling uninspired and demotivated day in and day out. Even though my job has some fun aspects, I felt like it wasn’t giving me any sort of fulfillment. Every day was a daunting experience, work was literally suffocating me. Everyone kept asking me what is your passion? What do you like to do the most? What do you think you are talented in? My answer to all these questions was always writing! So I decided to give it another shot- take 2-a blog, shared with my Facebook friends again, I tried to avoid writing personal things this time, but it felt empty. I felt like this is not how I want to write, hating the blog more and more each day-same story, different year. Until I was left with no money and a mediocre blog. Again, I deleted the blog and went back to the corporate world once again.

I was discontented with the quality of my writing and discontented with my inability to make my dreams come true.

The same thing happened again last year, and I decided if I don’t do something about my writing-anything really, I will be stuck in an eternal life of discontent. I decided to try something different this time, I didn’t start another blog, I decided to write a book! I wrote one in 9 months, I poured everything about my life on paper and all what I’ve been through in this book. I think I poured myself in this book. But I didn’t do anything with it, I continued working and I would occasionally read the book and make some edits. I looked for publishers and sent it to some of my friends to read it and then I realized I don’t have an audience to publish a book, I don’t know if people would like my style of writing, I don’t know if my friends are the right judge of my writing.

I was discontented with my audience and with myself at this point. 

So I decided to start small and send out some articles to different online magazines, in hopes someone would pick them up. I have tried doing that before and no one got back to me and some of my previously sent articles were rejected. But for some magical reason, this time they got accepted. One after another, until I was finally able to publish a fair number of articles and have the title “writer” or “contributor” added next to my name, something I’ve always dreamed of. The articles got good feedback and maybe a couple of hundred shares. I thought it couldn’t get any better than this. People who don’t know me are actually reading, liking and SHARING my article! It just couldn’t get any better than this!

But apparently, it could! While I was coming up with ideas for my next article, I wrote a very personal one about a previous relationship, at first, I was very hesitant to publish it because of how private or sensitive it was, and I was very vulnerable at that time, I just didn’t want to remind myself and everyone of that phase in my life. I sent it to my best friend first and she encouraged me to publish it and told me it was the best one I’ve written so far and that part of being a good writer is to share my personal stories without reservations, so I followed her advice and published it. (I can’t thank her enough for that)

What happens next is still a surprise to me to and probably will be forever. The article was a huge hit, in less than 3 days it bumped up to 19,000 shares, and I was getting random messages from people I don’t know telling me how much they loved it, how much it helped them get closure and how it touched them somehow. Then another article topped the charts and the messages kept coming. I still can’t believe it. I know to some people this is insignificant because I am still not on the bestseller’s list, but to me this is HUGE. It is everything I’ve been asking for and dreaming of. Looking back at those journals, diaries, poems, and notes I had, thinking that no one will ever see them or acknowledge them, the disappointment that came each time I deactivated my blog, the rejection letters from other websites who thought my articles were not good enough, the people who made fun of me for wanting to be a writer, all came to me like a flashback scene.

For the first time I saw the progress that my discontent had spawned. 

I know I am still not a bestselling author, but I touched someone’s heart, I made someone think differently or get closure or reconsider a certain relationship or just someone who read my words and was moved by it. To the world this may mean nothing, but to me this means everything, this is what I’ve always wanted and this is what I believe my “job” should be. Just these comments or shares mean more to me than any other reward or promotion I’ve ever gotten. I’ve always wanted to feel like what I am doing is meaningful and has a direct impact on someone’s life. I know that not everyone will be a fan of my writing, and I may or may make it on the bestsellers list but I feel like I am on the right path at least, a path that makes me content about what I am doing.

If it wasn’t for my discontent, I would’ve stayed stuck in a job I loathed wondering what life looks like on the other side.

Had I neglected the frustrated and the discontented voices in my head, I would’ve never transformed my life in a way that makes me look forward to tomorrow.

Discontent is the first necessity of progress and the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. I want to be able to look back on my life and say I tried to reach the 1,000 miles of my journey, I tried to finish every mile. Whether I make it to 1,000 miles or not, I am happy I took a few steps and I want to keep taking more steps and keep accumulating miles. I hope my story inspires people, I hope I make someone happy, and if this is truly my calling, if this is what I am born to do, if this is my message on this earth, I hope I deliver it in the best way possible. But more than anything, I hope I always listen to my discontent because this is where the magic begins. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Rania Naim

Writing makes me feel alive. Words heal me.

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