I remember packing up my desk and carrying everything I'd accumulated, two green folders, a black ink pen, and a small list of contacts on a post-it pad, in my few weeks of working for the newspaper. The editor had just called me into his office to tell me that he second-guessed his decision of hiring me to cover hard news. He said my stories were too empathetic and "flowery" and I struggled to get to the facts which is all the readers needed to know. Perhaps it was of little to no importance what the jail cell smelled like or sounded like, but if I was going to tell the story, I wanted my readers to be right there with me, in every moment.
The moment I got in my car, I cried a river of failure, and sailed on that turbulent body of water for years.
Every interview, every writing opportunity, I was reminded by myself of how unsure I was of my writing worth. Baggage. That's what I'd started packing and bringing with me every place I took my pen. In my baggage I claimed that I wasn't ever going to find my audience. In that same bag was fear and frustration and a flight of purpose that was grounded from carrying too much weight.
A few years ago, after silencing my inward struggle, I decided to take a "Writing Your Memoirs" course. From the first hour, my pen flowed as though it was just waiting on me to hold it upright and believe. I've never looked back. I never questioned myself again. I no longer go to baggage claim; nothing there has my name on it.