It was raining but only my eyes were wet. It was glossy, puffy and red. My eyes wasn’t the only thing red though, because my nose could pass for a duplicate of that of Rudolf the red nose reindeer’s.
Sitting beside me was someone who was more of a sister and most of a friend. I had sent in my book to a publisher for the 13th time but I still got rejected. The truth about rejection is that no one knows when it will come, most times we are caught unawares and we are almost never taught of how to deal with rejection. As if that was not enough, the magazines that published my flash fictions have refused to pay me. This was my 6th year as a writer and nothing to show for it.
Wiping my tears with the back of my hand I looked at her, but she kept mute. As distant as a remote tropical island she later began to speak“ Years back when I wrote my jamb the third time, on checking up my score on the jamb website, I burst into tears. You know the old tradition of widows been asked to sit in a corner all day and do nothing but cry for their husbands. That I did but for my result. To make matters worse I was home alone that day, so I cried my retinas out.
Do you know the most heart wrenching part?” She asked me.
Fighting my own tears I shook my head. “ That jamb score was my ticket out of depression, my mates were years ahead of me and that hurt so bad.
I cried till evening like it was an eight to five day job. My mum came home in the evening and met me crying and these were her words “why are you crying?” Now I think of it, It felt like a mild scolding . “stop crying and wipe your tears, why will you cry over jamb, if you fail again you will write again”.
I was puzzled and slightly pissed, blinking like an albino under the sun, I struggled with my tears as it clouded my vision and stared at her like she had grown two heads. For a woman who came home to a crying daughter, that was definitely not what I expected her to say.
I wondered how she could say something like that to me, I was three classes behind and I was so ashamed of myself. She patted my back and left.
I never understood why my mother had said such until recent times. Without knowing she had instilled in me the spirit of resilience. Life has given me a whole lot of reasons to quit but I remained headstrong. Remember when I was in my 2nd year, a list emerged. A list of students with fake admission and just like that am out of school, or you remember the time during the final year exam my house was razed down and I lost everything including my credentials. I am still bearing the brunt of that incidence till date.
She held unto the sides of her dress like it was a memory then asked again “do u know the biggest not so true cliché quote? she went on. DETERMINATION LEADS TO SUCCESS. That is the biggest lie I have heard. They say it like you have to be determined just once then you succeed almost Immediately. Determination does not lead to success most times, it leads to failure, failure, failure, failure as many as… before success.
Accepting to take up a task is accepting to fail first because at times we come last but we really did our best. Have you ever stopped to wonder how Thomas Edison had felt in his 100th or 400th attempt to make an electric bulb, only to be successful on 1000th ,or how J.K Rowling felt when the 7th publishing house rejected her book about a small wizard boy(Harry Potter), telling her how the book will never be a success, only for her to be accepted by the 12th .
It takes strength to keep being determined because atimes we can get tired. It’s okay to cry because last I checked we all are humans with emotions, but what matters most is what we do after the crying. She helped me wipe me my tear stricken face. Staring at her I draw strength from her words and that of her mother’s. Indeed if I fail again I will write again and again and again for as long as, for where my failure stops is where my success begins and that is the true definition of determination.
Arueze Chisom Precious, a passionate writer can be reached through email@example.com