2023, the year I doubted myself
Sometimes you have to fall more than once to learn how to get up
I thought of many ways how to begin this writing… None seemed right. I wasn't wrong when I wrote the title, this was the year I doubted myself. A long time ago I did not lack the confidence to take a step or not take it. According to Melody (my girlfriend), my confidence was one of my virtues that made her fall in love with me and we could start our long-distance relationship. However, I spent several months in 2023 without seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Why? That is what this writing will be about, among other details.
After 4 months in Boston, the holiday season was over and my job search continued. My main focus was to continue in the book industry but in the United States. Despite still being part of Libros 787 at the time, I knew that sooner or later I would break ties with the project. I was unsuccessful no matter how much research and modifications I made to the resume throughout the search. I got to have good interviews, I even thought I had been chosen by one of the publishers, but no... “Thank you for applying,” was the email I received many times.
I had the dream of being part of the production of the books, but my reality did not match American expectations. My bachelor's degree was in Psychology, my work experience was 5 years selling books in Puerto Rico. I did not have an education based on literature or English, nor was my experience focused on any specialty within the industry. I thought that talking passionately about everything I had learned about books over the years was going to be enough and it wasn't. I talked to as many people as I could and I couldn't make much progress either. The dream turned into a nightmare and the questioning about my ability to recognize what other area I could excel in became present day by day.
I started looking for work in other areas and I didn't see any that caught my attention. Otherwise, it was that I lacked sufficient studies or experience. The symptoms of depression began to appear because of the way I expressed myself about myself, about the past and the future. I cried, I cried a lot; hit bottom more than once. I felt like a failure and a burden to Melody for not knowing what to do. My mind was completely clouded and I didn't have the energy to keep moving around talking to as many people as I could. I always have a plan for everything and, when that one doesn't work, I make another one until I can figure it out. It was at that moment that I made one of the most drastic decisions, leaving Libros 787.
After 5 years on the project, I knew the time had come to move on to a new challenge. But how do you do that when the new challenge has not been present? Blindly. Trusting. Believing. I decided to sell my shares and let go of the last thing that tied me to the past so I could move forward. Right at that moment, I began not a new job search, but a new search for myself. Exploring from a new perspective what I like and what I don't like; where I see myself and where I don't see myself. That exercise took me many months and patiently I discovered myself until I managed to recognize a new person and, at the same time, not so new in me.
I tried to get into programming, also in UX design, I took a project manager course, I offered writing and editing services, and I took a copywriting course... And in none of them did I see myself doing it in the long term. Not even writing, I wouldn't want my passion and talent to be transformed into a job. However, I learned all this by giving myself the opportunity to explore here and there. Each time I got to know a new part of myself until I came to the conclusion that after writing, the best thing I can do is listen to and help people. Even though I was in the hole, I never stopped giving a hand to anyone who asked me, whether I knew them or not.
Ironically, asking for help is not something that comes easily to me. I try to deal with my problems in the most discreet way possible, hiding behind a smile or a joke to mislead any trace of sadness that I may present. It's not until I manage to defeat evil that I can sit back and be vulnerable. Not all my loved ones knew this and they may find out today, but I want them to know that I didn't write it so they would know how bad I felt, but rather what it became. There were key people in the process with whom I had conversations at different stages and they contributed to making everything different in a positive way at the end of the year.
What would I have done without Melody? Don't know. The number of times she heard me call myself “a failure” and the same number of times she came up with words to lift my spirits, reminding me of everything I had accomplished at a young age. Expressing how proud she was of me for the different decisions I had made and emphasizing the love that is present in our home daily. That unconditional support of “we will get through this” never lost strength. I was blessed with this person that destiny in a special way put in my path.
What would I be without my mother? Mami never knew everything, but she knew enough to tell me the following: “You are not starting from 0, you are starting with experiences that you did not have before.” In addition, she always emphasized to me that everything has its time and, at that moment, I only saw time slipping out of my hands. Later, she was right.
What would have happened if Janbo and Angelisse weren't there? Of all my close friends, they were the only ones I wanted to bother with my feelings. By giving me my space and listening to me, they helped me resume my professional career. You know someone is paying attention to you when their questions and answers reflect it. I will be eternally grateful to them.
With all that being said, I want to show you what my year turned into when there was a big part of me doubting myself.
Hikaru continued proving to be the best cat in the world.
I remember I started this newsletter in April and there are 456 subscribers so far.
I have a job, not what I want, but it helps the home financially and it's super chilling.
I will go back to school, and do my master's degree in Social Work at UConn.
I have a goddaughter, her name is Cecilia Valentina and I will give her many books.
Last but not least, I will publish my first book “El bachillerato: Donde todo y nada pasa” on January 25, 2024.
I remember on December 31, 2022, Melody and I were taking a bath together, when I asked her: “What do you expect from 2023?”. By that time, she already knew that she was accepted at Yale and her response was inclined to the new challenge that was coming to her. Then, she asked me the same thing, and I answered that life in 2023 was going to smile at me because I recognized what a good person I am. At first, life kicked me and threw me on the floor to see what I was made of. Sometimes I needed a hand to get up until I learned how to fall and how to get up on my own without it hurting. Additionally, I learned that it is never too late to start over or to achieve something. I am proud of what I became after so many falls.
Sounds like a happy ending, right? It is not because, in this case, it is the beginning of new stages.
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Thank you very much for reading me, I am grateful for it.