Encouragement for the underachiever from an underachiever

Someone just told me I was a good writer. He actually said a great writer but we don’t want to get carried away here. Let that be an encouragement to the slow learner & the underachiever never to give up on themselves or be daunted by discouragement.

After I learned to read in the 1st grade with the wonderful Miss Johnson, school was all downhill for me. From the 2nd grade to college, I was completely lost & just didn’t get how to learn that regimented way. I always felt I came in at the middle of the play. I was also helping my mom with childcare. So I flunked my way to graduation thinking myself a failure but just loving to learn.

When I was in the convent, they wouldn’t send me to college because they said I wasn’t smart enough & would instead be trained for institutional cooking. When I left that prison & applied to public university, I was matriculated in the dumb students college on probation.

But I loved writing & researching so I would study writers I liked to see how they constructed sentences & what was the architecture of written language. I learned my preference was for brevity, clarity, lack of pretension & attempts to razzle-dazzle. I never became good at college because it’s not my style of learning. Though I’ve written hundreds of things, I never thought of myself as a writer but as an activist who used writing to educate & build movements.

I tell this not for purposes of self-aggrandizement but so that young people who flounder as I did will know not to give up on yourselves but to try to find how you can also serve. Now I think of myself as a writer but with a sense of deep gratitude that I can use it to make the world a better place.