Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Things I Finally Said...

We all have them—the regrets from not speaking up when we should have. And some of these stick with us long after the fact and we still wonder what would have happened if we had. How would things be different today?
I usually say exactly what's on my mind, even when I really should have applied a filter. Paradoxically, when things really matter, when there is something of importance to be lost or gained, I tend to lose my voice. 

My debut novel “One Day This Will All Make Sense” was heavily inspired by my own experience working for—and ultimately being fired from—a large company in Los Angeles. The events surrounding and leading up to my termination, made what is usually a traumatic experience for most, even more so. One I don’t wish on anyone.

How Could I Have Let This Happen?

For quite some time after being fired, I walked around wondering how it all had happened. It was a dark time in my life and because I had a hard time finding a new job, I obsessed over trying to understand where exactly I went wrong. I tried to make sense of it by tracing my steps and recounting the few short months I had been employed at the company. 

But more than anything I needed an explanation as to how people I thought were good people could behave so badly and how I had driven them to doing so. And I came to one conclusion: I was too scared of speaking up by going my boss’ boss. I beat myself up over this for months and months and was sure I could have prevented the termination.

So from not having had the guts to properly speak up when it happened, I instead went on to write a novel. It didn’t just help me work through the pain and humiliation. But more importantly, I got what I had been looking for over a year: an explanation.

The Other Side of the Story

After the release of my novel, various people from my old job reached out to me. I found out things that made me realize what happened was doomed to happen eventually, and that I should be happy I am not longer there. They simply weren’t the people I thought they were and I hadn’t really lost anything of importance or worth.

This applies to most things. When you don’t speak up, you give no chance to find out the other side of the story. Perhaps someone hurt you and you’ve walked around with resentment when all along, there may have been a simple explanation that makes it feel less hurtful. Or maybe he/she (you know who they are) actually did feel the same way and would have said yes if you asked them out. 

To get the other side of the story, you have to reveal your side. And you don’t need to write a novel to do that.

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