What has to happen to make sincere dreams come true? Should it be effort and planning or just visualization and daydreaming? Let’s see how real dreams work and where they can lead on the sample of the moment in my life full of rueful feelings and contradictory emotions.
At first, I would like to introduce myself, my name is Nika Lark and I live in the east of the USA, Virginia Beach that is placed on the coast of the Atlantic ocean. Perhaps my parents wanted to see me a winner and leader in life as my name originates from the word “Victory” in Greek. And in fact, I am an only and long-awaited child.
And I had always wanted to be a writer, admired them, these gifted and delicate creatures. By reading a bunch of novels I imagined how it would be like once I wrote numerous pages of my first novel and could be favorite novelist among my countrymen, or at least neighborhood. I can’t say I am that ambitious, on the contrary, I’d rather hide my face and write my pseudonym. But, anyway it’s every time exciting to be recognizable and feel the people’s love!
Thus, my story starts with one chilly spring evening when I was walking on the pathway next to the ocean and pondering on the near future which was ahead of me. I vividly remember that it was late May, and I was excited to finish my school by passing my last exam. I was waving to the passengers on the board and smiling to myself. I was too emotional not to hide my joy and triumph.
I was sitting on the bench near the tree and thought for a while that there was still a chance for me to choose the profession that will be my future career notwithstanding the wish of my parents.
Indeed, it was really hard for me to make a decision if there was any as I was grown in a military family that goes deep back to many generations with military background. As a matter of fact, my own mother, a loving and wise woman was a retired sergeant.
“You can’t go against our family”, said calmly my mom taking my hands in hers and giving me a sharp look.
And added, “Our great-great-grandfather himself was a colonel and his will before death was to proceed dynasty of military officers!”
“But I don’t want. I don’t feel like binding my life with all the military things and army”, I replied in a fit of anger freeing my hand. “More than that I want to be a novelist”.
“Nika, don’t you see that a writer is not a profession and it will not give you stable income. You need something more serious. I sincerely wish you all the best in our world, my darling. I want to be confident in your future”, insisted my mother.
“For a person being passionate about what they do there is no problem with finance as they are always in demand! All their works are just unique and brilliant and come from heart. So, I am sure there will not be any problem for me, I will write day and night, I will show the people another world, the world of a young lady with lots to say”, I declared in one breath.
“My silly little thing, I was dreaming of you, my wanted child. For many years I was praying for you, my beauty. Who else but me understands you, your feelings, the way you suffer! But this time you should postpone your dream as the career decision is vital and will have an impact on all of us. By a twist of fate you are the only bearer of the family name. Be a smart girl, follow my advice, don’t upset your father. He loves you so much”, strictly and soothingly ended mother.
Mom’s words fell upon me like a thunder and literally pierced my brain not giving me a rest. Besides, many pieces of advice came one by one from my multiple kinfolk to choose this or that military institution in their states or even abroad. In long run, I made up my mind to enter Virginia Military Institute, taking into account that it was located in the same state. Perhaps as I was pressed much and had little chance to have my own choice I entered military institution. Alas, what one can go against strong family with rooted traditions? Just nothing. Sigh.
But I had always wanted to be a well-known writer, it was my secret, inner dream, which I hid deep inside of me. In fact, there are good reasons why I didn’t haste to share my emotional sufferings and expectations before. Moreover, I was a bit superstitious which is pretty understandable thanks to my tender female nature and soul. At the truth, I liked writing essays on various themes, however, the most favorite one was tied with the world of literature.
During my studies at the institute I spent free hours reading lots of books, they were classical and historical novels and short stories mainly by both local and foreign writers.
Day by day, I realized that it was my mission to share ideas, thoughts and feelings with the world. I really felt that step by step I was coming nearer to my dream, that at long last turned into the dream of my life.
After a while, my dream gained material cover. My works were repeatedly praised and given a high evaluation among experienced writers, who marked my inborn gift in writing. They really believed in me and saw me as a popular writer in days to come. I heartily appreciate that attitude and will never forget their support and warmth!
The last day in military institution came, somewhat surprisingly finished it with honors. On the one hand, it was certainly expected giving credit to my diligent and hardworking nature. But, on the other hand, it wasn’t mine, it was just tribute to fashion and wish of my extended family. But I anyway I managed to do it as I was brought up as a highly disciplined person.
And I remember my dad’s words as if it were today, “Never do things by halves”. And he was right to a larger extent. Maybe that saying of his (I believe it was his life motto as he repeated it millions times) helped him to become a top military officer and authoritative personality in the neighborhood and far beyond. Young military officers were held up him as an example. To tell you the truth, I am really proud of him.
In the long run, the career of a judge was round the corner owing to my excellent academic background and support of the family.
One day, right after the graduation party I came home broken and exhausted. I felt as if something really terrible had happened to me. All of a sudden, at the party I felt lonely in the crowd of my dear group mates, as if my true life journey was different, as if I made a wrong decision by choosing not close to my heart profession, as if I did something wrong, as if I betrayed my girlish dream. I was a step behind the deep depression, didn’t know what to do with myself, and locked in my room having no appetite and sleep. My skin darkened, I lost my weight, my all look was miserable and pitiful.
Indeed, it took some time, perhaps three weeks to come to my senses. And it happened after the nightmare I saw. I was dreaming of the books falling to my head and flying together with lots of pens and the storm of wind full of human mourning all around me. So, I woke up all in sweat and horror squeezing tightly the blanket and whispering the words of prayer. It was a sign I thought and decided to change my life dramatically.
My dearest parents wished badly to return me back to real life. And I can say at the end of the day all their efforts paid off. But my poor parents had to agree on my decision to start completely another career. I know it sounds silly to change professional path right after successful completion of the military institute but I was determined and no one could stop me.
The first thing I made was my visit to the local newspaper’s editorial office and talk with the chief. It was hard without any qualifications and work experience to get the job there. But I was stubborn and showed him some of my essays and drafts, moreover, expressed genuine interest in joining their office… and I got my job.
Certainly, it was not what I really needed, in fact, they offered me the vacant place of an intern. But anyway, one could only guess how excited I was as it was one of the happiest moments in my life!
The following day I hurried to go to the new job hardly having a bite of the morning breakfast carefully made by my mother. Indeed, my parents were the bright sample of a truly traditional family having breakfast, dinner and supper at a fixed time.
The first day and week were the most stressful ones as I got accustomed to both the editorial work and writing that was never done by me professionally. I read bulks of special literature on the theme, explored the internet. Besides, I found myself having the preference for reading the detectives. It was a real challenge to follow the thread of events in the book and try to guess what comes next.
More than that, I enjoyed witty presentation of the events filled with the sense of humor and spent evenings laughing out loud and at the same time being sympathetic by reading detective stories about inspectors and citizens and all their unusual situations.
Day by day, week by week I was turning into a more experienced, mature correspondent and … detective writer. I started publishing my novels little by little, and to note…they were sold off. Besides self-satisfaction and fame of a writer my publications had practical application among attorneys helping to plead their causes.
One day I woke up a famous novelist of not only my state, but also the whole country…all as I dreamt of. I came up to my mom and burst out crying but those were tears of happiness. My dream to engage my life with the pen, becoming a well-known writer came true. It means that those hard three weeks were spent not for nothing, my inner angel protected me from conducting grey days by going to unloved work and talking on uninteresting job issues.
That is all for now, and other stories are coming soon. In this narrative I wanted to share my personal sad and at the same time happy experience of being passionate and loyal to my dream.
Just don’t betray your dream, don’t give up and go ahead no matter how complicated life sometimes is. Because dreams do come true at times, you should believe in yourself and never give up following your personal calling!
4 December 2017
Photo: from Malika Mursalimova’s archive