Defying Gravity: Friendships, Becoming a Writer and Not Playing by the Rules

by Leila on October 31, 2012

When I was a little girl I dreamed of becoming a writer.

Actually… I wanted to live off the grid and own acres of beautiful lush storybook land where I could escape the insanity of the world and create one of my own. When we traveled on road trips I would stare out the window for hours dreaming of the adventures I would create in my own backyard. I wanted to be free in my own way and if I could write to support that then it would be my own little utopia.

All I was ever told was how impossible it was to become a writer and make money from it. It was a hobby – not a career. I was discouraged but I still kept writing for myself.

Then that dream changed and I became a bit of a young entrepreneur. My dreams on becoming a writer started to fade and were replaced with this determination I had for business. As a strong, independent and defiant young girl I wanted to be some sort of power figure in the working world… while vacationing to that storybook land that was still my escape in my own dreams.

I tried to focus on what I was always told I had to do in order to be successful. Well, I think that lasted in elementary school.

I’m through with playing by the rules of someone else’s game…

When I was a teenager I hated school but I loved to learn. I usually had terrible grades but I knew more than most of my peers. I remember one class where my teacher loathed me and would constantly tell me I wasn’t going to amount to anything because my grades sucked. I remember purposely failing a history test and when he passed it back to me he mocked me for another bad grade. I stood up in front of him and the entire class and talked about that lesson plan in it’s entirety with details not even given in our history book. I ended it saying his bullshit test did not determine my intelligence but should be an indicator on how shitty of a teacher he is since he doesn’t challenge me by simply filling in some multiple choice bubbles. I walked right out of his classroom into detention. I did everything I could to piss him off because… well, I couldn’t tell you at this point.

I was kind of a pain in the ass.

The class after his was my English teacher who was an inspiration to me and she also adored me. I got nothing but praise and encouragement from her so she got nothing but my complete awesomeness. My grades were perfect in her class and she often used my writing and creativity as examples in her classes. She used to tell me that my writing could change lives, inspire people and I could really make a name for myself.

I would told her I thought she was crazy and that writers like me would always be struggling and muted amongst those that were seemingly perfect.

I was an ultimate screw up. My childhood was messed up. I was the weird kid who became the insane rebellious teenager. I didn’t have a support system. I was already defined by a mold I never wanted. I became a young Mom of a child with life threatening health issues. Everything seemed to play against me. I made constant bad decisions with family, friends and my fading career.

I’ve always been okay with all of this.

Where did all of this come from today? Because my friend Meghann posted this on my Facebook timeline and said, “Next Halloween… we just need to do it.”

I’m the green one and she is the adorable happy annoying one!

Together we’re unlimited…

When Meghann saw Wicked the Musical she texted me immediately telling me it was the story of us. I pictured her as Gaaaalinda… that overly social/popular and often obnoxious ray of sunshine who seemed to have her superficial priorities a little screwed up but was happy no matter what. Then I compared that to me – the one who has a long list of failed attempts at doing great things only to fall flat, always trying to do what is the right thing but is seen in the most negative light, who’s temper and mouth got me in trouble and feeling like the cards are always against me.

Yup, that would be us. I hate when she is right especially when it involves me being the witch.

We met on a parenting forum and I arranged a park playdate with local members so we could all meet her in person. They say that first impressions define a friendship right? Well, when Meghann walked up with her daughter in the car seat the first words out of my mouth were… “Uh, Meghann?” she nodded… and I said, “You aren’t black!?”

She looked at me like I was insane, “Uh… no. And you aren’t either???” Her face was priceless. She was so angry, confused and stunned.

I still laugh out loud thinking about it!

Her avatar picture on the forum was dark and far away. Her and I had talked about being mixed races. I’m half Japanese and Caucasian. For some reason I thought she was Hawaiian and African American and instead of explaining it like that I got my typical diarrhea of the mouth.

Obviously, I do need a personality dialysis.

She loves to tell people that story and how much of a jackass I came off as. She continued to hang out with me so what does that say about her? Ha!

There was a time when her and I were inseparable and seemed to be on the same path. Our babies were close in age and we did everything together. We were both dealing with a lot of shit in life that we leaned on one another through it. I’m thankful for all the times she was there for me and would always drop anything to be there for her.

Then life changed and we started going in two different directions. She wanted to go back to work and I’d develop business plans for her based on her skills and experience. She’d look at me like I was crazy and I’d look at her like she was nuts for not being an entrepreneur. She started happily working full-time and I continued to focus on my freelancing. She wanted this picture perfect life with a perfect dude and stable working career and I was like blahblahblahblahblah I’m tired of that game. I still loved her. We were just so different.

It was also during a time where I was trying to make something happen when I had a lot of pressure just to get back out in the working world and get that nine to five. The security and stability was supposed to be more alluring than my ambitions. It was but it just couldn’t be.

I kept marching on with that same defiant step that marched my ass into detention… and I felt like I was getting the same results.


Defying Gravity: It’s time to trust my instincts. Close my eyes: And Leap

When I was driving back from Lake Tahoe (an annual family reunion) I was listening to the Wicked Soundtrack and I thought of Meghann. When Defying Gravity came on it hit me in a different way than it did before.

I was looking at the same landscape I used to daydream about when I was a kid where I created adventures for us.

I was writing and starting to make things happen with it.

I was taking all my business ambition and making it into something of my own.

Despite the negativity, the mold that was created for me, the cards I had been dealt and the seemingly impossible road I decided to take it was finally coming together.

A lifetime of refusing to accept limits and allowing anyone to pull me down.

I was defying gravity in every way I looked and more than I ever dreamed possible.

Okay I’m not a famous author, I get by financially and I’m not making a huge mark on the world. But, I’m making it my own and in my own way.

I was told that I wouldn’t be seen past my jackass exterior for the intelligent, professional and resourceful person I am.

I was told I wouldn’t be able to become a writer.

I was told that I’d have to be a certain type of blogger and needed to be less… me… to be one of the “popular” ones.

I was told all the things I wouldn’t be able to do and I was doing them.

There in my truck, the kids sleeping in the back seat and me blasting Defying Gravity as we went through Bishop I started crying.

I don’t like to cry.

But I couldn’t help it. I was happy and sad and overwhelmed and freaking the hell out because I’m used to things falling to shit. I felt like as soon as I was happy it would all fall to pieces. I would lose this soaring feeling I found and crash land harder than I ever have.

It all wasn’t complete.

I still have so much more to accomplish but in that moment I was finally able to pat myself on the back a little bit.

Everyone deserves the chance to fly…

Despite our polar opposite differences she was always the first person I went to when I need to talk. When I wanted to figure out how to get things back on track with my ex and my step kids she was the first I talked to. We had been through so much and she was there every step of it. Again I was dealing with a situation where I felt like it was impossible to make right. That is when our opposites help balance things out. She gave me some kind of sappy crap speech about him always being the love of my life and how it always comes back to me not being able to move on because of it.

I’m thankful for that sappy crap speech.

By the way… another example of how different Meghann and I are is the fact that when I hear Defying Gravity I think of us and when she hears Popular she thinks of me. Jerkface.

During a recent conversation her and I had she told me that when things get bad for her she looks at what I’m doing and takes comfort knowing that it can get better.


I never looked at my situation and felt that way. I see it and just see the struggles, screw ups, moments of insanity and wondering what the hell I was thinking for taking the harder road.

I often long for something easier, stable and typical.

Then I am reminded that I wouldn’t be happy with that. I’m not ashamed of my choices. I live with very little regrets. I come with a crapton of moments of WTFuckery that I probably should want to undo.

But, I’m living and loving every moment of it even when it gets really bad.

I’m going to continue to write and work towards becoming a writer. I already have been. It’s just time to really push it in the directions I need to.

Yes, it all may fall to shit. I am probably going to fail a lot more times than I will succeed. I’m expecting a lot of bumps, bruises and breaks along the way. I’m going to have moments where I just want to give up…

But I’m going to keep on ninja kicking to happiness.

We have this one life to make the most of it. We have all sorts of obstacles, doubts and storms of negativity telling us to keep our feet firmly planted. Some things you cannot change but until you try you will never know.

You can all fly… sure your fight may be a bit turbulent and the landing really bumpy but you can do it. It will be worth it.

This is officially the longest damn thing on my blog. If you made it this far I owe you a strip of bacon and a beer. Though I may eat the bacon and need the beer to quench my thirst.

About Leila DontSpeakWhinese

Leila, aka The Ninja, is the advocate for all things not whining. Parenting is fun when everyone stops b*tching! She is the Mom of a big blended family of five awesome kids. They ninja kick through life together. Oh and she is a total jackass.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

CiaoMom October 31, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Seriously lady–you do defy gravity. This was beautiful–like you….


DontSpkWhinese October 31, 2012 at 2:25 pm

@CiaoMom Thank you so much… I feel the absolute same way about you. These days I try to defy gravity with my ambitions and not do things that I used to do when I was younger… like jump off the roof into the pool. ;P


lyttmab October 31, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Leila – loved it!!!  You are a true inspiration!!! Thank you for that!
Jean Marmion


lyttmab October 31, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Leila – Thank you for that!!  You are a true inspiration!  If only we all had the balls to tell it like it is!! 
Jean Marmion


DontSpkWhinese November 1, 2012 at 10:46 am

@lyttmab Thank you so much Jean… your praise means so much to me and I hope you also find the strength 🙂


meleahrebeccah October 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm

“But I’m going to keep on ninja kicking to happiness.”
That’s because you rule!


DontSpkWhinese November 1, 2012 at 10:46 am

@meleahrebeccah Thank you!!! I don’t think I rule… though I do try to rule the world when I play Risk ;P


SeaMama October 31, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Absolutely fantastic post!! I feel this same way. I grew up in a series of horrible situations, with all the cards stacked against me. My father told me (and showed me) every chance he got how I wasn’t worth anything, how inferior I was. I was taught by the school system that the only way to succeed was to go to college, graduate college and get a “regular” job. I was told that, although I was a great writer, I would never make any money at it. 
Now years have passed, I’ve had extreme lows and extreme highs but through it all, I found myself. I found my calling and my career. I’m a writer; a paid one. I feel so high on that fact most days. 
Thanks for writing this post and letting me (and everyone else) know that there alot of us out there.


DontSpkWhinese November 1, 2012 at 10:49 am

@SeaMama This means so much to me. Thank you for stopping by and commenting… the entire system is screwed up. It’s sad. It’s not a system dedicated to helping kids find themselves and their best career paths as the system focuses on testing scores, budgets and benchmarks.
I’m so glad you were able to find yourself despite the negativity. I am also glad to know that there are a lot of us out there!


MsMeganG November 1, 2012 at 11:11 am

Well, crap. I based my whole college career on the fact that in advertising I could write and still make money. As it turns out, selling people crap they don’t need is not as uplifting as I had evisioned.
But still I write. And I get paid for it. I ain’t rich yet and I may never be, but it beats being a slave to a fat paycheck that you have to sell your soul for, don’t it?


DontSpkWhinese November 2, 2012 at 9:41 am

@MsMeganG I completely agree… I used to be so driven in business and marketing and when I came to the same conclusion it made me sick. It’s all about manipulating people into getting things they don’t need.
No paycheck is worth soul selling.


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