There once was a little girl who didn’t know a word of English. She immigrated with her parents to Canada when she was five. They lived in a cockroach-infested apartment next to drug addicts, prostitutes and other poor immigrants. Her parents each worked 2 jobs to keep food on the table. They lived off junk food for years because fresh ingredients were unaffordable. A baby brother came. Money got even tighter. The girl never saw her parents because they worked 13-14 hour days, 7 days a week. She was raised by a strict Chinese grandmother who was often hysterical and angry. The only thing that kept this girl happy was writing in her diary. As she grew older, it became clear to her that her biggest passion in life was writing. She wrote 310 poems and 15 short stories in high school and blogged for years. But everyone told her writers didn’t make any money. That she needed a ‘real’ dream. She was scared. She didn’t want to grow up poor like her parents. She wanted to be able to afford all the things her parents couldn’t.
Her parents wanted her to go to university to become a doctor or get a business degree. They said university would ensure she’d get a well-paying job upon graduation. They lied. Everyone she knew had a bachelor’s degrees and shitty paying jobs. Student loans and broken dreams. After four grueling years of university, this girl earned a piece of paper. She framed it, hung it up and lost it when she moved houses. $25k well wasted.
Luckily, this girl had a passion for writing and the English language. So she began tutoring immigrants young and old, people who struggled as her family once did, in a brand new country.
Years later, this girl, now a woman, met a handsome man and fell in love. They had a beautiful daughter and all was well, except it wasn’t. The woman felt aimless and terrified because she couldn’t find a job doing what she loved. She became severely depressed, and suffered from debilitating post-partum depression. She had to look after a newborn who refused to sleep, so for 1.5 years she survived off 4 hours of sleep a night.
Every day was a brutal mental struggle. None of her friends or family members knew about it. Only her husband.
The only thing that helped her was writing. So she started writing her first novel. Then her second. Then her third…Her therapist encouraged her to write more to relieve stress and find new purpose in her life.
She wrote when she was anxious, wrote when she was sad, wrote to quell her bouts of depression and keep panic attacks at bay. She wrote until she slayed her inner demons and freed herself from the shackles of self-doubt. And when she published her novels to the world, people loved them. She started to get noticed, little by little. Readers clamored for more.
Her strict Chinese family, who once told her it was impossible to earn a living as an author began changing their minds. They saw her hunger and accepted that she wasn’t going to follow their dreams for her; she was going to carve her own path.
Her husband and her friends began encouraging her to pursue her dream. And now each day, she’s getting one step closer to achieving the dream she’s had since she was in elementary school: to become a professional, full-time author.
That girl is me. My name is Jackie. I’m a 25-year-old mom, wife and author from Vancouver. Thanks for reading my story and thank you for supporting my dreams.