Put the U in You

Writer’s Café — Submitted by Peter MacQuarrie — 

Chances are you find it challenging to be disabled. But the U in you is where you need to focus effort. Everyone on Earth will experience difficulties in life. Some are small; some are huge. No matter your limitations, I am here to encourage you to be successful. The word nay can come from any direction, and it can come from a friend or foe. I’ve witnessed it. I’ve lived it.

The U side of your personality will empower you to aim for the heavens.

My job history has a few painful spots. However, it made me grow as a good person.

Discrimination lays in wait. It is true. My work experiences range from good to awful. I’ve been fired twice because I am disabled. Once from a grocery store. Once from a newspaper. At the grocery store, my manager was unhappy with my limp. He made fun of me by telling me how I should walk. I permitted the misery to take place. After three days of harassment, he fired me. At the newspaper, I submitted a light work duty notice and got fired. My supervisor exploded in a child-like tantrum, and then I received my last paycheck. How’s that for workplace stress?

Yes, I had the right to pursue action in a court. And maybe, just maybe, I regret letting them have their way. But I was young and inexperienced with the law. Don’t ever allow it to happen to you. When an employer mistreats, discriminates or mocks you, fightback and stop it.

My disability in life began at conception. I have a rare genetic disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), also called Brittle Bone Disease. OI is an inherited condition characterized by severe weakness of the bones. It can range in severity; mine is mild. Some children with Osteogenesis Imperfecta die at a young age. I broke both the tibia and the fibula in my left leg at the age of two years old. It happened while a played with a neighborhood friend. She pushed me as I climbed out the rear of my father’s parked pickup truck. When I hit the pavement, my leg broke. I underwent numerous surgeries when I was a child. Fortunately for myself, I can walk with the aid of a leg brace. However, I was never allowed to participate in sports or physical education class. My orthopedic doctor explained I risked amputation if my leg broke again. Thus, my boyhood dream of being a professional baseball player passed me by, and I became what I am today, a freelance writer.

God has given us abilities. Some people are painters, and some people are poets, some people are musicians, and some people are comedians. I’ve noticed successful personality traits show their face at a young age. While I couldn’t play professional baseball, I turned my energy towards being creative. My imagination is robust and nonstop. And, I learned how to focus it on the positives. So, I decided to pursue being creative.

When I was young, my mother encouraged me to aim high. She believed I could do anything I chose to do. While in junior high school, I wrote a motion picture script. Not knowing exactly how to be successful in Hollywood, I submitted my science fiction story to Warner Brothers and other studios. My film script was returned unread. So, I didn’t feel discouraged or defeated, and I continued forever onward. Nor should you feel defeated or discouraged!

Now let me tell you something about yourself. I don’t know you, so how exactly can I tell you something I don’t know? If you keep reading this, you will find out I do know something about you. No matter who you are, no matter what your disability is, you have something about you everyone else knows too. It is the U in you. And the U stands for unique.

If you want to do something no one else has ever done before, you should be the real you. While some people chose to hate us because we have a disadvantage, you need to bring out the U in you. Don’t worry about getting there, don’t worry about the time it takes, don’t worry about the difficulties you face, focus on the passion and drive within U. The world is yours; the love for your career is yours, and the ability God gave you is real. Listen not to those who say, nay. Only listen to the ones who have gone the distance. Experience speaks volumes.

I’ve said it before, “If you want to know what it is like to walk on the Moon, you need to ask an astronaut.” If you want to be successful and writing novels, you ask a novelist for advice. If you’re going to be a successful brain surgeon, you ask a neurosurgeon how to become one. If you want to be a successful race car driver, you ask a professional driver. Bad advice is affordable, but it will slow you down.

When I was in my last year of high school, someone gave me bad advice. It made no sense, so I knew it to be nothing but just bad advice. It was about the publishing industry. He had absolutely no work experience in the field. So how could he really argue?

“You need an agent to get published, and you need to get published to have an agent,” he said.

Call that reversed logic!

“That makes no sense,” I answered.

“It’s a catch, twenty-two,” he said.

“According to your logic, no one will ever get published,” I replied.

“That’s what they say,” he said.

Are the people he’s quoting misinformed? See my point and learn my friend.

I have more than 100 works in print. They are mostly smaller magazines. But it is the U in me. I’ve known other writers who are shy of such success because they listen to the word nay. When I started to gain traction as a freelance writer, someone attempted to discourage me. He was negative, and a bit jealous. If I had taken it personally, and wanted to be friends with him, my passion would have died. Instead, I continued onward with my own U. The U in you should also be confident.

No matter how big your dream is, no matter how much time it takes, no matter how patient you need to be, no matter how crazy or impossible it seems to be to the rest of the world, you can reach your goal. It will take wisdom, time, education, effort, determination and skills, but you can succeed at it.

Be unique, and that means being yourself. Be U.

Peter MacQuarrie is an enigma. He lives in a darkling forest of Northern California. During the day, Peter explores the shadows of the giant redwood trees. During the night he explores the starry sky.

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