HORIZONS: THANK YOU!

Horizons: Thank you!

By Dr. Miriam Adahan

When Mimi Zakon asked me to write a special article for the 10th anniversary edition of Horizons, I jumped at the opportunity to give them a yasher koach and pay off a debt of gratitude. And this is not just for me, but for all of my fellow writers, those who have published and those who are potential writers.

In a sense, we are all writers. We all have stories which reverberate within our

minds, often remaining hidden and unexpressed. By sharing our stories, we get to

know each other and, even more so, get to know ourselves. HORIZONS does an

invaluable service for the community, not only in terms of providing information to

readers, but also in terms of helping women gain a sense of self-worth.

When I was in college, I took a creative writing course with a teacher I will

never forget, for he wrote at the bottom of one of my essays, “You’ll never be a

writer. You have no talent.” His words were devastating. For the next twelve years, I

did, indeed, stop writing. Paralyzed with anxiety, I was sure that if anyone read

anything I’d written, they would be similarly disparaging and contemptuous.

My self-esteem remained at rock bottom until I read a book by Dr. Abraham

Low which urged readers to be creative solely for the sake of engaging in the creative

act. Don’t try to be exceptional, he wrote, because that will lead you straight to

mental illness. Instead, strive to be average because averageness is the reality of 99%

of humanity! His philosophy of averageness freed me to accept myself as the person I

am. Since then, I’ve read numerous studies about people, and even whole

communities, who were stuck in depression until someone gave them the opportunity

to create and praised them for their works. Being in touch with that creative spark

makes you will feel more alive and enthusiastic about life.

Thanks to Dr. Low (he should be called Dr. High!), I slowly worked up the

courage to write, very imperfectly and very averagely. The minute I tried to create a

world-class masterpiece or do a “perfect” job, my fingers would freeze and I’d lose

my creative spark. So I focused on enjoying the writing process and leaving the final

product up to Hashem – and the publishers. I never expected to become a well-known

author. It still astonishes me to find that people recognize my name. After all, I’m

just trying to do a very average job and be a very average person!

There is something so life-enhancing about seeing your name in print and

knowing that perhaps even one person out there appreciates what you’ve written.

Thanks to HORIZONS, many women like myself have gained confidence and selfrespect

from knowing that their thoughts are valued. And self-esteem is what makes

the difference between a life of joy and fulfillment and a life of frustration and

despair.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the HORIZONS staff, who have

created a forum for women to express their views and share their feelings. The losses

in my life have been given meaning because by writing about them, others have been

comforted, knowing that they are not alone in their struggles. Numerous studies,

including one in Health Psychology, 2002, have shown that writing for 20 minutes a

day four times a week can enhance our both our physical and mental health.

I hope the next ten years of HORIZONS will give many other women a

similar opportunity to reach out and touch others and to reveal the divine, creative

spark within themselves.

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