Don’t Tell Me “No.”

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Dear College Career Counselor,

I’d like to thank you again for your time. I called for help and you answered. That, in itself, is more generous than I can express. I believe you have a good heart with good intentions. I also believe that you helped me tremendously in a way you did not intend. Because of you, I got the best advice from the worst advice.

I came to you as someone who found her place, excited about her future, and full of promise but ready to resign to taking a huge step backwards in order to relieve a temporary situation. I came to you as someone who is well on the path to success, dedicated to manifesting a career, and you suggested that I be mechanically assessed for another one. You told me it was time to start over. I was so weak at the moment, I almost believed you.

It wasn’t until I spoke with a very different kind of counselor right after our session, got some food in my stomach, and a took a little downtime to process that I realized, whether or not you intended to, you invalidated me. I needed CPR and you suggested I go on life support.

aabf23b77ba75eda461f8b5483fbba43Why didn’t you look at what I had already achieved and base your recommendations on them? Does one size really fit all? Were you trying to spare me from something? You may be okay with selling out with selling your soul, but I’m not! I’ve done the “cubicide” gig for over 20 years, getting coffee, making and taking phone calls, and balancing books. I’ve scrubbed toilets, pulled medical records, watched other people’s kids, and served cappuccino and today I have nothing tangible to show for it. The biggest difference with then and now is that what I’m doing today makes me feel alive. It taps into my passion and I feel at home. I feel I’m making a difference. So, no, I’m sorry, I respectfully disagree; I don’t need to start over, especially at my age. I need to take what I’ve got and make it work for me.

And you know what else? I am a writer. No algorithm is going to tell me anything that my heart, and the people who have known me my entire life, doesn’t already know. I’m an author, I’m a journalist, a wordsmith, a blogger, and a playwright. I am a writer and a badass.

So, I have made an appointment to speak with someone who is going to push me forward, not drag me back.

If-the-pen-is-mightier-than-the-sword-Why-do-actions-speak-louder-than-wordsYou’re a very smart, nice guy who may have done the wrong thing for the right reasons. I hold you in no contempt and wish you nothing but goodness in your world. I am grateful to you. But, please, the next time someone comes into your office, in any state of mind, listen. When they say they have found something that’s made them happy, hone in on that. Craft your guidance with that light. Life’s too short to fuck around.

College is a place to encourage possibilities, isn’t it? As I write this, I am wearing the jeans I never thought I would fit into and the concert t-shirt from the show I never thought I’d see. I am the last person to say, “You can’t,” to. (Man, you have no idea…!) I hope no one ever says that to you.

Again, thank you. But, please understand that I am cancelling our next appointment.

Most sincerely,
T. Ray Verteramo



About T. Ray

Writer, visual artist, student, musician, and "armchair nutritionist." She currently resides in Vegas with her jenday conure and two beloved rescue cockatoos. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Society of Leadership and Success (Sigma Alpha Pi). While pursuing her degree in Journalism/Media Studies at UNLV, she continues to contend that all things come down to food and Star Wars. Contact:
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3 Responses to Don’t Tell Me “No.”

  1. krazred says:

    Sounds like you gave yourself the CPR you needed and you’re right on track!


    • Ms. Ray says:

      I’m actually a little short of breath, still. It’s very hard blow to the chest when someone says “you can’t” or “you shouldn’t” or “you’re kidding yourself,” especially when you know you’re on the right track. But, thanks to my beloved friends and their amazing support, I know I’ll breathe freely again. I’m so blessed. Thank you!


      • krazred says:

        Your advice to another person would always be to follow their inner voice… listen to your own. I know how strong you are, don’t let it rattle you. You’ll be fine. We all love and are cheering for you. ~xerox~


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