Don’t Hold Yourself Back

Growing up, I had a reading comprehension disability at the age of five. Before that, my parents were told that there was nothing wrong with me.  One day when I was five-years-old, my teacher noticed that something was wrong. She could say that I was comprehending at a slower pace than the rest of the students. She notified my mother that I needed to stay back one year to catch up with the rest of the students. Despite my 5k teacher’s effort to help me with my reading comprehension, I needed to be sent to a resource class to strengthen my reading comprehension skills. I got sent to Mrs. Day to evaluate where I was on the spectrum of reading comprehension, and she went to work to help me understand and summarize what I was reading line for line. At the time, I was too young to realize that I was in the wrong grade the next year. My mom knew that I was struggling with reading comprehension, and it broke her heart. As time passed, Mrs. Day gave me the confidence I needed to read a paragraph, an essay, a chapter in a book, and a whole book.

As I got much older, I realized that I was in the wrong grade in the eighth grade. I was on my way to school with my friend and her cousin, and my intuition was telling me that I should already be in the tenth grade, and I wasn’t. At that moment, I felt like a failure. I felt like I had failed in school despite my good grades. We all got out of the car, and my friend’s aunt waved bye to us as we all got out of the car for school. As my friend’s aunt drove off, tears started whaling in my eyes. I didn’t want my friend to see how sad I was, so I looked off in the distance and distracted myself by fumbling through my book-bag.

I stood with my friend outside with everyone else waiting at the school bell to ring for class to start. All I wanted to do was run home and bury my face in my pillow and cry myself to sleep. If I were to miss school that day, I would miss out on taking notes in five classes, completing classroom assignments, and homework for the day. I took a deep breath and walked into the school entrance with her and everyone else in our grade and her cousin’s grade and the juniors and seniors.

Fast forward to the year 2009, I accomplished my goal of graduating on time by taking two dual-enrollment classes that summer. I graduated in July of 2009, and I was an intern that summer with Greenwood Today as their Beat Reporter. I was so excited to have landed my dream internship in the newspaper because I loved writing about community and world news in my journalism class. I got to interview people, write up wedding announcements, birthdays, orbits, birthdays, crime reports, sports stats, and much more. This was the job of my dreams, and at the end of the internship, I was crushed to find out that they couldn’t afford to keep me on staff. Despite working to the core to graduate on time and landing my first internship to lead to a full-time job, my hard work went up in flames.

I enrolled in college in the fall of 2009 and became a work-study student. I was taking three classes at the time and working on campus, and I loved my job, but I still couldn’t shake off of me that my dream job slipped out of my hands. I looked up journalism jobs online, and I applied for my first job in the field, and I got my first rejection letter back saying, “Thank you for your application, but we regret to inform you that we’ve chosen a different candidate for this job.” I felt a stung to my heart, but I kept putting out my resume and cover letters.

After a year of tech college, I took my first communications class, and I was left shattered and hurt because someone told me that I needed to pursue a different degree and do something else due to my lack of understanding of the curriculum of the class. Despite asking for help in the class and taking direction, I was not doing so well. I decided to reach out to my journalism teacher from high school for help, and I got the help I needed to get back up to speed to pass my first communications class.

It was the summer of 2010, and I got offered a job working with the McCormick Messenger as their Beat Reporter. My heart was full, and I got my dream job back. I decided to work with the McCormick Messenger for three summers because I wanted to focus on doing well in my studies to graduate from college on time. So, I did just that, and I made Presidents List while being a Beat Reporter for three summers.

From 2011-2013, I was a full-time student. I received a job as a Videographer in the fall of 2011 through my college professor. I was looking forward to learning about broadcast journalism and how film worked. I was a Videographer from the fall of 2011 to the spring of 2014. Though I liked my job, it wasn’t for me in the end. I knew my heart longed for being an author and newspaper writer.

While being a Videographer, I was working diligently to stay on Dean List, and the spring of 2013 hits, and I was faced with taking Advanced Television Production, which was the hardest class out of the whole Mass Communications program. The curriculum of the course is to learn how to be a News Director, Producer, work a switchboard, and deliver the news.  I hated directing and operating the switchboard, and I performed much better as a Floor Manager and News Anchor. At the end of the day, all I could was perform my best and I did. Despite doing the best I could, I landed a D in the class. I was devastated as I saw the letter D flash on my report card back, and I couldn’t graduate the spring of 2013, and I had to go back one more semester and finish grading.

I was able to still walk across the stage that spring, but I felt ashamed because I wasn’t done with school yet. I was one class from graduating, and it absolutely killed me on the inside. What was supposed to be the proudest accomplishment of my life was the worst day of my life. I walked across the stage with shame and feeling discouraged that I couldn’t be like the rest of my graduating class that had completed college. I held my head up high and wore a smile on my face because I was healthy and still am strong today.

The fall of 2013 rolls around, and I enroll in Digital Video Production, and I pass the class. I jumped up and down for joy because I accomplished graduating on time from college. I wasn’t going to let my learning disability hold me back from finishing school on time, and I held my Bachelor’s degree in my hand with pride and joy.

I wrote my first book called For Better or For Worse at the age of twenty-three in the summer of 2014, which was based on a true story about my parents’ divorce and how I struggled and overcame that difficult time in my life. I wrote the book to help children and teens who may be going through a divorce with their parents to help them realize that your mom and dad will always love you despite their separation.

While writing my first book, I was a Babysitter in the summer of 2014. I was struggling financially make ends meet, but I was determined to publish For Better or For Worse to get my story into the hands of one’s who are going through a divorce with their parents. I applied for fifty-plus jobs that summer and received a handful of interviews and rejection letters. I started to feel my self-esteem and confidence dwindle as I received rejection letters back and no job after my meetings. After two months, I wanted to call it quits when applying for jobs, but I strived on.

From 2015-2016, I received two internships that did not result in a job. I was frustrated and beside myself and could not figure out why God was doing this to me? Why was God letting me go through one job interview after another one with no job, rejection letters, being just an intern, volunteer worker, Secretary, and Babysitter? What I soon realized was that it wasn’t my season yet to have a job.

In the summer of 2015, I decided to start pet sitting services. I went online and looked up how to become a Pet Sitter, and and popped up in the search engine. I filled out online profiles on and and started applying for pet sitting jobs and got clients. I became a Professional Pet Sitter while pursuing my passion for writing stories. I started gaining clients and making my own money, and my self-esteem and confidence came back after a long six years of struggling to have a sustainable income. Being around dogs and cats helped me to feel loved, wanted, and appreciated. For the first time in my life, I was making a difference in other lives and giving animals a life.

Then, one day I was searching through the app store on my phone about how to meet and make new friends after my friends from high school and college lives got busy with their workloads and families and came across Meetup. Meetup allowed me to meet and make new friends, which led to a client or two for my pet sitting business. I was so thankful for the new friends I had made and the client or two I gained through them, and I saw in the app career and networking and attended networking events for my pet sitting business, and my business grew from their and friendships were gained.

2017 rolls around, and times were tough on the home front, and I had to take a seat back with my pet sitting services and devote my time to my ill grandmother. I put my services on the back burner for three months to care for her needs. That’s when I had to buckle down and save every penny that I had. The amount of money I had only lasted for a couple of months, and I was soon running out of ideas to earn money.

In the spring of 2017, I enrolled in Billing/Coding to have a career. Billing/Coding seemed to be the popular thing to do, and so I took a holt to that idea. I attended a job fair while going back to school to do Billing/Coding and showed a man my resume to start off being an Administrative Assistant in the Billing/Coding field, and his words went along the lines of, “You would be fortunate to have a job as an Administrative Assistant with your work experience.” My heart was shattered into a million pieces. I didn’t know what to say to him, and I walked away.  At the time, I was still pet sitting, but it wasn’t enough business to pay the bills.

2018 rolls around, and that’s when I decided to start writing and publishing children’s books. Since 2018, I have now published five books, done book signings, and much more. Despite my learning disability and job rejections and failures along the way, I never stopped achieving my dream of writing and publishing books. I have come to realize that God has placed these hard seasons of my life to let others know that you don’t have to have a full-time income to start a service-based or product-based business all you need is God at the center of your life and let Him take the lead on what you have your heart set out to do. No matter what the bank account says, God is greater than the numbers in your bank account.

Lastly, a Bible verse I want to leave with you is 2 Corinthians 9:8, which says, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

Here are more Bible verses to help you persevere in your career and life.

Psalm 27:14

Colossians 1:11-12

Galatians 6:9

Revelation 2:10

Published by Allistar Banks-Author

Allistar Banks is a multi-genre author of several books ranging from children to young adult fiction. A Professional Pet Sitter by day, novelist by night, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications from Lander University. A McCormick, SC native, she is a lover of southern cuisine, the mountains, local art, and history.

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