If you told me 20 years ago I would be a writer, I would have laughed. The only thing I was worried about during that time was finding a permanent teaching position in a government/public school. When I graduated, teaching places were scarce and the only way to gain permanency in the government schools was to go country. Country in Western Australia could be anywhere, as remote as the Kimberley region or in the more popular region such as Margaret River.
I was fortunate to be gifted in drawing and sculpting but never considered myself to be academic or having the ability to write. So it came as a bit of surprise that I suddenly wanted to write stories. I have always loved reading and never once thought I could write anything like the books I devoured. I was an average student in English classes and never aspired to achieve anything higher than a B grade. Heck, in Year 9, I was awarded the most improved student for English, moving from C averages to B. Nor did I think I was smart enough to become a teacher. But here I am 20 years on, two degrees under my belt, completed a number of academic courses and I can honestly say, wow, who would have thought. Certainly not any of my teachers!
I did achieve all this because of ambition and desire. I didn’t want to live in a small town working in the local bank, get married young and have children. I wanted a university degree. Nothing wrong with having those things, but it wasn’t for me. I also could not have done it without my family, who supported and encouraged not only me but my siblings. Being first generation Australian-Italian, I was the first in our family to graduate from university. My parents did not have the opportunity so they made sure we did.
So to answer the question of whether our past determines our future. Absolutely not. If I believed in those teachers or being academic was not my forte, I would not be where I am today. I would not have gone to university and certainly not be a writer. No one can tell you what you can or cannot do, only if you allow them to. Our past may define who we are but it does not have to shape our thoughts and deeds.