- L. Masaracchia
After writing her first story in the 3rd grade, Sheela Barot told her mother that she wanted to be a published author. However, there were cultural expectations, such as pursuing a prestigious career, that were placed upon her. Sheela decided to pursue law because she wanted to fight for the defenseless and become a judge with the hope of publishing written opinions. She did well in law school, but when it came time to take the bar, she failed, and then failed again. She took it as a sign that she should shift her focus.
Sheela had always loved inspiring people, so teaching seemed like a good fit. She earned her credential and worked in the profession outside of Chicago, and enjoyed herself, but found that while she was able to impact young people she never had time to work on her writing. Additionally, she developed fibromyalgia and the weather was exacerbating it. After vacationing in Hawaii, she noticed that the warm climate helped her tremendously. She took a calculated risk and moved to California, landing a teaching job shortly after her arrival. Her health improved, and she appreciated the job, but she still had unrequited dreams of writing.
The following year her teaching contract was not renewed. Initially she was distraught but she pushed forward and applied for multiple positions. She did this for two years, but nothing panned out. Once again, she was forced to consider whether the closed door was a sign. Instead of letting the blow destroy her, she persevered and chose to see it as an opportunity. This is not to say that she didn’t suffer from days of anguish--she did--but she focused on the glimmer of light in front of her. After a while it became clear that this was her time to write and fulfill her life’s quest.
Now, Sheela is following her true path. Her smile, infectious laugh, and warm energy is a testament to this. She is proud of the fact that she bravely ventured out of her comfort zone and dedicated herself to her passion. Sheela is well on her way to finishing her first book and is inspiring others to recognize the signs so that they can walk through the open doors that are waiting there for them.