Will I Ever Be?

When I was eight, I used to go to sleep praying, “God, please help me to be somebody famous like George Washington.” By famous, I meant influential; I just didn’t quite have the vocabulary to express it. Little me wanted to grow up to be somebody.

That hasn’t changed. I want my life to be good for something; I want to die with a legacy. Unfortunately, life doesn’t really seem to work that way. Most people spend their entire existence watering their grass and chatting over a white picket fence, and then they die as just another John or Jane Doe–and as the Does they will forever remain. Will I ever change someone’s life? I want to be the reason someone is the way they are. I want to know that I’ve done something, that I’ve been someone.

Will I ever be someone?

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I Will Never Be Comfortable

Early this school year, I was convinced that I wanted to take a year off of my education to buy a converted school bus and travel all around the country “finding myself.” It was going to be a pleasant and relaxing life full of dreamy satisfaction. I thought I had it all figured out. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I realized I might be wrong.

I don’t believe I am called to a comfortable life. Living a comfortable life, to me, would mean living for myself. My life is a sacrifice. I’m meant to pour into others and push beyond the boundaries of what “comfort” means to me. What this means exactly, I’m not sure. All I know is that in order to live out my purpose, I must leave behind a life of familiarity–because it’s not just about me anymore. I am not my own.

My Dreams for the Future

Next year, as a senior, I have the opportunity to take a teaching class. Basically, I’ll get to learn all about teaching, psychology, and kids. I’ll also be able to observe classrooms of different grade levels and even intern in the spring! I’m immensely excited. As for my other classes, I’m going to take AP Psych, which goes right along with the child psychology I’ll learning in the teaching class. I’ll enter my fifth year of French study, which could really come in handy if I decide to do overseas humanitarian work in French-speaking countries.

I want to go to a four-year college, preferably within my home state, to study education and psychology. I’ll go on for my master’s because that’s basically required. Maybe I’ll pursue a doctorate. As for actual teaching, I’d really like to teach fifth grade. It’s such an interesting and important time in a person’s life.

I would really like to teach in the school system where I live. It’s close to my heart and I really like it. I’ve also considered spending some teaching in poor, low-income areas. Maybe at some point in my life I’ll do some teaching work in a third-world, French-speaking country. These dreams could give me an opportunity to combine my hopes for teaching with my love of the world.

Aside from my career, I want to get married and have three children. Three is a good number. Two feels like too few, but four is too many. And one day, I’ll definitely publish a novel. I’ve always known that.

That’s just a general overview of my future dreams. I’m really optimistic for my future, and I can’t wait to spread my wings and fly.

Believe In Me

I’ve wanted to be a lot of things in my sixteen (and a half) years of life – an author, a teacher, a research psychologist, and a bartender, just to name a few. As I’m quickly approaching college, I’ve been investigating more jobs I might want to have. I’d love to share those dreams with the world, but something stops me every time. Something keeps me quiet.

It’s the fear of not being believed in. If I reveal what I want to be, I’m afraid I’ll be bombarded by doubters and skeptics. I don’t have the skills. I don’t have the personality. The confidence. The traits. The background. The practice. The motivation. It would be about everything I don’t have. With a barrage of negativity coming my way, I could possibly start to feel negatively myself. If nobody believes I have what it takes, I might doubt my own confidence. Maybe that’s still a flaw I have – the need for validation.

Really, it depends on who’s saying it. If a stranger tells me I can’t be who I want to be, I’ll just laugh at them. I know myself better than they do. But if someone I know well tells me that I’m not right for the job, or if they don’t show any enthusiasm for me, I can’t help but feel dejected.

But I’m highly aware of my own skills and abilities. I wouldn’t consider a job in the military or police force, because I know I would do very poorly there. If I didn’t believe I could do it, and if I hadn’t researched it, I wouldn’t bring it up in the first place. When I bring up my career dreams, I’m being serious. I’ve already brainstormed, researched, and thought it out on my own.

And to all my doubters – how could you expect someone who’s sixteen to have all the skills they need for their future job right now? This is why people grow up and go to school. Of course I wouldn’t have what it takes at this moment, but maybe with more growth, I’d be able to do it.

I believe in myself. Could you believe in me, too?

We Become What We Hope For

For the past two years or so, I’ve imagined myself giving these speeches to large crowds saying, “Hey, my life was total bullshit. [insert examples of bullshit] But things got better! [insert hopeful examples] [insert hopeful, inspirational message]” Which is weird, because public speaking is NOT my thing. One day, however, I will give a big talk. I will. I know it. 

-Me, 12/30/13

I was intrigued when I found this quote of mine, particularly because I have made several (informal) inspirational speeches since then, and I’ve loved every minute of them. For a good while, I wished I had public speaking skills. In my mind, as this quote suggests, I spent a lot of time dreaming about being stage-confident, and I always knew that I would one day achieve that wish. I didn’t think it. I knew it.

This same wish-know process applies to my interpersonal relationships today. It’s my intense desire to be able to better communicate with others in emotional contexts. Processing my own emotions is natural; processing others’ emotions is a stretch for me. I really do have an enormous amount of empathy, and I would listen to someone for hours, but I’m not yet adept with it. In my mind, I’m comfortable responding to and interacting with outside emotions, just as I imagined myself as a fantastic orator two years ago. I’m not there yet. That’s okay. Even though I don’t have many opportunities to practice my emotional skills, it’ll happen.

Think of it this way: I was a writer who wanted to extend her linguistic skills to public speaking. Now, I’m an introspective feelings enthusiast who wants to become better at directing those emotions outwards. Chances are, you already have the skills that will help you achieve your goal. Take advantage of opportunities to grow those existing abilities. Keep a positive outlook on your personal development. You will one day become what you hope for, so long as you believe that you really can.

 

A Lack and Excess of Dreams

I have plenty of dreams. There’s the one about visiting every US state and collecting dirt from each one, or the one about taking a plane to nowhere, or having a cozy little apartment with eccentric decorations everywhere, or walking down the aisle looking like a million bucks, or having three beautiful children and knowing all their names ahead of time. I’ve got all these dreams, but nothing that has any practical meaning for my future.

That didn’t used to be a problem. I’m not a very practical person, and fluffy wishes have always been more important than actually planning for anything. But I’m getting older now. My peers are talking about their future careers, investigating colleges, and preparing for their lives, and I’m just sitting here. Waiting. Thinking. Not knowing.

How? For years, I had career dreams, no matter how vague. I was going to be a teacher, then an author, then a research psychologist–but now my mind is blank, just as I’m approaching independence. Why do I have an abundance of dreams concerning everything other than what I’m supposed to be focusing on? I don’t want to live in my parents’ basement and eat Cheetos all day. As much as I enjoy aimless wandering, I don’t want to feel completely and utterly directionless.

Yes, I’m happy, stable, and satisfied in life, but I’m beginning to feel a bit left out. Other people are getting their licenses when I haven’t ever driven over 20 mph. Other people are getting great grades, whereas I’m just trying to keep my motivation afloat until I find something to work for.

Not knowing has never made me feel so small.

What Success Is

“Well, bless my soul
You’re a lonely soul
‘Cause you won’t let go
Of anything you hold
Well, all I need
Is the air I breathe
And a place to rest
My head.”
-OneRepublic, “Say All I Need”
It seems like everybody wants to be rich and prosperous. It’s the American Dream. Just look and listen. People are killed or injured on Black Friday (ironically the day after we give thanks for what we have) trying to scramble for better, bigger deals. Cozy homes are demolished and replaced by mansions. There is constant griping about taxes, stocks, and the economy. As a society, we are constantly bustling, at a breakneck pace, up the golden staircase towards success.
I feel like an outsider, sitting at the bottom of that staircase and gazing at the sky. My sky doesn’t glitter with the stars of ambition. It isn’t painted with fantasies of money and extravagance, no; my sky is vast and clear. It is a mirror of the free life I dream of living. I want time to wander about, to leave home not knowing where I’m going or when I’ll come back. I want mornings for my slumber, days for my writing, and nights for my pondering. I will never be rich and glamorous, and I will never embody the American Dream, but my soul will be filled beyond measure, overflowing with a satisfaction that cannot be found at the top of a golden staircase.
The staircase, in all truth, leads to nowhere. With each stair step climbed, another is created. The success it offers does not exist. It is cannot be satisfied by tangible means. It’s a subjective fantasy, a mental construct that both taunts and entices. Society pants for success, but its inflated image of what success actually is is what’s starving them. It’s never satisfying. People fill their bellies with more emptiness.
They’re hungry for immaterial things–love, meaning, companionship, and happiness. Everybody has a cavernous void of need within them, and the truest, most beneficial journey of self-preservation is learning to fill it. A need for friendship cannot be satisfied with money. A lack of meaning cannot be filled with promotions and vacation houses. Those desires call for reflection and evaluation. What do they really want? Why do they want it? How can they truly feel fulfilled? Abandoning the dependency on money and material possessions brings peace for a lonely heart, and searching one’s heart brings serenity to a chaotic life.
I am a girl who wants an honest existence, a girl who creates her own American Dream. I do not ache for glitz and glamour. I am whole in myself. I am at peace with my mind and my needs. What greater success is there than what lies within self-revelation, simplicity, and personal meaning? I cannot think of anything else that is capable of filling the soul’s void.

Pain Fantasies

I never wanted to fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. Those last few minutes of the day, when all was still and quiet, were my gold. It was the time I could let myself indulge in the wilds of my imagination. Sure, sometimes I wandered, but even at a young age I realized that not all daydreams are created equal. I followed a mental map to my favorite spots and stayed there, in the very best fantasies, until I finally slipped into the unconscious.

The earliest “favorite” daydream I remember having is when I was eight. It was a slow-motion clip of me pushing a classmate out of the way as an angry sixth-grader threw an enormous, golden brick across the cafeteria. The brick would hit me in the head, making me collapse in a puddle of blood. Sometimes I got sent to the school nurse. Others, I had to be piled into an ambulance in critical condition. And on some nights, I decided that I wanted the daydream to end in death–a noble, sacrificial, public death.

That daydream got old after a while, so I created a new one. I was on a school field trip, clowning around and being sort of annoying. The tour guide got so irritated that she threw me into a rushing river and shot me. I had to struggle back to the shore, in front of my whole class, flailing around and chasing my last breaths.

They got more intricate and specific as I got older. Instead of just replaying a daydream, I would build upon it. Create alternate endings. Use it as a springboard for more mental possibilities. No longer did I have just one favorite daydream. I had many favorites to choose from. And, in the event that I got bored with one, I’d throw it away and think of something better. I’d return to it later if it caught my interest again. These stories could occupy me for hours. It’s hard to explain, but I could physically feel adrenaline when I indulged in these daydreams. Adrenaline and…something else. A strange and intense mix of wonder, energy, and delight.

All of those daydreams had the same theme: pain. I loved pain, yes, but not for its own sake. I never would have daydreamed about getting a paper cut. I never would have fallen asleep thinking about being shot and left to die alone with nobody knowing I was gone. My fantasies were always intense, outlandish, flamboyant, and public. Even the ones where I suffered in solitude (these arose in middle school) were imagined from the perspective of others, or with the knowledge that others were watching. It was less about the pain than it was about the drama. 

I have not outgrown those pain fantasies. They’ll always be a part of me, and I’m grateful for them. But it’s definitely not something to be concerned about. I control, moderate, and channel these fantasies. I love my life more than I can describe, and I value my happiness immensely. I don’t ever want these daydreams to become reality! They’re just thoughts. Stress relievers, writing inspiration, portable entertainment. And it’s not like I don’t daydream just as much about positive dramatic encounters, like delivering a life-altering speech or going on national TV for a bestselling novel. It’s not like I don’t daydream about new universes or things that aren’t about my life. The pain fantasies make up only a portion of my mind.

They’re just misunderstood enough to warrant their own blog post.

 

 

A Directionless Soul

I’m a junior in high school. My friends are thinking about college. My peers are getting their licenses. People come to school looking put-together. To be honest, I feel like a bit of an outsider. My mind is still stuck in a youthful, carefree world. I have no idea what I want to make of this lovely existence of mine. I’ve had my permit for almost a year, yet I’ve never even driven out of the parking lot. I don’t wear makeup, I don’t do my hair, I don’t plan my outfits–I come to school looking completely out of touch with my senses. Where can I find the drive and surety that everyone else seems to have? Or at least, how can I at least look like I’ve found it?

It’s as if my soul hasn’t aged at all. What junior in high school still feels giddy over playground equipment? I treasure my sense of childlike wonder, but it gets tiresome when I can’t snap out of it, find a work ethic, and start taking control of my life. Sooner or later, I’m going to have to learn to drive–I want to learn to drive. Eventually, I’ll need to find something to do with my life. I can’t spend the rest of my life on my neighborhood swing.

And the world moves too quickly for me. I need time. Lots of time. But that’s not how things work. I’m supposed to keep up and stick to the path. How can I? How can I, when I’ve completely lost my way? I don’t mean that in a sad or angsty way. My life is a beautiful thing, and I probably love it a bit too much. That’s the problem. I love my life so much that I’ve become completely and utterly directionless. If everybody else is running on the path, I’m deep in the forest catching butterflies and braiding leaves into my hair.

What is a girl like me to do?

Blogging Sucks (I Love It)

Over the past few years, I’ve spent countless hours staring into a computer screen, trying to figure out how to communicate my half-baked thoughts to the blogging universe. Too many of my posts have been of embarrassingly low quality. I’ve probably missed, in total, at least 40 full hours of sleep due to this blog. My stats decrease. My fingers get tired of typing. My brain exhausts its creative juices. To be honest, blogging sucks.

But I love it.

There’s something so magical about seeing my own words and musings appear before me as my fingers command them, and publishing a post with the knowledge that people will hear me. This blog catches thoughts that I’d left unexpressed, intelligent remarks I’ve failed to make, ideas I’d forgotten, feelings I’d ignored. Everything I write here is my own. Nobody can ever restrict my style or format, tell me what to write, or plaster corrections all over my work. I am my blog; my blog is me. I try to remember this when it gets difficult. When my stats plummet, when I lose sleep, when my writing isn’t turning out well, I remind myself that this is the destiny I’ve chosen. A blogger’s calling is a river that begs to be navigated, a garden that begs to be watered. I am making a conscious choice to follow my inspiration’s lead with full determination. And when my inspiration abandons me, I will blaze my own trail and press on until I find it again.