I’ve been peering into the eyes of one of my closest friends since I was a child. I could probably map out his freckles like stars in the sky by now. But I was missing something grand and I did not notice until a few days ago that he is one of my inspirations. He does what he truly loves. And when I say this, I speak it seriously. I imply that he has completely surrendered himself to his passion, regardless of its outcomes, because it makes him happy. And that is something I admire greatly. Because every day, he shows me that there are other ways. And I’m not suggesting that he never struggles or doubts himself- I wish he didn’t (it takes a lot to fully take on your gifts). But despite this, he keeps moving. I envy him and his courage to dive into himself and extract his purest form of art, his courage to do what he loves and abide by his own life laws, neglecting the comments our elders, and even friends, throw at him. And I honor the pathway he is unknowingly paving for the people that will come after him. Because it is something vital to every generation, to every person who knows their passion, but thinks there isn’t a way.
I have known for a spell that I don’t want to go to college. The thought of that frightens me. I’ve tried everything to rid myself of it. I’ve mixed it with my indecisiveness, so I could disguise it as ‘I haven’t found the right school yet’, or ‘I don’t really know what I want to do’. And I’ve swallowed everyone’s beliefs for breakfast, just to sway myself towards the notion that college will be the place I find myself.
I want people to be happy with me. I want them to be proud of me and love me and listen to me. And somehow, the idea that going to college was the only way that people would accept me has made an indentation on my brain. But always doing things that I don’t want to destroys my creativity and happiness as a whole because then I’m giving myself away to be welcomed and acknowledged. I shouldn’t have to spread myself thin to be approved by people I matter to.
Having most of everyone in my ear with the following cliche quotes doesn’t help me feel any less worn either. ‘College will give you the tools you need to succeed in the world.’ ‘You’ll only make good money if you get a degree.’ ‘Having a degree will make your life a whole lot easier.’ ‘It’s unfortunate, but people will only listen to you if you have a degree.’ ‘If you don’t go to college, you’ll miss out on the opportunities.’ ‘College is how you meet people.’ I bet you got tired of just reading those, it gets old after awhile. They’re all just fancy ways to cover up ‘You won’t have a voice in this world if you don’t go to a university.’ And a lot of people are conditioned enough to think saying this means they care- maybe they do.
Being supportive is caring, that doesn’t have to mean you can entirely comprehend what is going on. And there are seven billion people on this planet and counting, I am positive we’ll meet people worth while. Opportunities open like doors and are available at your fingertips. The only trouble with it is that you may close them on yourself by believing they aren’t there. And you won’t be penniless on account of the absence of a piece of paper that says you spent four years in a classroom. And you can refuse their beliefs, gently. Thank you, but that is you, not me.
Breaking free isn’t easy. Years of ‘training’ does a number on the soul, but passion, I believe, is enough motivation to break up with the voice that says ‘there is only one way’. Nothing will ever be good for you, unless you’re doing it for you. Create unapologetically, please. Through it, your voice is heard. But it will not be wasted on grey people who have no room for it. The hardest part will be realizing that you are capable. As tempting as it is, try not to lock yourself back into the chains that a particular part of humanity has handed you. Those ‘tools’ weren’t meant for you, you don’t have to take them. You are taking control now, success is whatever you affirm it to be.
It’s time for me to finally spend quality time with my craft. She’s been waiting for acceptance.