Two years ago, I left a well-known online publication and started this blog. I wanted to be a social worker or an educator. Before that, I aspired to be a doctor. When I was in high school, I thought I was going to be an Ivy League student with hopes of becoming a lawyer with a chemistry background. In middle school, I thought I was going to be a fashion designer.
My point is we all had a “plan,” but these “plans” change and people change. After watching a HelloKaty video about screwing up, it had me thinking of something a little more off-topic, but still relevant: who were you before the universe broke your heart? In other words, who were you before society changed you? Who was I before I was bullied for being different? Who was I before I actually started to conform to who people wanted me to be? Who was I when I simply did not give a sh*t?
That person was an elementary schooler who lived in her own little world of pink, Miley Cyrus, Limited Too, and writing make-believe news articles about celebrities. My ultimate goal was to become… guess what… an author. My fifth-grade teacher even wrote in my yearbook, “maybe I’ll be reading a book written by you in the future.” I can’t believe I forgot all about that until I wrote to her in December 2016, thanking her for having such a positive impact on me. That dream stuck with me in middle school, and that’s when I was introduced to my passion for literature. At the time, instead of letting petty middle school bullies get to me, I geared my attention towards devouring novel after novel. Then came seventh grade, and that free spirit within me died. But that’s a whole other story.
Moreover, I recently rekindled that aficionado and began reading the works of Jane Austen, Toni Morrison, Ernest Hemingway, Margaret Atwood, and Shakespeare. I’ve even begun to use reading as a coping mechanism for my mental illness(es) — to escape reality. Nowadays, people immediately rely on social media as an “alternate universe,” and a virtual world, at that. I remember, before learning how to read, I played with educational computer programs. I guess that’s how this generation was brought up, computer games before a real education. I found myself in a Dunkin Donuts this afternoon, contemplating the sociology of these Generations Y and Z. Anyway, I’m getting pretty off-topic!
When we get older, we stop playing with Barbie dolls, sleeping with a nightlight, etc. Our childish dreams of making the biggest, cheesiest pizza in the world or being a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle come to a halt. Especially in high school, we start to think more about our futures in depth. We think we want whatever will make us a millionaire by the time we’re thirty. In my case, I didn’t realize what I actually wanted to do with my life until my second year of college! And it’s all because I set unrealistic expectations for myself back in high school. It’s almost scary that I’m coming to this conclusion as I write this. But, as my literary icon, Jane Austen once said:
“We all have a better guide in ourselves… than any other person can be.”
Elle Woods didn’t know she wanted to be a partner in a law firm until she actually went to Harvard Law, and J.K. Rowling didn’t publish her first book until she was 31! J.K. Rowling was rejected by, not one, but 12 different publishers until someone would publish the beloved series, Harry Potter. In kindergarten, I was a strong believer in the character of Harry Potter, and after learning more about J.K. Rowling’s life (her clinical depression, abusive marriage, etc.) it occurred to me, as a future author, that I have to believe in not only my characters but in myself. Now, returning as an avid reader, I want to learn more about these characters I encounter and what their roles are in their respective societies. I want to be able to relate to these characters in one way or another. That’s just the thing about literature: fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us.
I wrote a blog post called Personas last semester, and I automatically thought about characters I had to play on stage, my fictional pieces, and my poetry. Art has a way of letting you escape your reality and become somebody else.
What you don’t know is that I wrote all this a year ago! But it still rings true today. I submitted my short stories to literary magazines and, alas, they were declined. But I’m going to keep doing what J.K. Rowling did and keep trying. As P!nk said, “you gotta get up and try, try, try.”
I’m currently reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, and I have yet to add some commentary on that. Also, I highly recommend listening to the podcast, “Coffee Talk,” by Kalyn Nicholson. She literally gets inside your head and is totally relatable! She and “Great Women in Business” are also on Spotify.
Like everyone else getting ready to graduate (for me it’s December 2019), I am actually still piecing together life after college. All I know is that I plan on venturing out of New England. I’m that type of girl that always has to have a steady, ready plan to go and conquer. As you saw in my last post, I discussed, briefly, what I’m doing after my internship (besides going back to school).
You know what? I’m going to give you some tips:
1.) For some people, this isn’t always possible, but listen to me when I say HAVE A PLAN A, B, C, etc. This I learned from my mom. It’s pretty simple, have backups.
2.) Take action immediately. If you’re looking for that summer job, start looking early.
3.) Develop mentorships. These mentors could be the ones writing your recommendations. Plus, you will learn a lot from them.
4.) Journal, journal, journal, but don’t complain too much while writing. I’ve learned that when you’re purging your negative thoughts, especially those from your past, all you’re doing is reliving them.
5.) Give yourself a pep-talk. AFFIRMATIONS, PEOPLE!
6.) Listen to those podcasts I mentioned.
That is all. Go forth and prosper.