On high school, and why it ruined my life

I remember when I was young and adults would constantly tell me that I could do anything I ‘set my mind to.’ The first career I picked for myself at the mere age of 8 was astronaut. I wanted to go to the moon and find intelligent life on other planets. By the time I was 10 I had changed my mind because space was scary, and I wanted to be a veterinarian. Animals made me happy so I wanted to take care of them, and in my mind, being a veterinarian was the equivalent of playing with cute little fur creatures all day long. Obviously I wasn’t taken seriously at this time in my life, and it was considered perfectly normal to be jumping back and forth between my future career aspirations.

Fast forward a few years, and I was in a Freshman Seminar class in my first semester of high school. We had to do some kind of project on what we wanted to be when we ‘grew up,’ and they wanted us to take this seriously. No more of this ‘if you can dream it, you can do it’ nonsense at this point. We were young adults only 4 years away from graduating, we needed a plan. The plan.

I wasn’t sure what to choose for this project, but I was a bookworm who spent much of her spare time writing little stories. Truth be told, there wasn’t much that I enjoyed in this time of my life. I was miserable and lonely and too shy to function. I chose ‘writer’ as my career path, because for me, that was all there was. I knew that I couldn’t just get a job reading books for the rest of my life, but if I was the one writing the books, well…people seemed to be okay with that.

Imagine my surprise when the teacher gives me back my initial career proposal and goes on to tell me that I’m not being realistic at all and I need to choose something that can be accomplished. I ask her why she doesn’t think I could be a writer if it were what I really wanted with my life, and she said something like “you can’t just become a writer because it would make you happy.” I remember feeling crushed and slightly confused, and I even said that I honestly had no clue what I would want to do with my life if she thought that was an unattainable goal. I don’t even remember what I ended up finishing that career proposal on. The only thing that has stuck with me for almost 12 years now is that what I wanted wasn’t good enough, or that possibly I wasn’t good enough for what I wanted.

Perhaps she was right; there is a good chance that if I had ever tried to write a book, I would’ve made a complete fool of myself. I’ll never really know, because I never gave myself a chance to try. All I’m left with are pages of unfinished stories and characters who will never see the light of day.

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some quick thoughts before bed

I spend a great deal of my time reminiscing over my childhood. I was so lucky to grow up the way that I did, because I am quite sure that the absence of cable television, computers, and neighbors shaped who I am in a very big way. 

When I was younger, I absolutely hated living in a house in the middle of the woods in the middle of nowhere. I felt like an oddity. There was nobody for me to hang out with nearby, and while I did have a few close friends who I would hang out with, for the most part I felt secluded and alone. Looking back, I feel that this really made a world of difference. 

I learned to make my own fun and be my own best friend. The woods where I grew up were filled with an abundance of imaginative opportunities. I walked amongst the trees with fairies and elves. I swam with mermaids. To this day, the worlds I created in my mind feel so real that I almost believe they really existed. 

I try to keep my imagination alive today. It’s so much harder once you become an adult. I still read all the time, but I feel like my own ideas have almost completely disappeared. That’s what I think creating this blog was about for me. I want to bring back that side of me. I loved myself so much back then, and it feels like for the better part of my adult life I have lived in a bubble of self-loathing. I miss being the eccentric girl who would hide in the woods to read because a sofa was just not a good enough spot for escapism. I miss writing stories almost every day, just because I had so many thoughts going through my head that if I didn’t get them out, I would explode. I truly think having an overactive imagination is one of the best personality traits a person can have.