I have spent my life chasing this mythical version of myself, this person who I seemed to think existed. Not a shocker or anything, but she doesn’t exist.
It wasn’t until after college that I stopped trying to be what everyone wanted me to be. I am exactly who I am and there’s nothing wrong with that.
I am imperfect, and that’s okay.
Well, it’s okay with me. But that’s not the case with the rest of the world all the time. Or so it seems.
Today: a box for my personality and future was described to me. I don’t really think I liked any part of it. The personality in the box wasn’t mine. The future of the box wasn’t the one I was dreaming of. And the box itself was nothing like the world I wanted to live in.
So, now I’m sitting here, asking myself why I should try to fit in the box? Was it the money the box offered? Or the security of having a box at all?
Sure, both are nice. But are they supposed to drive who I am?
Some of you might say yes.
I can’t. I don’t know what the best decision will be, but I do know that I am no longer the girl who can keep chasing not only my mythical version or myself, but someone else’s as well.
As I finished my query letter this week and realized that sending out that letter is my dream, I started to reflect what led me here.
I knew that I would spend my life writing when I was in second grade. Crazy, right? Yeah, well, it’s the truth. I wrote my first story in first grade. It was pretty lame I’ll admit. As far as I remember it focused on a crazy squirrel. Definitely not my finest literary moment.
From that moment on, I spent my spare time in one of three places: with my nose in a book, lost in the world in my head, or with a pencil and paper-drawing or writing what I saw in my imagination.
As my cousins and I made up games of pretend, the characters and places we created wound themselves into the world that I was creating.
In sixth grade, I knew I would spend my life trying to share this world I created with everyone. I didn’t know it then, but what happened between then and now shaped everything I’ve written.
Everyone in life has shaped me and therefore my writing: family, friends, people who have hurt me, people who I have hurt. I didn’t know it at the time. But I see it now. Thank you to everyone who has ever crossed my path. I wouldn’t be me without your influence.
You know that saying that goes something like “what is right and what is easy are rarely ever the same thing”? Maybe it’s not a saying. There’s a good chance that’s a line from a book, movie or TV show and it’s just stuck with me over the years.
Regardless of its origin, that mentality has always been-and will continue to be-excruciatingly true.
So often our desires and our responsibilities do not line up perfectly.
Life would be easier if they did. We can all agree on that. But it’s from the moments where we’re caught between the two that or true colors begin to show.
The most depressing thing in this world is growing up and forgetting about the simple joys. God, that sounds so dark, doesn’t it?
I didn’t mean it to sound like life is a dark, terrible prison sentence.
What it is though is just one shot to be happy. One shot to make something of yourself on this weird planet that we call home. It’s just a big, beautiful, wondrous place that’s filled with tiny corners of exciting new adventures.
And that sounded a lot like a Disney movie.
Okay so for the middle ground here... have you ever been in love? Well if you have, do you remember that feeling you got that first month of dating whenever you saw that other person? Yeah. Magical, right? It feels like that other person is the reason that the world is spinning. Powerful stuff, that feeling is.
It seems to me that a some point we all grow up and lose that feeling about everything.
Remember when a Saturday of no plans meant hopping on your bike and going nowhere, and even though you had no direction it the feel of blind freedom that was exhildersting? Remember how exciting it was just to be on the cusp of an adventure? Yeah, me too. Invigorating, wasn’t it?
Today I couldn’t help but feel that way as I wrote a scene in my longest running project. As I described the setting through the eyes of a character who had never been there, I felt myself fill with wonder and curiosity. Where did that go?
At some point we all have to grow up. Go get a job, pay bills, pay student loans, and do “adult things”. As we do that we all seem to see the world in shades of dull gray, as if there isn’t anything exciting anymore because we only get up to go to work to earn money to pay bills. And don’t get me wrong, that is reality. But that’s not my point.
Now you’re probably sitting there going, then what is your point Amanda?
My point is that we all need to find something, anything, that would bring that spark of childlike happiness and excitement back to our lives. Even if it’s only for a brief moment every day.
Now you’re probably rolling your eyes and thinking that it’s a cute but impossible notion.
I beg to differ.
Life shouldn’t feel like work.