I think everyone wonders at some point if they are in the right place. Have I made the right decision(s)? Am I doing as much as I could? Am I doing what I’ve always wanted to do? Am I doing what I should with the life I have been given?
I ask these questions to myself all the time. To me, we all stand on the line of destiny and the free will to choose our fate and, from time to time, we attribute things to one or the other as they exist in the realm of mutual exclusivity.
What if, the truth is, we can do anything we set our minds to, but it will ultimately lead to where we were always meant to be.
So, one day, we decide to be brave and chase that dream. Of course, I will use myself as an example.
When I decided to go back to school to earn a master’s degree in English and creative writing, I was unsure at first if it was the right decision. I knew a part of me always thrived on creativity, and though I love drawing, sketching, music, etc. I chose writing.
A year later, I took time off of school because I got pregnant, and pregnancy offered some great quiet time for introspection. During this process, I thought about myself growing up, falling in love with the arts–particularly theater–and eventually becoming serious in my undergraduate studies and picking a major that I thought would be the “realistic” way of making money. I always wondered what would have been if I stuck to my guns and decided to major in dramatic arts.
Then it hit me — not all at once, but rather a series of quiet revelations. I have always liked telling stories. In school, they would ask us to re-interpret classics as modern day dramatic pieces, and I would be most excited to write the script (my contemporary interpretation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight got a standing ovation from my 11th grade English class). Picture prompts for standardized tests were my creative playground. I wrote stories in my personal time. A year after starting my Master’s Degree, it dawned on me that I made a choice that began many years ago and probably remained buried in some secret part of me that got lost among the “I want to be a doctor someday,” talk.
Fast forward to the decision that I made to start publicizing my poetry. Not a new thing, others have been doing it on social media for a long time. I just decided to do it one day. I went to the store and bought two journals and colored markers and wrote and took pictures and posted it. It seemed impulsive, but I wanted to get better with people reading my work and getting feedback about it.
Cue another moment of reflection.
This morning, while working on the illustrations for a work in progress, I started grappling with those questions again. One of the drawings involves a burn book page from when I was in middle school (because yes, there was a burn book in my middle school, and I was one of its many victims). I still have this page, and, as I went to my “nostalgia box” with my old journals to retrieve it, I found my breadcrumbs: poems.
Written on ripped out notebook pages were an array of poems of a young girl who always wanted to write them.
I completely forgot I even shoved those wayward pages into that box. They appeared to me just as I questioned whether or not I should keep writing poems. For thirty minutes I scanned over pages of words of a girl who hardly understood the world, but attempted to through poetry.
I started chasing this dream of wanting to publish a poetry collection, only to realize I was following a path I marked out for myself a long time ago with ripped pages, pencil, and bubble letters as my stale bread.
I feel like two times now I have realized that I chased something that was already mapped out for me. Whether lost to time, or buried beneath my sense of what being successful means, along the way I lost the roadmap, but still walked the right avenues to get to the destination. Call it the scenic route.
I don’t have any accolades. Not a whole lot of people know who I am. Only a few people may ever read this. Hardly any of that matters though, because I am settling into the unfamiliar peace that comes from learning that I have been chasing myself all along.
I bet if you take the time to think about it, you’ll find that, in some small way, you’ve been chasing you too.