THERE I AM. The pink ranger for Halloween. I knew exactly what I wanted to be that year. I wanted to be fierce, I wanted to be powerful, I wanted to be recognizable. You’ve seen the movie, Kimberly doesn’t take crap from anybody, and ends up with Tommy (loving that ponytail by the way Tom).
If you know me, you know that writing is my favorite thing in the entire world. I’ve known this since I was younger. I knew this in high school, and I knew it when I picked my major in college. (fun fact: I was going to do Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, but then I wrote a story and it changed my mind). I am glad I made that decision. I met some incredible people in my English/Writing classes and some even better professors (shout out to Ted, both Johns, and Sean my homeboys). I loved what I was learning. Certain stories we read in class stuck with me, I made lists of things my writing professors would say so that I could use them later. All of these details further solidified my want and desire to keep writing.
But here I am, after college. After having moved to New York and back, wondering if poets are just poets. Wondering if I should have gotten a degree in something that leads to more worldly success. I’ve been hurt by comments about how useless a degree in English is. I have learned that those people aren’t pursuing what makes them happy, and I feel sorry for them. This doesn’t mean I don’t have a constant anxiety that what I love doing isn’t enough. Of course I’ll have a day job, of course I can’t just be a writer to pay the bills. I cannot express to you how much joy it brings me to write anything. Nobody is paying me to do it. I do it because I have a yearning to. Artists know exactly how this feels.
I’ll be honest. Sometimes I ask God why he gave me the gift of writing and not something else. I ask and I ask and I ask and I ask. Why wasn’t I incredible at math, or science, anything but this. Yet I still continue to write and see things that I turn into poems, and find ways to create stories out of the rubble. If there is something you want to be, go be it. If you are in a tough spot right now, trust that no matter the wreckage, you will get there. You will doubt yourself, and hate yourself for not being better, and wonder why you of all people have to fulfill this duty of creating beautiful things.
Keep creating. Take pictures, dance, draw, paint, write, teach, do. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Anis Mojgani, who really writes his poetry in a way that I can connect with. WAY BACK in college, at the beginning really I found one of his poems. You don’t have to listen to it, but I’ll leave you with the end of it to chew on:
“Will I be something?
am I something?
and the answer comes:
I already am
I always was
and I still have time to be.”