IDENTITY: Briefly Endure Daphne’s Contemplative Side…

There is no defining moment. You must break free of your own accord.

More often times than not, when someone asks a writer – “When did you decide/ know you wanted to be a writer?” – they have a pretty good answer. A specific one. A certain day or an event that caused it within them to want to write or realize that’s what they always wanted to do.

I have no freaking clue as to what caused me to want to write! I don’t remember much of my childhood but one thing’s cemented into every memory; I always wanted to write. In fact, I’ve never even had to give it thought before. Never doubted it.

But that brings me to something less concrete. Who am I?

I’m a writer, yes, but what else? Are people so caught up in daily life that they forget to figure this out? Or give it any attention at all? I did.

Three years ago I was thinking about college. I had gotten sick and missed too much of a class I needed and was upset that I wasn’t going to get into a four year university  after high school, like I’d always planned on. Sitting on my bed, stressing over something I couldn’t control and wracking my brain for a way to make up the credit without having to spend time on a class after high school, I heard my mother in the other room explaining my dilemma to someone over the phone.

I wanted to go to a university. I was upset because I couldn’t, she explained. My plans were no longer going how I wanted them to.

I can’t explain what caused the light bulb to go off in my head right at that moment, as I’m sure I’d heard this time and time before, having said it myself all the time to boot, but it did.

How did I know I wanted to go to a university? When did I make that decision?

The simple answer was – I never did make that decision. But that wasn’t the half of it. I didn’t want to go to college at all! I didn’t want to go to a four year university and get a degree. And get a degree in what, exactly?

The truth was, I had never made that decision. I had known what others wanted me to want, had known what the people around me wanted, and had absorbed it through my skin like I was a freaking frog in the middle of the rain forest. And my brain chalked it up to, “okay, I’m a straight ‘A’ student, I’m getting a scholarship, going to a four year university, and getting a degree. This will make everyone around me happy and proud and all will be right in the world.”

I hadn’t taken a moment to think about what I wanted. And how often do we do that? How often do we know what is expected of us, what the definition of success is to others, and automatically switch to autopilot; becoming fixated on something we didn’t even think about for ourselves?

What’s the point to living life at all, if not to be who we are?

Here I was, someone who knew I was going to become an author, knew that writing made me happy, ignited passion inside me. And yet, I was planning on going to a university as soon as I finished high school.

And what did I plan on doing once there? I had no clue. I just knew that’s what I was going to do. Because that was what would make me successful right? What everyone would expect of me, no?

I was suddenly becoming grateful that I’d missed too much schooling to receive two years worth of foreign language credits, thus making me unable to attend a four year university before making up the credits in a community college.

If I hadn’t, how long would it have taken me to figure out that I wasn’t living for myself, but living the life others wanted for me? I sat there realizing that this wasn’t the only area of my life I had been doing this in. I had been ignoring the wants and needs of myself and going along with what everyone else wanted, what everyone else wanted me to want.

Being blessed with an amazingly understanding and compassionate mother, I survived this with the smallest amount of drama possible. I haven’t gone to college. I’ve changed many things and many aspirations in my life since figuring out how dumb I’d been. Since then, I’ve also realized that I wasn’t happy. I was quite literally on autopilot. There wasn’t a ‘me’ in there anywhere.

Many people saw my changes as negative. Why on earth would I NOT want to go to a university and get a degree and land the perfect job? Why would I not want to get on a full ride scholarship and go to the college of my dreams?

What people often times don’t realize, is that the things they want for others, isn’t always what’s best for them. We’re not all the same. We don’t all want the same things in life. Tons of people want things for me that I do not want at all. In fact, what would make them the most happy person in the world depresses me.

After all of this, after realizing that people can get downright ridiculously cruel when you don’t do what they want you to do, or you don’t want what they want for you, my hope is that no one will make the horrendous mistake that I did.

PLEASE, ask yourself what you truly want. Ask yourself what makes you happy. What are you willing to sacrifice? What are you NOT willing to sacrifice? What do you want to do with your life? How will you get there? Always, always, ask why! Why are you doing this? Why do you want this? Make sure it’s for the right reasons.

Maybe you don’t know what you want. Start there. But don’t lie to yourself. It won’t end well.

So, in answer to “Who am I?”… I am me. Daphne.

I don’t want to go to a university and get a degree. I am a writer; among many, many other things. You’ll find out who I am if you stick around.

And with that, I’ll get off my soap box and leave you to your own devices. My only question is – do you know who you are?

 

I’m the one that has to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life, the way I want to.

– Jimi Hendrix

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20 Comments

Filed under Stream of Consciousness

20 responses to “IDENTITY: Briefly Endure Daphne’s Contemplative Side…

  1. I started off going to a four-year school. I was happy and doing what I wanted to do – working on a BA in creative writing. I wanted to be an editor. And then life happened, and I got pregnant. I couldn’t afford to keep going to the school I was at, so I took a semester off and got my AA in English. I’ve worked as a secretary at the same firm for the last decade, but now I’m looking for a new job, and every time I find a listing I think I’d be qualified for, they want a four-year degree.

    Apparently experience counts for nothing.

    I can’t go back and finish my degree right now. I’ll have to wait till my youngest son is in school. But I don’t think I can wait that long for a job – I’m not sure my job will last that long. The important thing in all of this, of course, is to do what you want and what makes you happy. Sometimes what will make you happy is the thing you least expect. 🙂

    • Wow. Life kind of took you through an uber winding path!
      You know, I love that you said that. Its never occurred to me (or been allowed) before recently that you should do what makes you happy, instead of what you’ll hate but will make you money. “Security over Happiness” right? Bleh
      I hope you get a new job you like. 😀 Do you want to go back and get your degree?
      Thank you.

      • Thanks! So far, the job hunt has been depressing. Someone finally called me about a job while I was on vacation, but since I was virtually two states away, I couldn’t go in for an interview. *sigh*

        Figures.

        Anyway, I do want to go back and finish my BA. I’d love to get an MFA or even a doctorate someday because I really love school, but I’m not sure anymore that that’s in the cards.

        And you’re totally welcome! Do what makes you happy and you’ll never work a day in your life. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s true. 😉

      • Funny how a lot of things we discount as dorky and cliche turn out to hold the most truth. 🙂
        Well, then you definitely weren’t supposed to get that job. Job hunting is evil but eventually things turn out the way they’re supposed to. And you’re definitely persistent enough to get what you need. 😀

  2. Pingback: An Authentic Mess: Time for Something New | DaphneShadows

  3. It sounds like you grew up during that whole university fiasco. Without living for yourself you become a drone, mindless and controlled. At some point, for better of worse, we must take the controls and navigate our own way through life. Better to figure these things out early on, than look back with regret. The simple fact is everything we do makes us who we are, even the mistakes. The smart ones keep learning and finding ways to improve themselves.

    It takes courage to stand on your own. Stay true to yourself and good things will happen.

    “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”–Mark Twain

    • Thank you. 🙂 Yes, I’m very glad that I figured this out sooner rather than later! I did the same thing with my writing – made my mistakes early on. Now I’ve learned from it and can move forward knowing how to better go about things. I’m planning on doing a post describing what I’ve done with my writing and submissions, etc and what I’ve learned so far, pretty soon. Thank you for your encouragement! 🙂

    • Thank you. 🙂 Yes, I’m very glad that I figured this out sooner rather than later! I did the same thing with my writing – made my mistakes early on. Now I’ve learned from it and can move forward knowing how to better go about things. (Not that I won’t make future mistakes, I’m sure) I’m planning on doing a post describing what I’ve done with my writing and submissions, etc and what I’ve learned so far, pretty soon. Thank you for your encouragement! 🙂

  4. You can always go to school later, if you find that it is useful to you. You should be sending your work to publishers that are open to new authors.

    • Thank you. 🙂 I have scrapped my first manuscript (keeping the idea for the novel) and took myself to school online, learning everything I could from editors, agents, publishers, and authors about the craft of writing. So now, I’ve begun my next two manuscripts. From there I’ll send out queries. I’m going to do up a post soon of what I’ve accomplished on the trying to get published front so I can share everything I’ve learned. Once you read that, what I just said should make more sense. 😀

  5. Satis

    I did go to university. I got a degree that I’ve never used. However…there were experiences there (nothing sordid, I promise) and learns that I wouldn’t have had anywhere else. Life is what it is; your experiences will shape you, whatever they are. You can’t ever go back and see what would have happened; the best you can hope for is that you don’t live to regret it. It sounds like you don’t – I’m glad!

    • I agree completely. And that’s a big part of how I make my decisions. Will I regret it? What are the pros and cons? This is my life here, I really don’t want to mess up the only one I’ve got. I figure it this way, I can go to college later. Right now going to college doesn’t make any sense to me or for me. You never know, you might end up using your degree in the future. If you don’t mind (out of curiosity) what did you get a degree in? 🙂

      • Ha. Music composition and theory. Either I become the next John Williams, or I teach music. I could tell you all about parallel fifths and 11/8 time signatures, if you like! The actual truth is that I use elements of it every day – creative structure and analysis skills have been invaluable, but it’s unlikely I’ll ever get a job specifically because of my degree. Who knew?

      • Wow. I know absolutely NOTHING about music other than the fact that I love to sing. Every school I went to (moved around quite a bit) didn’t bother to even teach us notes! So that’s pretty neat to me!

  6. hell no.. no clue….
    🙂

  7. LOVE it. I am in the same boat as you, the only one of my friends not in college, but doing what I WANT to do, and I’m happy. Good for you, Daphne!

    • Thank you! 🙂 That’s awesome! ~ I’m not the only person NOT in college right now. It’s always nice to get positive feedback on that! There’s just no reason for me to go to college yet. I’d end up hurting my situation more than helping. All of my friends are in college, too…. us writers have to stick together. 😉

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