When I was little, my mother used to tell me I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up. I took it deeply to heart.
Years later, I remember having an argument with her and while I don’t remember the specifics, I do remember me bringing up how she used to say that to me and her reply was, “I wish I never said that.”
It didn’t matter. It was too late. The idea that I could do anything I wanted was engrained in me. But her words of regret for saying those words also stayed with me. I had a lot of problems. I wanted to spend my entire life telling stories. I specifically wanted to be a filmmaker, but didn’t have the support or confidence to go to film school.
I stubbornly refused to become anything else, but at the same time…I doubted.
As the years went by, I began to settle. I decided to be a novelist. I went to school for communications with the idea of getting a job in the movie industry as something else and work my way up. But unfortunately, I had no interest in classes that had nothing to do with storytelling. I could pass them with flying colors if I cared enough to do the work, but I didn’t. It caused a whole lot of anxiety.
I held back. I was too afraid to truly go for it. I kept putting off my creative writing because I was terrified of being proven wrong: that I can’t do it, that I can’t be whatever I wanted. By putting it off, I spared myself that horrifying realization. It was a way to protect my ego, my identity.
Fast forward to today, five years of college later. I dropped out and been working part time in fast food for nearly 2 years.
In my attempt to protect my secret belief, my secret wish that I could be whatever I wanted, I ended up living a lie. I haven’t actually done what I truly wanted to do in years. What was going? How did I fail to notice I was ruining my own life? Because I didn’t want to notice. It was too painful. My fear became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Yesterday, I handed in my resignation letter. July 3rd I will no longer be working in a job I hate. I’ll be truly on my own for financial support for the first time in my life.
I’m going to do what I always wanted to do.
I’m going to write a book.
In three weeks, on July 3rd, I’m going to put it up for sale on this website.
What will it be about?
It’ll be nonfiction. Every post over the course of these three weeks—including today’s—will be a piece of that answer.
This book, despite not being a work of fiction, is another dream of mine. Something I wanted to do, but thought I had to wait till I was old and gray and retired before having the credentials to write such a book. But I think I’ll do it now and see what happens
It’s time to finally face my fears and answer my doubts.
Can I really be anything I wanted?
Can I really be a writer?
(Yes, you can. So go for it).