Let It Fly
How the Jaded Idealist Conformed and Decides to Relinquish her Fate to the Heavens
Here I am at the close—one foot flirting with the future and one foot held back, ambivalent on where the choices will lead me to. You’ve heard this story one time too many—A Pollyanna utopian with grandiose dreams savoring strongly of naïveté; a square peg pushed into a round hole by the dictations of society to do what’s practical, what’s necessary, what’s possible. One thing that makes mine of a distinctive quality is that had I not been “dressed” against what I want, today I wouldn’t have finished college and highly resemble a hedonist and be a perfect example of an out-of-school youth, dropping out of courses due to easy disinterest and inattention. My interests were highly varied (medicine, psychology, law, creative writing, fine arts, IT) and God knows it would’ve taken me ages to decide what course to take. Albeit the diversity of my interests, one fact remains to hold true: My heart’s contentment lies in writing.
As I graduated out of high school, my eyes shone bright with the promise of attained dreams. For someone coming from way down south (Iligan City to be precise)—a place prejudiced to be uncivilized for the regular occurrence of bomb threats—dreams where something you wake up from and not what you do awake. But being my hell-bent self I pushed on those yearnings and took entrance exams in universities like UP, ADMU, CSB, and passed all of them. It felt like being on top of the world—it is true—a small town girl can get her shot at her dream! I was about to tell everyone I know when I was slapped by the fact that I just cannot leave my family. At that time, for me, it felt too self-seeking to go off to the big city while my family staves off what little pleasure we can manage in our lives just so they can fund me and my dreams. Being a martyr isn’t in my nature and I especially do not feign altruism. My family weighed heavier than my dreams, as simple as that. My dreams where certainly not a practical path to create, I concur, and so I choose the course of the nation: Nursing.
For four years I’m still in disbelief that I lasted. Working 16 hour shifts scrubbing in surgeries and deliveries, attending to the patient’s needs (also confused as attending to their every whim) and a series of disturbing client interactions in the psychiatric ward was enough to make me grab the next train out and on to the next sane course. To top all that off are books begging to be scanned and perused! It felt excruciatingly stressful to deal not only with your problems but likewise other people’s qualms. So in my spare time I write on my blog named Thieves By Tuesday* because I “steal away” time from school work on Tuesdays and attend to my writing and music hoarding needs—a feeble attempt to feed my creativity from the monotonous and droning appeal of college life. Now as graduation draws nearer, I find myself fumbling for a string to guide me in the darkness. I don’t feel that sense of accomplishment that finally, my education has served me well to work toward my dreams. The real world is a toga away and I feel like my retired workaholic neighbor who stares at long periods at the face in his mirror as if to ask, “Who are you and what did you do to my joie de vivre?” I was petrified with my predicament. 40 years fast forward that retired workaholic will have my name in their retirement bonuses.
I’m fuming at myself at figuring this out just now. I’m in too deep and stuck doing something I never really loved, and if I did, not as much as I did writing. Now every time someone asks me how graduating feels like I opt for a fool-proof “Great,” accompanied by that outrageously fake grin. I might have fooled others but certainly not myself. I try to convince myself that there are many graduating students out there in the same demented state as I am. There are many who chickened-out on their dreams like me, right? Ok, no then. So tell me, is it wrong to be scared of wildly chasing your dreams and not care of where you place at the end? I felt cheated in life, being “strategically” restricted to a place where chances are hard to come by and in pathetic instances not being pretty enough so that I could easily be discovered by agents, model for TVCs and not have to worry about money anymore. These defense mechanisms where all I had to keep me from the thing I feared the most: regret. Regret of letting opportunity to work myself to my dreams and regret for myself, that I let my fear of the unknown get the best of me and of my dreams.
Now, after reading numerous accounts of success stories from dreamers, with vehemence I say one fact of life: It is basically unfair. But even in a condition that’s unfair, I think it’s possible to seek out a kind of fairness. Certainly that might take time and effort. And maybe it won’t seem to be worth it all that. It’s up to each individual to decide whether or not it is. The world is a huge space, but the space that will take you in - and it doesn’t have to be very big - is will be found soon enough. You seek a voice to coax you to go on or you may get silence. You better know what you want or risk walking aimlessly in the world devoid of passion and purpose. And that’s what I will steer clear from.
Come early April the undecided student will graduate and get her Bachelors of Science degree in Nursing. In a couple of months’ time then face the inevitable licensure examination. Don’t get me wrong; those chances I passed up were still salt on my hypothetical wounds but if I didn’t go through finishing Nursing I never would’ve known with certainty what I truly, deeply want. The four years is nothing compared to those who live their lives based on what others dream for them or what then current tide of the social dictates. In an effort to make a move on those aspirations here’s my plan. In an interview at the Oprah show, Jim Carrey shared the time he put a piece of torn motel paper with a big something written on it. He kept the piece of paper in his wallet virtually all the time when he was starting out acting. A few years later, he looked at his wallet again and then attached behind his 5 million dollar check for a movie he starred was this worn out old paper with the same amount of money. So now I’m not afraid to work for my NY Times Bestseller-worthy book to be published, for literary fans waiting for me to put my insignia (a four leaf clover) on their copy of my book’s cover sleeves or that covetable one-on-one interview with literary geniuses Haruki Murakami and Stephen King. It’s more than far-fetched, I know. I must be delirious. But see, anyone who has ever been successful had been crazy once in their lives. My time is now.
By Jellie Dawn, a fresh graduate whose interests range from the nondescript to completely absurd. She reads practically anything (especially food labels) and loves to overshare.
I wrote this for a national writing competition by New Slang. This just cements the fact that I’m a fickle. My writer dreams will have to wait. :)