“What are you going to be when you grow up?” I am sure many of you all remember that question when you were little; a question, which became very difficult for me to answer over time.
When I was a young child, my hopes & dreams of what I would be were very different and very reflective of my life & society at that time. I wanted to be a wife, a mother, be a hairdresser, a teacher, an artist, a nurse… with innocence and in wonder, I dreamed.
As the years went by, those dreams dissipated.
With repeated attacks on my esteem and living in a non-nurturing dysfunctional environment, the words “You can’t” only reinforced all those negative truths I had come to believe. By the time I was to graduate, I did not have a clue what direction to take.
Feeling very alone and unsure, I applied for the Commercial Art Course at the Vocational School, with Cooking as my second choice. When asked to bring in my portfolio for my interview, I was dumbfounded. I actually had to look up its definition. Rounding up what few things I had to show, I went in. My heart was pounding as I sat in front of the principal. With all the questions he asked, the very one thing that stuck in my brain was “With your high marks, why don’t you go to college?” I weakly replied,” Because I want to take your Commercial Art Course…”
In receiving a non-acceptance letter from the School, I went away feeling I was not good enough.
Looking back now, 35 years later, I understand that my lack of a portfolio did not help show my talent and help in my acceptance. I know that now. It had nothing to do with not being “good enough”.
I actually feel that by the principal not valuing Art as a vocation, nor that a smart person should even consider going to a vocational School was very offensive and demeaning; not only to me, but to the school.
In all essence, I feel he was saying… smart people with good grades should get better education, resulting in higher paying jobs. He was and is not alone in that thinking. For the most part, that is what society portrays. It is all about money and the material things in life that makes a person. Forget who you are or even what you love.
When I think back on my dreams of what I wanted to be, I live with no regret. Do I wish I could have, should have? Nope. You see, I have actually become all of them and more.
I was a wife… when I had thought I’d be the “old maid” living at home. I am a mother… of a son and a daughter. I am a hairdresser… I cut my own hair as well as others. I am a teacher… I taught Sunday school and I taught my son… I also teach myself many things. I am an artist in many different mediums and areas. I am a nurse… I have nursed my son when he has been sick, and having gone through Curtis’ illness, I can work circles around some of the nurses I have met.
I am many things. I can do anything I put my mind to.
In wondering if I will be able to go back to cooking when I get the green light from the doctors, I begin to think of the possibilities of what I could do… and I am overwhelmed. Here I am 53 and feeling like that child wondering what I want to be when I grow up.
Someone asked me… “Well, what is your passion? What do you love…?” I thought for a bit and could not think of one passion, for I have many. I love to do many things, How do I choose?
Well, I have come to realize there is one underlying truth in everything I love to do; that is helping others, for it is in the giving that gives me so much joy.
At one time, helping others was very much distorted and fueled with my need to be accepted and loved. That was helping for the wrong reasons. My Ego at times took over and I lost myself. That reminds me of a verse that was written in my autograph book; “Don’t be what you isn’t, just be what you is, cause if you what you isn’t, you isn’t what you is.”
Knowing who I am now, I know what I will be when I grow up. I will be ME. I will be the best I can be at whatever I do. And I will be helping others and giving of myself.
On the weekend, I was out doing my thing… oblivious to anyone around me, having a wonderful time. Someone came up to me that barely knew me and gave me a hug and they said, “I so love seeing your joy and spirit and love of life”
It blew me away, I smiled and thanked him.
It never ceases to amaze me how my life has the ability to touch another.
I truly believe I hold that power…that ability to share my true essence without even trying… especially when being me… minus the ego.
We all hold that power… the spirit within… to be extraordinary.
This morning I read a quote, which really resonated, it said,” Success cannot be measured by material things. What drives us and motivates us to live has very little to do with material possessions, but has so much more to do with desire and an inner need to fulfill a specific calling.”
What is your calling? What are you going to be when you grow up? Just a few things to think about… I know I am not alone.