When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name;—— the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Can you remember a moment in your life when you had life in yourself and it was wholly strange and new? Can you remember the moment when you stopped walking a path of someone else, and started cutting your own?
I wrote an earlier blog post for the Reverb10 project, detailing the first time that I decided to do something because it's what I genuinely wanted (I would recommend reading that before reading this particular post any further). However, that was only the beginning; there were many things that happened afterward that cultivated into this particular realization.
It wasn't a moment in itself, but rather a series of moments. In the first few days of walking around campus, I felt as though this combination of weights and burdens had been lifted off my shoulders: I no longer had to play the role (if you want to call it that) of this older daughter who frequently had to be strong and hold the fort down for her family. I didn't have to tell my parents everything I did, nor did I have to seek their approval before I did something. I didn't have to worry about our financial situation. I was paving my own way and living my life the way I wanted to live it. And I must say, it felt pretty freaking good.
That kind of outlook helped me to deal with choices that I would be lead to make in the near future: rushing for a sorority for a second time, (and as of right now, a third) and opting to live an apartment for my second year of college as opposed to a dorm. And although this is not a definite decision yet, I have begun to seriously consider staying on campus next summer.
Of course, all of these choices have been met with some objections: Am I sure that I'm ready for this? What if...?
I recently sat down with my parents as we discussed my resisting advice or help in the past, along with how that correlated to these decisions that I was being led to make. All in all I told them, "I need to do what I want, on my own terms and in my own time."
From these words, one could argue that I am being a selfish and defiant teenager. Truth be told, I have always been a rather stubborn little lady. My mom used to tell me that when I was in the hospital, I would kick off my diapers and frequently try to reconnect my arms and legs from whatever the heck they were hooked up to. In fact, it took me four months to come home from the hospital because I had to gain a certain amount of weight (apparently I refused to eat, or I probably spit it all back up) and I was unable to breathe on my own. In short, I didn't do anything until I was damn well ready to.
But sometimes it's good to be selfish. The way I see it, there are two kinds of selfishness. One is where you choose to do what you want, but you're basically telling anyone who objects to you decision(s) to go to hell. The second is where you're aware of the feelings of the people around you, but you also understand that there comes a point where you need to take care of yourself my choosing to pursue your own dreams. And more so, you're able to communicate that with those people.
I realize that a lot of my choices and decisions have seemed out of the ordinary or just downright crazy. I understand that my parents miss me when I'm away from home, and that my choosing to do what I do requires a lot of money. But I wouldn't (and still don't) do anything unless I whole-heartedly believe that I will grow and benefit from that particular decision. I choose to do things because I strongly feel that it will be for the better, and that it will help me in becoming who I am meant to be.
And order to become the best that you can be, sometimes you have to do things that not necessarily everyone else will agree with, nor will it be what they want for you.
I've said this before and I'll say it again: everything has its moment. I believe that my moment is now.
I have just set up an e-mail account for this blog: if you would like to e-mail me with questions, comments, etc. you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org