Monday, April 7, 2008

Creatively Dreamin'

“My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.”
- Jack Kerouac

I promise not to start every blog off with a quote of some kind but I just finished immersing myself in the brief bibliographies of the writers of the Beat generation. Very interesting stuff, how a group of creative intellectuals were some of the most self-destructive individuals in their field. I guess in some ways passion and insanity does go hand in hand. But one thing is for sure, they were being true to themselves maybe not in the most productive, healthy way but they did leave their mark on this planet.

Now, I'm all about wanting to leave my mark on this interesting world of ours but I was wondering how to go about it in a calm way. If such a thing really exists being that everyone has a story to tell. Still, I'd like to think that when I leave this place and someone writes my wikipedia biography that it would detail all the work I've done how I've helped people, that I enjoyed my life and didn't destroy my life or others in the process. Maybe it's that people today enjoy reading the insane about people but I'd think most of these writers would have preferred to be remembered by the merit of their work not that they murdered, shot, drank or shot themselves up to the point of no return.

I find it amusing that people tend to want to exploit the negative more so the positive. No wonder people have complexes the way that they do.

This impossible ideal, this unspoken image that must be upheld at all costs but why does it? Whose standard are we trying to keep alive? Theirs or yours? I remember my parents wanted me to be a doctor, I even entertained it for a while but it's not where my heart was. Since my family tends to equate success with wealth anyway, it came as a shock to them. “What a wondrous profession it would be for their smart, upbeat black daughter!” they thought. Except, that's not what I wanted. I ended up going to school for graphic design and theatre but due to my families issues with the “starving artists” mentality; I dropped the theatre and focused on being a desktop artiste extraordinaire. I brought up my GPA, made Dean's List, joined an honors fraternity and I graduated in the fall of 2004 to the cheers of my family. I was the first grandchild to graduate from college (at least, on my fathers side). Yet, even with that behind me now, I knew that this road was still not for me. I didn't want to work for corporate America; I didn't want to sit behind a desk all day, staring at a computer as my eyes dilated. I watched how my parents were, having a “job”, counting down the years to retirement so they could finally do what they really wanted. I didn't want to start living at 50 or 60 but I shut my mouth and went with what they wanted because they were my parents and they knew what was best.

In the black community (I'm sure it happens elsewhere but I can only speak about my own), things focus around more of what you have more than where you are. If you drive the newest Benz out there and command a three-figure salary, it doesn't matter that you hate your job because you are PAID, just take a vacation! I know that my parents just wanted to make sure that I choose a field that I could be fully independent and take care of myself, they are old school and I appreciate that they always cared about my wellbeing but what about putting stock in my dreams? I can't help but be slightly envious of people that I know or read about that their parents who nurtured their dreams and said they could do anything that they put their mind too instead of molding them into what they believed success to be. I never received that, I heard “…creativity is a hobby and you won't ever make a viable living at that” or “…you are smart, why would you waste time on something so silly?”

So being the people pleaser that I am I forsake my love of the arts, put it on a shelf and did like I was told. Now here I am, four years later and I'm chomping at the bit to get back to what's been in my soul for so long. Your passions exist inside you for a reason, only you can be strong enough to live them. Dismissing them won't ever set you free.

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