I graduated from college in December. It’s April, and I haven’t looked for jobs once. I haven’t even gotten my transcript yet. My diploma is still at my parent’s house; its placeholder lays with other discarded tokens—I can see it now.
I can’t help but cringe with shame. What am I doing?
In drama class we’d do this exercise where we annunciated a different word in the same sentence and would then act accordingly. Each word demonstrated a separate feeling, scene, or action. Italics are great for that, too.
I think we all ask the same question: What am I doing?
And everybody around you is asking you the same thing.
“So, what are you doing now that you’ve graduated?”
I can’t help but cringe under the question because I don’t have an answer. I have no idea what I’m doing, and people give you a funny look when you tell them that. A very wise friend of mine gave me some advice close to my graduation, where I was feeling very anxious to snag a career and do my thing. Mind, I didn’t know what career. There was a great pressure that drove me, but it also frightened me. My mind was a flashing repeat of this huge, unanswerable question: “HOW?”
How was I going to do it? How was I going to pull it off?
I didn’t have an answer. (It’s a common trend.)
So this friend of mine, she told me to take a little time off for myself. She made me realize that my life had lately consisted of nothing but school and responsibilities. I spent the last of my college years stretched between due dates and homework and supporting myself. In the past two years I’ve developed quite an extensive resume in the food industry. And when you pass out at 3am working on essays that you procrastinated on after a long shift—you can’t help but feel exhausted, burnt out, through, apathetic, but determined.
I had my first panic attack around that time. (Which is another topic all together.)
So I took her advice.
I’ve learned that you can’t know what you’re doing until you know what you’re supposed to be doing. And what I mean by that is you have to know who you are. Some may argue that I got my degree in communications, so I should do that. (Please, we make fun of ourselves for our vague field.)
I’m certainly interested in my field. I just don’t know what I’m trying to communicate. I’ve learned that people who talk about what they don’t know don’t actually communicate anything.
What am I doing?
“Am” is the first person present of “be.”
There have been certain events and life changes that have changed who I am and my perception, and I am trying to figure out who I am by simply being. I’ve pleasantly discovered that I’ve been me this whole time. Change isn’t so much transforming as it is peeling back layers. The butterfly is still the caterpillar, after all. And who tells the butterfly not to grow its wings?
I have plans for the future—more than I can or will ever account for.
In the past three months I’ve unmasked this passionate love for art. It had peaked before, of course. I’ve always scribbled and colored and tried, always like fins breaking the surface for a moment. But it ran deeper than I knew.
I’ve always liked writing; I always liked reading. But I fucking love them now. Swept up, head over heels—it’s quite disorientating sometimes. My dream is to publish a novel. My fantasy is for it to do well.
I’d think it’d be cool to work in a publishing or editing position, or do the copy at an art museum. I think about picking up writing gigs anywhere just to get moving. I toy with the idea of working for a magazine, but not writing shitty trends and gossips and fake, shapeless words, but meaningful articles about things I care about, write for an art magazine or a literary website or find a cause. I fall asleep thinking about sailing across the sea to teach English.
When I started college, I applied at the local university with the intent of transferring to a Pentecostal school after my core with the dreams of being a minister. After two years I moved out, switched churches, helped start a ministry on campus, but I began to notice something had changed.
I had completed my core and was forced to finally choose what the hell I wanted to do. (“I don’t know…”) So I chose Communications because I was drawn to English and felt unsure about transferring. If I could go back I’d choose creative writing without hesitation. Back then I knew there was no job in it, so no reason to pursue it. Plus, I figured, God had called me to the ministry, regardless of what I chose.
But I began to notice something had changed. Maybe it was me.
A year ago I decided that I couldn’t pretend like something hadn’t changed. Maybe it was Him. So I no longer wanted to work in the ministry. That was a game changer for my future plans. Yikes, I had to make future plans now. My own plans.
It’s been a lot of soul searching. It’s been a lot of thinking. It’s been a lot of healing. But spring is here, and the bear emerges from her cave with the sun glimmering on her fur—absolved, sleepy, and a goal in her heart: I am a writer.