The truly frustrating thing about figuring out who you want to be is that the person you want to be and the person you could be are not always the same. Or in sync. Or even parallel.
I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and yes, I’ve always wanted to be a writer– but feature writing and TV ads were only a plus, never the main event. It was short stories, and novels, and essays, because (and I cannot get over how lame this sounds) those are the things that mean something to me.
But I’ve also always wanted to be a chemist, or an archaeologist, or a computer engineer. Research, development, innovation– I thought these were things that upon intersection with my more cultural inclinations would come to fruition in advertising.
I was wrong. I still want to discover a new element to squeeze into the periodic table, and I still want to find a forehead wide enough that it could only belong to the First Men, and I still want to look down on earth from a watchtower in space. Everything else was only ever icing on the cake.
Except I don’t have the mental capacity for any of that. I never took any classes, I never tried any experiments, I never expressed more than a passing interest, because, bottom line: I’m not smart enough for any of it. I know that, and isn’t that what sucks the most? Only ever knowing how to dream, but leaving it just at that?
Sometimes I wonder if it’s because I consume too much science fiction slash fantasy. Um, yes, I probably do– but I also like creating things. I like believing that nothing is impossible.
Ironically enough, that’s my agency’s internal campaign for the year. I don’t think I made a mistake by coming here, even though everyone else seems to think so. Why do I stay? I like the environment. I like being told to think big, but within the constraints of reality. I like being only worth as much as your last idea. Yes, I do sometimes worry that I’ll start to prefer overtly airbrushed images and write with a consumerist undercurrent, but to be honest, I know this isn’t for me in the long run– but I feel like I’m training my brain to pump out ideas left and right, and to make something out of everything.
I already know what everyone else thinks would be a better fit for me (conveniently forgetting that I am painfully awkward, and that I am not a likeable person). I know the acceptable logic is to go where you know you’ll succeed, or be great, or whatever, but I’ve always been the opposite: if you know you’ll do well, why not take on something new, something different, something you’d completely and utterly suck at? Setting yourself up for failure is so boneheaded, but it just gets so boring when your job is “fun,” and not “challenging,” or “discouraging,” or “utterly heartbreaking.”
Sigh. I never know what to do anymore. Usually when I write, I end up figuring out a conclusion along the way, and I close my laptop knowing what to do, but now… Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha I want a doughnut.