This Lullaby (esp. Remy)

When I first read This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen for the first time, more than five years ago, I thought the main character, Remy Starr, was really tough and independent. I kinda wanted to be like her, you know? She doesn’t take shit from anyone, she’s an organization freak and a total cynic when it comes to relationships. Protecting herself from getting hurt.

The book became one of my favorites after the first time I read it, and it stayed there after every re-read (I must have read it about a dozen times by now). I especially love her friendship with Lissa, Jess and Chloe – a solid ground for Remy, which is a great contrast against her romantic relationships and her mother’s fifth re-marriage (or fourth, depending on how you count).

It must have been a couple of years since I re-read it last. Today, I went through Remy’s in-between summer after high school and before college again. And I saw things that I didn’t see before. Remy is – like so many of us, if not all – contradictory. On the one hand, she’s totally reliable and efficient, holding up a summer job and handling her mother’s wedding plan single-handedly. Even though her father had left them before she was even born, and her mother is preoccupied with her creative career (novelist), and even her I-don’t-give-a-shit brother Chris has been straightened out by his girlfriend, Remy loves her mom and Chris. She trusts and takes care of her friends. She’s heading for Stanford in September, for goodness’ sake. However, she’s also self-destructive. It’s her self-destructive behaviors that I haven’t really wanted to – or have been unable to – see before. Her reliance and dependence on alcohol when she gets upset; pushing her bad habits to the limit until “the girl in the mirror” surfaces again – that need to torch your ground so you can fall deep, deep down into self-hatred again; not letting any boy in in fear of getting hurt.

I wish Sarah Dessen had pushed more – just more – when she wrote This Lullaby. There are many potentials she could have dug deeper into. A closer look at the friendship dynamic and why Remy feels comfortable with her girls. Or why she falls back into self-hate and how she slowly comes out of it, or how she learns to deal with it, at least. The author does press down on vulnerability (although she doesn’t term it as such) and its necessity  if you really want to live. Taking chances, opening up, living despite the fears instead of shutting down. But Remy seems to accept it just like that and applies it to her future without a reflection on her past. I dunno. It wasn’t as satisfying for me, I guess.

But the reason why I love Sarah Dessen’s books is her ability to capture the everyday moments in beautiful simplicity. It’s those little moments sewn together that makes the story and characters resonate with me. This is especially true for me with This Lullaby and Just Listen. Her more recent books have lost that spark, that special something. For me, anyway. But This Lullaby still remains one of my favorites.

I’ve been reading for escapism a lot lately, which explains the five In Death books I’ve gobbled down in just as many days. Plus This Lullaby today. It’s nice to disappear and forget about the world for a weekend, which is surprisingly easy to do. But this time, there was (almost) none of the clutch in the stomach, desperate attempt to drown in fictional worlds or large portion of guilt making me sick. I just needed to disappear for a while. And now I’m back and ready.

My brain is intent on making me unhappy

Headache. Anxiety. Binge-eating, then (understandably) feeling sick.

Okay. Something’s afoot.

After all the lengths I have gone to in order to ensure that I am free of stressful burden, why am I not throwing a party, dancing in the rain, playing the sloth, or doing the things on top of my I’ll-get-to-it-once-I-have-more-time list?

I have time right now! In fact, I did all I could to make sure I have these months to myself. So why am I feeling restless and anxious?

Then the answer hit me: I don’t think I deserve this.

Like, gimme a friggin’ break, brain.

That’s the thing about creating a vacuum, I guess. We all go on thinking, If I only had some free time… and when that free time rolls around, we don’t do all the awesome, fulfilling things we had planned. At least I don’t because I appear to have some serious issues.

I could spend days, weeks, months care-free and happy. Creative. Relaxed. But no, I am already tensed about somehow mangling this precious time (I seriously borrow trouble) and I am anxious because I feel I don’t deserve to be happy and creative and relaxed. When will I ever allow myself to think I deserve happiness, I wonder? After getting a kick-ass degree? After finding a job? After saving the world from its every harm?

My feelings of inadequacy have always been there and they’ve been driving me crazy for years. I guess that’s the core of it. Guilt is a byproduct of feeling inadequate and undeserving. Because that’s how I still think – that you have to earn happiness. You have to do something to deserve it.
So I keep feeling like shit and being stressed out. I keep having all these ailments that are small yet persistent and always appear without a cause. Maybe because I think I am allowed to abandon that way of thinking when – and only while! – I am sick. As soon as I am back on my feet, I go back to thinking I should be feeling miserable all the time.

It’s somehow easier to think, to generalize, that everyone deserves happiness. When it comes to myself, the sentence “I deserve to be happy” doesn’t roll as easily off the tongue. Maybe because I know all about my own dark side? Because I know all the petty, mean, selfish, aloof thoughts that I have? With others, it’s like oh yeah, sure, everyone has troubles, issues, dark sides, but with me it’s like OMG YOU WHAT?!

I don’t know if this means I think too highly or too lowly of myself.

I’d like to share FutureLearn with you

I came across this website – http://www.futurelearn.com – by an accident. A tweet from Claire (readingbukowski) snagged my interest (and I don’t even have a Twitter account). It’s funny how a seemingly small and mindless gesture can have a big impact.

FutureLearn offers free online courses by diverse universities mainly from the English-speaking countries but hey, there’s also Yonsei University classes on FutureLearn!
Let me say just this: The courses – and FutureLearn for providing a platform – are an incredible contribution to education, in my opinion. They are diverse, engaging and professional. Have a look at their catalogue here: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/categories

How it works: You sign up for a course. Once it starts (a course lasts from 4 weeks to 8), you have an access to the materials for each course. It is designed in a way that you have a number of tasks each week, but you can also work ahead or catch up. The tasks/materials can be to read a text or watch a video or to discuss in the comment section. Each course has an estimate of hours you should put aside for the course each week. I think the average is three hours per week. All courses are taught in English. Until now I haven’t seen a class that requires previous knowledge or experience.

I know you all are busy (because who isn’t? Oh, wait, that would be me.) and I’m not forcing you to take any online classes on top of your other obligations. But I just wanted to share that something like FutureLearn exists!

Currently I am enrolled (you can quit any class any time and there will be absolutely no repercussions whatsoever) in two courses (Preparing for University and Africa: Sustainable Development for All?) and there are seven more scheduled classes, starting in June, August and September. I am not 100% certain that I’ll be taking part in all of them but I am really interested in most of the courses.
Here is why I am so happy with FutureLearn: Not only does it keep my brains from going zombie during my classes-free months (because I’ve been ditching law classes from May and my second attempt at university starts in October), it also forces my mind open to new impulses – thoughts, ideas, discussions, possibilities. It’s a very valuable source of information that is accessible to everybody (who has access to the internet).

There is no profit in making these contents and making them available to the public. This is a contribution that I really appreciate and am grateful for.

Let’s celebrate life!

As Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, slowly fades into the night sky, I quietly celebrate life in my heart.

Do you know the feeling of such intense happiness that you dance to the music only you can hear, and your heart is bursting with loud or quiet joy, and all your worries fade into insignificant nothingness, and your laughter contains the key to all the mysteries you have ever faced? You light up from within, and you can’t stop smiling, and other people can see it too? You are invincible, not because you are impenetrable but because you embrace vulnerability and fling yourself wide open. You are still afraid but your fears make you feel brave instead of miserable. Your body is vibrating with energy and you are swamped with the love for life.

This – let’s call it joy – isn’t something that is doled out to you on a rare occasion because you’ve been a “good person”. You can create joy. In fact, you are the only person who can give yourself joy.

That’s what I believe, anyway. My values – honesty, authenticity, contribution or giving back, creativity, compassion, vulnerability, love, gratitude, simplicity, accepting our humanness, forgiveness. Me as I am, not who I should be. Embracing my human flaws and goodness. And celebrating it.

I am lit up with life. Happy Litha, everyone.

I am not ready

It is very frustrating to realize that I can’t wave a magic wand and have myself “fixed” immediately. It is frustrating… and at the same time, I am relieved. This time, I saw and recognized the signs before I deteriorated the second time. Or third time? Or is it fourth? Does it matter?

I have come far since last month. But it has been only a month. I know I can’t ask of myself to be on full swing… but I had hoped that without the classes and the pressure from exams, I might be able to write a research paper on the area of prostitution and its legalization in Germany. A fascinating topic. Enough materials, I think. The only problem? By the time I had surfaced from the ocean of self-hate, depression and self-doubt, not to mention the slooow recovery from my balance problem, I had two weeks left to complete the paper. I still have ten days to turn it in.

And I can’t do it. I am mentally not able to do it. It’s just not that I am having difficulty concentrating and understanding the dense reading materials, although it’s certainly a part of it. The equally big part, though… it’s going to sound stupid. But I can’t face those people. The law people.
I was at the faculty library on Wednesday for four hours, and I came home with a headache that I tried to sleep off. Headaches I can deal with… what I can’t is that I was drowning in self-doubt once again. Hundreds of students with a blank look on their face, their permanently frozen facial muscles, their looks of disinterest. When they are forced to talk, they talk only to the people they know and laugh about some obscure things I can’t even begin to comprehend. Seeing them has sent me into a tailspin of all the negative emotions I have come to associate with the past two years (mind you, there have been wonderful times in those two years as well).

And I have to deal with them for two weeks in August?! Every. Single. Day?!!

I can’t do it. It will reset every progress that I have made and will make until August.

I know I am choosing not to face the triggers. I am equally aware of the fact that I can’t shield myself from every blow. I am taking the easy way out, just like I did with AIESEC. I am breaking ethical promises. On the other hand, I have made personal promises to myself, including taking care of myself and being authentic. If keeping the ethical promises means that I have to bend and break myself into a pretzel in order fulfill them, then I have a decision to make. I must decide between those two sets of promises. Each decision has a benefit and a drawback.

This time, I am not agonizing about what everyone else will think. Just like the decisions I’d made over the past month, I will make this one on my own and shoulder the consequences. I will learn not to care if people blame me for my choice. I am not going to blame myself for my choice.

I am not ready. I am taking care of myself and will continue to do so. So the answer, for me, is obvious.

I’m back on track & what I am reading

I’m back on track. It feels good to feel secure and enthusiastic about my next steps, big or small.

About a month ago, I started to crumble. I was shattering into pieces, and too exhausted and depressed to do anything about it. I took a week for myself to discover why. I looked into myself and at first couldn’t see myself. When I stripped away all the guilt and fear and other negativity I had surrounded myself with, I still didn’t see anything because that’s what I had reduced myself to: nothing. How have I let myself come this far down? It was, I dimly realized, high time that I actively decided my own future.

In order to do that, I had to be brave to admit what I really wanted, what really mattered to me. Deciding to study Law was my first mistake, but a mistake with benefits. Not dropping out a year ago was my second mistake. I almost made a third when I thought I’d study Political Science instead. At that time, I thought “This is a choice I can live with”, promptly forgetting that that’s just what I was thinking two years ago when I decided on Law as my major. A good friend of mine sent me a link to Ruth Chang’s Ted talk on how to make hard choices. So I started questioning the values I had put behind my choice of Political Science – and my other choice, English Literature. The former was relative financial security without breaking my back (as I did with Law). The latter was me.

I talked to my Mom and sister about wanting to drop Law but I wouldn’t tell them any of my future plans until I was firm in what I wanted. Mom was a bit baffled but she said she’d support me in whatever I think is right.
I was being given a second chance. And I was deathly afraid that I’d somehow mangle this precious gift. I knew enough now to know that I’d live with whatever future I chose. But I wanted to use this second chance to its fullest potential and not burn myself out the second time.

So I chose to be unashamedly myself. It was an exhilarating and scary moment to finally own myself exactly the way I am. Once I had made the choice to be the only person I know how to be, it was surprisingly easy to tell my mother and sister about it. My sister just nodded, as if it all made sense and she had known it all along, and my Mom looked a bit disbelieving but still encouraged me to follow through.

The last part, and the hardest one, was to tell my father. I have a turbulent relationship with my father, and it was his disapproval and criticisms I had braced myself against the most. I had planned on telling him when he was here in Germany next month but all this untold weight on my chest was making it impossible for me to do anything else. So I dialed, and we talked.
And he completely threw me off. He wasn’t critical. He wasn’t upset. He didn’t talk down to me. He was thoughtful, surprisingly gentle, and supportive. He was certainly caught off guard but he wasn’t trying to dissuade me or to steer me into another direction. He did raise a few alternatives and asked if I found them equally appealing. “Safer” alternatives. But I wasn’t about to make another mistake. So I told him, quite sincerely, that I wanted to study English Literature. I told him, and later also Mom, that I was determined to go jobbing on the side to complete my education. My parents, bless them, are resolved to support me until they are unable to do so. I am grateful for this new opportunity and intend to work hard to make most of it.
Later I told Mom that a weight has been lifted off my shoulders now that I told Dad. She looked at me strangely and said: “I thought it would be the opposite – with this uncertain future hanging over your shoulder.” No, I told her, I haven’t ever felt this certain about the future.

After I finish my education, I don’t know where I will end up. But I am sure I will find something because I have come to realize that there is a lot of hitherto unknown sources of awesomeness within me.

This kind of leads me to my next topic: what I am currently reading. I am reading The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist. It’s a lot about fundraising but not in a how-to or why-to way. The book examines our own and our culture’s relationship with money, and it’s basically a mixture of minimalism, questioning our values and the idea of sufficiency. I also keep finding traces of what I found in Shakti Gawain’s Creative Visualization: the belief that you trust the Universe to help you realize your potentials (but only if you don’t struggle against the gentle stream). It’s about recognizing that the world doesn’t have to be you-or-me but you-and-me.
The book is written a little in a disorganized, rambling kind of way without a clear structure. It can be annoying at times but you can find good anecdotes and some great, thought-provoking ideas. The Soul of Money is one of those books that, if you let it, can change the way you look at life. You can apply the idea not only to money but also to other concepts as well, such as time.

Lately, there were so many days I woke up thinking I don’t have enough time to get all this done. But I have been proving myself to the contrary these last two, three days. All I have to do is to know what I truly want to do, and why I want to do it. Knowing the why helps me find a fresh spurt of motivation. I also believe in the sufficiency of time, and that there are enough hours in a day to get done what I need to get done. It’s not about wishing there were more hours in a day but about doing the best with what I have and appreciating it.

Can we […] in our relationship with money and all resources shift from the assumption that more, no matter what, is better? Can we recognize that better comes from not more, but in deepening our experience of what’s already there? Rather than growth being external in acquiring anc accumulating money or things, can we redefine growth to see it as a recognition of and appreciation for what we already have?

The Soul of Money, p. 86

The Glass Castle: A Memoir

The Glass Castle is a memoir by Jeannette Walls, mostly detailing her childhood and early teenage years. Even though it is written from Jeannette’s point of view, it is really a memoir of her family. Family dynamics, loyalty and the sheer eccentricity of the Walls family is the main focus of this memoir.

The book opens when the three-year-old Jeannette accidentally sets herself on fire as she boils hot dogs in their trailer park. The Walls parents encouraged their children to be self-sufficient, so letting their three-year-old daughter operate a stove all by herself wasn’t unusual for them. They also moved around a lot, usually when the money ran out and they were behind on rent or had some troubles with the local authority. Three locations play a bigger roles throughout of the book: Battle Mountain, Nevada; Phoenix, Arizona; and Welch, West Virginia. There are many more tiny stops before and in between and the “final” destination leads the Walls family to New York City.

Rex Walls was brilliant, always full of ideas and loved his wife and his children. He was also an alcoholic, irresponsible and violent. Rose Mary Walls is an artist, a moody person and a careless parent. But she is also so much more than the three labels I’d slapped on her. They both hated the idea of confinement, authority and oppression (and labeling). They were free spirits, going wherever they want to go and doing whatever they want to do – or they were careless, neglectful and selfish parents. Because real life isn’t either-or, they were both good and bad parents, loving and selfish people.

As Jeannette grows older in the book, her perception and ability to understand gradually changes – especially concerning her father, whom she idolizes as a child. All Walls children were thrown into becoming self-sufficient and it was both fascinating and scary to read about it. Lori, Jeannette, Brian and Maureen look after each other but due to their self-sufficiency (except for Maureen, who was too young when things went downhill), they are used to being their own people.

The thing about The Glass Castle is that it didn’t give me any answers. It did give me a lot of questions to think about. Actually, if there is one answer that I received from the book, it is that I have to accept the fact that there are seldom clear-cut answers in life. It’s easy to say “Oh yeah, life is neither black nor white, there is lots of gray area, blah blah blah” but it’s quite another thing to be so plainly shown just how muddy that middle area is.
Are Rex and Rose Mary’s philosophies about raising children – or their general attitude towards life – problematic? I don’t know. They are both generally open-minded about lots of things and bring up their kids to think broadly and openly.  At the same time they turn a blind eye when their children need them most because ignoring is easier than confronting. They demand to be their own people first, in a shoulder-shrugging, that’s-just-who-I-am kind of way. They are hypocrites, but then we all are. It became impossible for me to judge them, especially because the author herself doesn’t condemn anyone in her book.

In fact, Jeannette Walls’ engaging yet non-judgmental narrative voice is very striking. The Glass Castle isn’t devoid of emotions. Happiness, confusion, anger, guilt, love – they are well woven into the story. But in the end, and all in all, the book isn’t accusatory. Sometimes you can’t just understand certain people, but because they’re family, you accept and love them. Even if that way of loving isn’t conventional. Maybe it has to be different.

The titular Glass Castle is Rex Walls’ perhaps biggest project: a house that is made of glass and which is so self-sufficient that it doesn’t need any outside supplies such as electricity or gas to function. It is a distant and vague dream he promised to his children – a dream that eventually gets cracked over the time until it erodes. There is one very symbolic moment in the book when Jeannette and Brian realize that the Glass Castle isn’t ever going to happen: when they dig a hole for the foundation of the Glass Castle and their father tells them to fill it up with garbage since they can’t afford the trash-collection fee and the trash’s gotta go somewhere. “[A]s Brian and I watched, the hole for the Glass Castle’s foundation slowly filled with garbage.” (p. 190 in mass market paperback edition)

My feelings about this book aren’t coherent but I know that it has made me think and experience. And that I want to read more books like The Glass Castle.

Things that used to weigh me down

A long time ago, I don’t know when or where, I wrote that the idea of being able to up and leave whenever your mood strikes sounded very appealing to me. In the same post, I also wrote why I can’t just decide to move countries. I think it was mostly due to all the stuff that I own. Not just portable items – you know, the ones that you can stack, fold or squeeze into boxes – but what about the big ones like bookshelves and bed and dressers?
I kept making up other reasons afterwards: it is difficult to find good, rentable apartments in big cities; all that paperwork involved; packing and unpacking is stressful; I wouldn’t know anyone; I wouldn’t know all the new regulations and laws that I’d have to adhere to (I’m thinking about moving to another continent and one of the reasons I can’t go is because I wouldn’t know where to dump toxic waste?!); close down and open up new bank accounts, health insurance, pension, who-knows-what.

Of course, I wasn’t actually moving anywhere. It was all a what-if situation in my head: What if an occasion did arise that made it necessary or possible for me to move to X?

I wasn’t even accounting the rational things to worry about: language, culture, crime rate, employment rate, cost of living, political system, economic situation, etc. etc.

I have changed since then. Thanks to Bekka Thomas’ book, Ashley Riordan, and The Minimalists, I have learned to change my relationship to material possessions and to examine my value system. I have slowly stopped giving so much power to physical objects. While I still think paperwork is annoying and to be avoided at all costs, I wouldn’t let it stop me from achieving what I really want. I am re-evaluating my concept of and relationship to money.
The driving power behind all this, however, is that I stopped thinking – no, believing – that I have to endure mediocrity, pain and stagnation. I am leaving that cycle now. I plan to be awesome, healthy and forever growing. I can’t put this better than Joshua Fields Millburn in his essay “Of Course It’s Unreasonable, Dummy!”:

Being unhappy and discontent is completely reasonable within our society. We see it every day. Being reasonable means lowering your standards. Being reasonable means doing what everyone else expects you to do. Being reasonable means living an average life. But I’d rather be extraordinarily unreasonable and content and happy. I’d rather live a meaningful, albeit unreasonable, life. Get unreasonable and everything’s possible.

Get unreasonable. Be you.

Taking my own advice, I am almost finished plotting my next steps. I have to hand in all those dreaded documents – identify them, find them, and send them off – but as far as my intention goes, I my goal is to get a B.A. in English Literature (as major) and in North America Studies and Dutch Literature (as minors). I also plan on going on an exchange program to an American college, probably after my second year. The German university I will be applying to has really good exchange programs and if I get accepted by one of those, all my tuition for the American college (there are many to choose from) will be waived! And there’s the possibility that they will grant me additional scholarship to cover my expenses while I’m in the States.

Going to the States has been a dream of mine for a long time. The country with its history and present continues to fascinate me. Truth be told, I don’t think it’s an ideal country to live in (Germany for example has a far better public education, insurance system, working conditions, more stable economy, and so on. But it is also one of the most boring country to live in, in my opinion.). I’d love to live in the U.S. for a while nonetheless, and what better opportunity to do it during college years when I don’t actually have to pay almost anything?!

Studying English Literature at a college/university also has been a precious dream of mine. I used to envision myself in my forties or fifties or even sixties, sitting in lectures after I paid my due decades being reasonable. Now I decided to skip the 30+ years and dive straight into my dream. To be honest, my dream had been to study English Literature in England or in the States… but hey, beggars, choosers. And maybe I can get my M.A. in either the U.K. or U.S…. Yes, I’ve started dreaming again.
I could study North America Studies as a major (120 credit points) with a minor (30 credit points), like English Lit, attached to it. But in the end, if I have to choose between America and literature, I choose literature. I love books. I love reading. I love analyzing texts. I love writing texts. I love learning about the historical, cultural and personal background on books. Because English Literature is only a 90 credit points major, I have to choose two minors, 30 credit points each. Actually, I could have chosen one minor with 60 credit points, but I wanted to include North America Studies and focus on its literature and history aspects, and NAS is offered only as a 30 credit points minor.
So the second minor – why Dutch Literature? Why not? It’s titled as Dutch “Literature”, but in my case, as a 30 points minor, it is more like a language minor. I want to study another language. My French isn’t good enough to get in, and Spanish and I aren’t exactly friends. Dutch is similar to German and maybe I’ll be able to read Anne Frank’s Diary in its original language sometime! I admit, it’s a wild decision to study Dutch. But that’s what makes it so intoxicating. It’s me being reckless. It’s me being me.

A Realization

I was reading through the diary entries I wrote in the first half of last year. Mostly stuff from my second semester of university. Somehow, in my mind, I remembered the first year of Uni as ‘okay’ and the second year as ‘holy shit this is unbearable’.

I should have broken off my pursuit of a law degree a year ago.

Days, weeks, months’ worth of entries filled with the same things: permanent exhaustion, lack of motivation, questioning my choice over and over and over again, never-ending colds.

I’ve been grinding myself to the ground for these past two years. It’s not a surprise, then, or at least it shouldn’t have been, that both my mental and physical health gave out, so that I’d finally, finally listen.

All I can feel right now is that I’m sorry to myself for not listening, for damaging my health. I vow never to repeat this mistake, at least not on this scale, again.

I have a future to look forward to

I am sitting in my armchair, and have been doing so for the last seven hours or so (still not moving my head, of course). And I’m so grateful that I can now have a laptop on my lap and type away, look at university programs and plot my future.

Of course, I first had to come to terms with the fact that I can’t really plan my future. Its uncertainty and surprises prevent me from that. I thought I’d understood it when I ventured on my journey as a law major, thinking I’ll complete my law degree, and then I’ll see what I’ll become.
Now I have abandoned my law degree, and have to define future anew. This kind of freedom – a starting-over, or perhaps a continuation in a different direction – is terrifying. I spent the first three, four weeks after making the decision to stop studying law being afraid that I’ll make a “mistake” with a new path. But making mistakes would presume that there is only one right path for my life (and thus diverging from the path would be a mistake). That’s not true. There is no One Right Path for anyone. We make choices, and our choices alter our futures. Even when we thought our choice was carved in stone, we can change it again. And again and again and again.

In order to make a new choice, however, I first had to really face and accept who I am – in essence. Not who I’d like to be. You know, the line between improving oneself and denying oneself is blurry. I still want to improve myself: to be more open-minded, to be a mindful reader (not a mind-reader, though), to be more caring, to be disciplined, to learn to let myself relax on a regular basis, and so on. But when it came to college major choices, I just had to face the fact: I am more interested in the past than the present. I am more interested in humanities than sociology or political science or law. I am rather dreamy than “realistic”. I am a writer.
I used to think that these attributes of mine were flaws. Like bad posture or frantic sleeping pattern or negative thinking.
I no longer do, because I want to embrace myself the way I am. My family had the best intentions when they told me that while all of that was fine, I should pursue it as hobbies and have something “solid” for my career. I don’t know about other people, but I can’t live that way. I tried and almost broke myself trying.

The world might need its dreamers, thinkers, writers. But what I need is to be a dreamer, a thinker, a writer. Sometimes it’s that simple. And that terrifying.