Start being who you want to be, not who everyone expects you to be

Discussing life with a friend recently had an effect on me and I realized something in the process. I will get to the discussion in a moment. Have you ever talked to someone about something you think they should do and they just blew you off? There is clarity at times like that. I can’t describe the feeling only that it feels like a golden light is around everything. At least that is how it felt when I truly understood why I should write, and why for most of my life people have told me that, I should write.

My friend and I were at a concert and were discussing life how our lives have turned out how our spouses never really listened when we tell them about their talents. My wife is an amazing artist; she never believed it until the last year. Her reasons for believing this stem from multiple reasons, parents, college and coworkers who didn’t understand her or who she really is. I had this same thing happen to me fifteen years ago, or right around then.

I found my path in Buddhism and rediscovered writing soon after. It was only after going to college that I discovered that college is not what I wanted and not who I was. To my father and stepmother, I wish I had learned this sooner and my apologies for not trying as well as I could have. I went to college because it was expected of me, not because I wanted to. All through my life I have done things expected of me, I rarely did things I wanted. That changed after my first year of college.

My point of “getting it” was when I sat in my English class in college and my professor refused to give me the end of the year exam because I missed the class too many times. This was my epiphany, “why am I being judged by someone who doesn’t understand me” I stood up and walked out of the class, that was the last time I stepped foot in any college class that was my own. I gave up on those who judged me for who they thought I am or who they wanted. I started being whom I wanted; sometimes this caused problems with my then girlfriend (now my wife).

Why does it take so long to “get it”? When I discovered who I was and why I was on this earth it was such a profound moment I actually cried. Self-discovery and believing in one’s self, in my opinion is one of the hardest things we have to learn as humans. Knowing you can do something no one else can do, whether that is writing in my case or visual art in my wife’s that is the point of acknowledging who you are. I am the only person who can think of the stories I write, just as my wife is the only person who can draw, paint or sketch the things and the way she does.

I finally talked my wife into taking an art class to further her talents; my friend is trying to talk his wife into doing more with her art. Every person can reach a point in their life when they look in the mirror and say, “I can do this.” It takes courage and a belief in yourself that is hard to understand for other people. Every day I have someone ask me, “Where do you find time to write? You work full-time; have two kids and a wife.” My answer, “If you want something bad enough, you will find time.”


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