When my generation was younger, I remember always being told “Labels are for soup cans, not people.” And we stuck to that. We didn’t want to be called jocks, or preps, or emo kids in high school. We wanted to be people, not soup cans. So here we are five or so years later and the lot of us have grown up with that label free mentality. We don’t want to be put into a box of any kind because we are all different and special and unique, but those trait in and of themselves don’t mean anything, because there are so many voices screaming at us all the time saying “If everyone is unique then uniqueness doesn’t exist. There are only so many ways to be different, you have to organize yourself into something so that you can be identified.”
It comes in a million different forms. Myself as an author according to a handful of bloggers, should create a pen name for every kind of genre that I want to write. I should make sure that every different one has its own distinct personality and that I set up social media accounts for all of them. I need to be sure that my horror pen name sells only horror, that my romantic comedy pen name only sells cheesy romance books and so on.
I read that and laughed out loud.
I’m one dude who is comprised of about forty million different ideas and concepts and plans for myself. I’m not going to divide that down because it would take me years to figure out who wants what. Either that, or I trim the fat and only write in one genre because “Publishers don’t want to hire you for a myriad of titles. They look for specific genres and writers, and if you can’t always fit their bill the chances of you getting a deal with one is slim.”
Well, I’m (not even sort of) sorry to say, that I disagree. You don’t get to do that. People don’t get to raise us by saying “You can be anything you want, you can do anything you want, you don’t fit inside any kind of label.” Then when I’m an adult you don’t get to change your answer to “You have to be a specific kind of person because otherwise you won’t be accepted.”
Well, I’m not looking for that kind of acceptance. If I have to foot these books on my own, I suppose I’ll have to. But why? Why do we have to fit inside some kind of idea all of a sudden?
I think that’s why people are getting so confused and fed up with how the world is. We’re fighting against the ideas that we have been taught because they don’t crossover. We lived our whole young lives believing that any person can do and be anything. That stretched through even to the people who do bad things. Thieves have a shot at redemption when we are kids. If you atone for the bad things you did, or your narrow mind state you can come back. If you don’t like yourself you can reinvent yourself. We were told this kind of stuff over and over again.
Out of nowhere we are adults and trying to understand bills and taxes and full time jobs while balancing school or our own projects. We are trying to make something of ourselves even though we didn’t have enough time to make a plan to begin with. So we fight and we dodge through life and we get forced into these roles because we haven’t made up our minds.
“Oh, you’re good at engineering. Be an engineer.”
What if you hate engineering?
“Oh, you’re just short tempered. That’s how you are and you will have to understand that it will make your personal life difficult.”
What if you hate that about yourself? Are you supposed to keep living thought and never doing anything to improve?
That’s the big problem with fitting us into boxes. You can’t improve. You can only stack boxes on boxes for a while. Like a machine, pick up life skills that align with what you already know so you can multiply your productivity. Stack, stack, and stack.
Well… I’m not here to tell you to keep that up. After all, I believe we were meant to be like trees, not machines. If you are happy doing what you love and you are good at it, great. Keep going. Keep being happy and doing what you love. Grow and learn and change! Do what it takes.
See, any person in this world that tells you that you must stay the same is a liar and I’d bet that there is someone above them who taught them that too. You can get anywhere and do anything you’d like as long as you believe in yourself.
It might come off like a loose “believe in yourself” blog post, but it’ll come around.
One day, when you start doing what you love and learn how to do those things well, you can make a career based off of that thing and you’ll never have to worry again.
If you interact with people in the most positive way possible, your arguments with slowly vanish and eventually it will be hard for people to pick things about you that are frustrating.
All this takes is a bit of self-observation. If you frequently find yourself getting angry with another person over something they do, chances are high that you see that same thing in yourself.
I started this blog to help me, and I want it to help you too. So here I am.
This life is wild and difficult and full of unexpected things. Some parts will be dull and frustrating. Other parts will be exhilarating and will fill you with passion. You are driven to find a career from the moment you get out of school, if you can’t find one people will tell you to go to college and “shop around” which is fine for some, but I’ll let you in on a secret. College isn’t that important. It’s not mandatory. I encourage every one of my friends and readers that are in college because they want to get to a higher level of education, or their chosen profession requires it. Keep going, I’m so proud of the choices that you’ve made. If you’re on the other spectrum, like myself, and don’t want to go to college because it isn’t necessary for who you are, then don’t. Granted, this is no excuse to be lazy. But you don’t always have to get a higher education thought colleges or schooling to get to where you want to be. Maybe gather experience for a while. Maybe live life in a different way. Every person has a different plan and we all need to take a look at that. All of our plans have exceptions. All of our plans are building us to be the kind of people we want to be.
That’s really important to this whole blog post. We all have exceptions.
Which is great.
There are a thousand things I want to do, and I’ve been told recently that I should maybe take it slow and pick out the things I truly love and focus on those. I am focusing on those, for now. When I’ve reached some goals there, I’ll get to the other stuff. I’m not going to give it up just because it doesn’t “fit who I am.”
You shouldn’t give up either.
For everyone reading this right now, if you have a dream, I want you to follow it in any way you can. Obviously some adjustments and exceptions will have to be made, but that’s okay. You can get there. You can, and you will.
As long as you believe.
The whole world is going to try to file you into a box of some kind for the rest of your life.
“Oh, most people aren’t artsy and creative like you.”
I beg to differ, I think everyone has some kind of creativity inside them. It’s how we work and laugh and love. It’s how we are.
“How can you explain left brained people then?”
My father. He is without a doubt left brained. He thinks in logic and numbers and carefully constructed thoughts, he speaks only after he has thought his reply though. He is the most left brained person I know. Yet he helped create me, who you’ve said is ‘artsy and creative’
“Sure, he helped raise you, but you have your own creativity. Not everyone is creative. Not like that.”
You’re right. He doesn’t have creativity like me. He has a kind of energy that I actually can’t understand. I can describe something in 3D and he can sketch it for me. When I was a kid he showed me ways to build and construct solid toys for me to play with. He openly offered for me to cut swords out of plywood and helped me paint and design them. He showed me how to fix my bike and he taught me how the important stuff works in my car because I was frustrated and couldn’t understand it. He doesn’t often get to use big technical words with my mother and I because we don’t think in car parts and exploded diagrams. We don’t think with the same kind of creativity than he does, but the fact that he shows it differently than we do doesn’t make a difference. When you say that someone isn’t creative, you might as well have killed their spirit. Creativity and Passion are one and the same. Just because you can’t place it in a crate and ship it out with some kind of label doesn’t mean that it suddenly doesn’t exist. To think otherwise would be foolish. My father is one of millions of people whose creativity is shown differently. Finding different creative thinkers is important, because if we all begin to think the same you might as well stick every human in the same box, because we will go nowhere. Unified thought with no options to explore will destroy you as a person. That’s why we have our creativity in the first place.
“Well, your dad must just be an exception then. Not all people are creative like you. I can’t write, I can’t act, I can hardly sing.”
Can you create?
“I guess. I liked woodshop in high school.”
Look at that. You’re an exception, too.
And so are you. The person reading this.
Life is full of exceptions.
Be exceptional, at whatever it is you want to make your passion.
I believe in you.