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THE STRUGGLE OF FINDING YOUR THING

22/10/2015


When I was four years old, my mother put me to a ballet class. My memories from the class are vague but I recall the teacher telling us to be butterflies and fly around the room. I remember green and pink chiffon scarves and classical music. And I remember that I hated it.


I was awkward and shy but those were not reasons for me to not enjoy the class. No, it was something that has plagued my entire life and sometimes eats me still. There was a girl in that children’s ballet class who was better at dancing than I was. And that sucked.

I told my mother that ballet wasn’t for me. From that point on my childhood life was full of experiments with different kinds of hobbies: I went to an art club, I started acting, and I was into computers. I read a lot and wrote even more. I went to a riding class with my friend who liked horses. But I never found my thing.

When I was 12 my mother again found a new hobby for me to try. There was a new circus school in town and classes were starting in two weeks. Of course I wanted to go. I hadn’t given up on finding the thing that I would excel at. I wanted to be the best in something. To be the star pupil.

Circus was so much fun. I was still awkward because I was approximately five years older than anyone else in the beginners group. The age difference didn’t matter in the end because despite it I made new friends, some of them whom I still spend time with. I got into juggling after six months and I was immediately hooked. I enjoyed my time at practice.

But still something was missing. I didn’t have the burn to be the best. You know when you get all excited about something and you can’t stop doing it? That rarely happened with circus. I loved learning new tricks and testing my boundaries but I never got so much into it that I would have lost myself in it. I envy one of my friends who actually had the courage to chase her dreams and went to the professional school for circus artists.

After ten years of circus I still can’t hold a handstand properly and I am not much of a choreographer. I hate making myself look like a dumbass in practice when I don’t learn a new move as fast as the others. It took me a long time to realize that no, even this thing that I have been doing so long and enjoy so much, is not really my thing.

During my teenage years I had a brief Japanese phase (Tokyo Mew Mew, anyone?), I was obsessed with Harry Potter (still am), and I got seriously into writing. In high school I started a blog about fitness and working out. It was still not my scene. I changed my blog into a personal blog which basically says I am in no particular category. I have no category. No label. No scene.

The need to categorize myself and define myself through something that I do has driven me for years. I have always wanted to be that girl who can do a split, or that girl who only gets A’s or even that girl who has a weird hobby. I had a desperate need to be something. Even in university I still look up to those people who are part of the athletics teams or student associations.

Those people, who can say that they are tennis players or chairmen, have a label on them. In my mind they have that certain glory that the label brings them. They are these mystical beings who seem to have everything under control because some aspect of them defines them. They know who they are.

I, on the other hand, still haven’t found my thing. I am 21 years old (now you do not have to tell me that I am still young, I know that) but my thing is still unclear to me. After chasing it for what feels like an eternity, I have come to a conclusion that I might never find it. It might be writing. Or it might be something completely different. Who knows.

The important part is that I am fine with it. It is okay for me to be interested in a lot of different things. Hell, that is why I chose journalism. I can write and as a journalist I get to meet different people and continuously ask questions and learn new stuff. I get the best parts.

The obsession of defining me, putting myself into a box, hasn’t completely dissolved. I sometimes still feel like I need something in my life that tells me exactly who I am and what I am supposed to do with my life. But then I realize the absurdity of my thoughts. Why would you want to be put into a box? Why would you want a label? Why can’t you just be who you are?

That is something I am working on right now. Trying to be just me. And believe me when I say, it is hard. Ignoring other people’s thoughts and opinions about you is not something you can switch on and off. I wish it was that easy. One day you would care and the other you wouldn’t. I would put the switch to off, permanently.

In the end the struggle of finding your thing is not a struggle at all. Even those people, who clearly have a thing, might not be happy with it. So before thinking that “Oh that person has it so good”, just remember that everyone has a story.

A more lasting solution to being happy with who you are, is not defining yourself through the things you do but accepting yourself as you are. You will struggle with it, just like me, but I am confident that we will succeed.

I believe in you.

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