So it’s a legitimate question. Who do you think you are? Yeah, I’m talking to you! Not that you but the real you. The version of you that was pure and untainted by the world. The one that was there before your own voice was drowned out by the chatter and opinions of others. Others who told you that you shouldn’t follow your dreams or listen to your heart. Those who shot down your ideas or plans. Those who couldn’t support you because it was uncharted territory for them.
Perhaps it made them feel unsafe, not only for your welfare; but because it may push the envelope outside of their own comfort zone. It may remind them of who they are and who they wish they could be.
Not to slam your friends and family, who usually have your best interests at heart; but sometimes they can cause us to bury our true identity or our true calling. They may try to mold us into an extension of themselves or into their dreams for us, when we were destined to break the mold. To push past boundaries. To shatter glass ceilings into a new world that’s been waiting for us to find. It’s been there all along. So what are you waiting for?
To help you figure out your calling, let’s start with the basics. When you were a kid, what’d you want to be when you grew up?
In case you didn’t know, I wanted to be a Solid Gold dancer. You know the ones with all the sequins and fringe with the sexy outfits? I thought they were simply amazing!
I used to love to dance. When I was a little girl, you would find me daily flittering around the living room as I performed my latest moves for my family. They cheered me on, and I loved every minute of it.
Fast forward to second grade, we moved and I went to a new school. They were doing a Christmas program and had auditions for parts. The prized female role was to be selected to perform a ballet number to the Nutcracker Suite. The tryouts were freestyle and in front of our classmates.
Being the dancer I thought I was, I did what I had done a hundred times before for my family. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a couple of the boys in my class laughing at me. I was heartbroken, and the part went to someone else.
That was the first time it ever occurred to me that maybe I wasn’t a good dancer after all. Not just that–but maybe I was a really bad dancer, so much that two boys found it comical. A**holes, but whatever…I mean, last I heard they were living in a van down by the river so–you know what they say about karma! I’m totally kidding, guys! lol
In a matter of seconds, my love for dancing was crushed. I no longer enjoyed it and felt insecure dancing in front of others. All because two little boys represented the entirety of the world to me in my young and dramatic mind. Guess what? It’s super crazy, I know, but I still don’t like to dance to this day so weddings are always fun as you can imagine. Eyeroll…
The fragile minds of children and young adults are like sponges that soak up everything that the world tells them. They don’t have the life experience or wisdom yet to know the difference between what’s real and what’s nothing more than a fleeting moment in life. They trust the opinions of others as their own truths, even when they second-guess it.
If you’re feeling sorry for me, it’s okay. Really! I only go to therapy once a week for it now, and it’s really for the best. It would’ve been hard to start a family as a Solid Gold dancer because I’m pretty sure baby bumps weren’t allowed on stage in those tiny outfits. Besides that, my mother would’ve never approved. Wink!
After the Solid Gold phase, I decided I’d become a pediatrician. One that would live far, far away from the small town I grew up in. I was destined for a city with a jetsetter lifestyle, loads of culture, and exposure to all sorts of events and people that I would likely never find or encounter in my rural hometown. New York City–that had to be the answer!
Because I had this grand of vision of what my life would be, I worked my butt off in school. I was a naive valedictorian who assumed that Ivy League colleges would be beating down my door to recruit me to become one of their elite students. They would understand my work ethic and capability to succeed in an intense curriculum of study. Yeah, right!
N.Y.U. and Vanderbilt did send me letters, but they were rejection letters. My ACT score was a couple of points too low for acceptance. I didn’t even get in, much less receive a scholarship like I had hoped for.
Suddenly, it hit me that I really wasn’t anyone special. In school, my peers and teachers knew I had drive and ambition; but in the great big world, there were thousands of others just like me vying for a spot in the college of their dreams. I felt like a failure. My plans were crumbling before me. It stung, probably worse than one of those murderous hornets or whatever they’re called. It was brutal!
For the long haul, I ended up at a relatively small public university less than an hour’s drive from home. It seemed like it represented everything that I was trying to run from. My life was supposed to look different, so I thought. I’m not supposed to be here. I know. Ego much, Christy? Geez…
The majority of my college years were spent in an often tumultuous relationship that wasn’t very emotionally healthy. It could be the best of times or the worst of times, depending on the week. Codependent and naive, the emotional wounds left scars that took many years to disappear.
So that relationship became my primary focus of most of my college years, which made it impossible for me to show up and be present mentally and emotionally in my pre-med classes. It was a constant roller coaster. After my third year as a pre-med student, I had failed organic chemistry not once but twice. Cue my dad for an intervention.
I came home for the weekend with plans of going to a big party called a mud bog. You might be from Kentucky if… Don’t even ask! We always had fun though!
I wasn’t quite 21 yet but had brought my whole stash of alcohol home with me since I wasn’t sure what I wanted to drink that weekend at the party. Yep, I know. Not my smartest moment. It was enough to fill a tote bag that I had planned to leave in the floor of my car, never dreaming anyone would move it or look inside it to go through its contents.
As I pulled into my parents’ driveway that weekend, my sweet dad met me outside smiling as I got out of the car. Before I knew it, he was grabbing my bags to help me pack them inside. You can guess what happened next. He grabbed my bag of spirits, and immediately he heard glass bottles jingling. He unzipped the bag and freaked out.
“No wonder you’re failing that class, Christy! You’re an alcoholic! I’m not paying for you to go to college and waste your life and my money away partying all the time. You need to quit the pre-med program, because you won’t be able to get into med school with those grades. You need to become a nurse like your sister.”
For the record I’d like to clarify, I certainly was not an alcoholic but simply an indecisive college kid who was a social drinker only.
“But dad, I don’t want to be a nurse! I think I want to be an interior designer.”
“You’ll starve to death, Christy! I’m not paying for that. You need to do nursing school like your sister because you can find a job anywhere. It’s good job security. If you want to do interior design, you can figure out how to pay for college yourself.”
There was silence for all of five seconds. Maybe a few tears. “Uhmmm, okay thennnnn, I guessssss I’ll be a nurse…”
And that my friends, is how I ended up as a nurse. True story! lol
So let me be clear. I really like my job. I’m not a pediatrician like I had hoped for, but I get to work with kids as an elementary school nurse. It’s kinda the next best thing but with a tiny fraction of the pay but much better hours and summers off!
Regardless of how much I like my job in nursing, deep down inside me I have been incredibly unsettled for years. I have held on to all this creative energy that’s just been sitting stagnant in my body for so long. I’m a dreamer. I’m an idea girl. I love to think outside the box, and there’s not a lot of room to incorporate those characteristics as an R.N. unless I want to get artsy with wound dressings or something.
Out of the long list of things I thought I’d love to create, I had forgotten how much I love to tell stories and to write. Back when I was a teenager, I was always the one who had an elaborate story to tell when we played the game “Light as a Feather.” Remember that game? So fun! I like to make people laugh. I love to make them think. I enjoy seeing their reactions and can attribute this trait to my dad and his mom, who were both great storytellers.
When I started my blog, something inside me shifted in a good way. It made me feel alive and excited again. I love hearing people’s reactions to my posts, and hearing their stories and experiences that correlate with mine. It opened up a side of me that had been lying dormant for quite some time.
I just want you to know that if you have a story anything like mine, you’re not a failure as I thought I was for years. Even if your big plans were trampled on and thrown in the trash years ago, it’s never too late. You may have this deep, visceral feeling that refuses to leave that you’re made for more and that you haven’t reached your full potential yet. If so, you have to tap into your thing. Somehow. Some way. You can’t continue to ignore it.
Am I suggesting you quit your day job in the next week to pursue your dream of acting? No, that’s probably not going to serve you well because you’re liable to starve to death, or so my dad would say!
What I am suggesting is figuring out who you know you are deep down inside of you to determine what’s going to ignite that fire in your soul again. It’s time to stop ignoring that constant internal voice that is sometimes muted but never goes away. You have to do the thing it’s been telling you to do for years. You owe it to yourself!
Even if you make $0 doing what you love, merely having it as a hobby on the side can truly wake up something deep inside you and help you to rediscover yourself. Who knows where it can lead? We thrive when we are living our truth. I encourage you to start living yours.
Thanks so much for stopping in! For my latest posts, be sure to drop your email on my blog page. If you have a story of a mismatched career, I’d love to hear it! Be sure to leave it in the comments below. Sending you courage and love as you awaken your calling! xo, Christy