I remember sitting in my bedroom when I was 13 years old, staring out my window with my Mickey Mouse phone pressed to my ear. It was raining outside. Tiny streams of water gleamed down my window. I sighed into the receiver, not knowing how I should feel. Leah was on the other end.
Leah asked casually, “What do you wanna do?”
“I wanna leave.”
“You wanna go somewhere?”
“Yes, anywhere away from home.”
“Away from home?”
“Yeah, just anywhere off this property.”
And it was true. I did. I wanted to be anywhere but there at home. More than anything else. I would have been happiest somewhere besides at home. I never understood why I felt that way. It was true that I was always really independent, but to leave home completely and at such a young age? Most kids that age are very attached to their parents and are scared to be away from them for more than 24 hours. At the age of 13, most kids are just reaching that time in their lives when they can stay an entire night at a slumber party. Not me. I was at that point by the time I was eight. I would daydream about running away from home, living the life as an independent teenager who could survive on her own. I had a wild imagination. I imagined I could get a job working for Disney as the youngest illustrator they’d ever consider hiring. I imagined finding a job at some dude ranch, taking care of horses and teaching people how to ride. I thought I could. I thought it was possible. But how could I ever leave my family? Who I love! Not to mention, I lacked so many resources. I may have had a wild imagination, but I still had a grasp on reality.
When I turned 15, I picked up the guitar. I took my guitar to school everyday my sophomore year. I learned fairly quickly because there were so many kids who also knew how to play, so there was a butt-load of knowledge to gain. By the end of my sophomore year, I was as good as, if not better than, several of the kids who taught me the things they knew. It was inevitable. With every person who came to me, asking permission to play my guitar, I would reply, “Sure, if you show me how you do stuff.” Of course, they would return the favor and show me everything it was they did and how they did it. I discovered I actually had a natural ability to play and the idea of becoming a professional, full-time musician seaped into my mind. The thought of traveling, touring, playing, performing, running the show… What part of that doesn’t sound appealing? However, my parents weren’t too keen about me becoming a musician.
“It takes a lot of talent to be successful at that, and even if you got the talent, it takes a long, long time to start making money at it. You need to go school and study something that’ll make you money in the meantime, that way you’re never destitute and completely broke.”
To be perfectly honest, I was never concerned with money. In the ninth grade, for our “Job Shadow” projects, I remember writing about how I didn’t care about the money I made, just so long as I loved what I was doing. By the time I was a junior in high school, the voices of everyone around me were telling me otherwise. Money was key. Money brought happiness. With money, I could afford all the things I loved to do and more. However, if I pursued the things I loved immediately, I would never make a “decent” amount of money, like I could if I went into some major economical venue. My father pushed me toward graphic design.
“There’s so much in graphic design, Car. And if you get good at it, you can make up to $12,000-15,000 for every logo you design!” Hard to believe, but I looked into it. It’s true. However, I knew that’s not what I wanted.
Senior year, when I was 17, I started thinking about graduation. What was I going to do after high school? What was I really going to do with my life? What did I really want?
There are two things I love to do more than anything else on the planet:
2. Play the guitar.
I have been told that I have a couple gifts, a couple things that I got a “knack” for. Those couple things are:
2. Playing the guitar.
There are a two things I do that I don’t thank God for nearly enough. A couple of gifts He gave me for which I often neglect to say, “It’s because of You, God.” Those gifts are:
2. Playing the guitar.
Have I made my point? Have I made it clear? What if all my fickleness and all my mind-changing has only brought me back to where I was when I was 13 years old? When all I wanted to do was leave my home, my family, and embark on a life of utter dependence. Sole reliance on the Almighty God who takes care of me every single day. What if I’ve known all along what I wanted to do with my life, but I was too scared to admit that everyone else’s opinions were wrong? Could I possibly be one of the few in America who was never meant to go to a university or college and earn a bachelor’s degree? What if I become one of the “abnormal” people in this world and actually choose the life of a struggling musician and writer? What if that’s what God wanted for me all along? Could I possibly be the most crazy girl in the world? Why do I find the idea of struggling, of working extra hard for something–like getting something published or booking a cafe gig–so incredibly appealing? Why do I smile about stepping outside the typical life only to appear as one who is ridiculous, insane, and naive? How could I choose a life that’s so… eclectic?