I wish I was a superhero; these are my superheroish adventures, dreams and thoughts:
The cost of pursuing my dreams seems to be the cost of friendship. I’ve finally realized, much too late, that friendships don’t always pick back up where I dropped them — especially years down the road. I’ve lost contact with so many people, expecting them to stay static. Ever since graduating high school, my mindset has been always move fast, chasing my dream and what not. I seldom look back. I seldom slow down.
It was terrifying when I eventually realized this. But I’m not going to turn around now. I’m going to lose a lot more friends in the future and a lot of friendships will be put on hiatus too. I know a lot of them won’t ever understand. And I don’t know if this is the right choice.
An eight-year-old girl is sitting at my desk, reading books she plucked from my bookshelf. They’re worn-out, falling apart. They’re about some young boy and how he becomes a wizard, embarking on a long adventure; some young boy whose world we all desperately wished were apart of. I ask her if she likes my books, and she just looks up and laughs. Having younger siblings means I always keep childhood close to my heart. I often ask what she wants to be when she grows up, and her answer is always “dad wants me to be a doctor, but I want to be an artist.” I never had the courage to say anything like that, and it inspires me to know that my little sister does.
I was 9 years old, and I heard the melody of an ice-cream truck on a summer day. It was the day I realized I couldn’t grow up to be a superhero so I wanted to become more than a superhero — I wanted to become a doctor. But my heart; it ponders. I want to experience adventure in the confines of a shitty apartment; I want to write novels. Or maybe I’d transcribe my thoughts onto canvases and stain my hands with paint. Other times, I dream of soaring through the sky in mechanical birds. I long to taste the breeze from every corner of this planet. But I feel such a strong urge to capture frames of men and women in combat. My heart aches at the though of those elsewhere, who hunger for justice, and I know I have the ability to help. I could inspire men and women with a camera, or I can inspire boys and girls. I can inspire little kids in front of a chalkboard and encourage them to inherit my dreams. But I want to do all of these things. So how the hell do I tell the child inside me that I can’t do all of these things? I don’t know. I don’t know. It’s 1 am, I’m 20, I’m in my dorm, and I hear the melody of an ice-cream truck.
I’m waiting inside a Starbucks on a rainy Seattle day, having planned this date years ago. He’s late, but you know that’s how he is. He’s your 16 year-old self. He’s always late to everything. But he eventually arrives and being late doesn’t matter anymore. You want to pour out everything, teach him everything he needs to know for the next four years — but you don’t. You open by ordering two cups of tea. Green. You start your conversation by assuring him that green tea is still his favorite in four years. And now you can start opening up. And your thoughts come out in no particular order.
"People love you. But you’re going to hate yourself. You’ll hate hate the people around. You’ll learn to love yourself, you’ll learn to love the people around you. You’ll continue to learn and relearn what love means. You’ll think love is sex. You’ll think love comes in the form of a blonde girl, whom you will wake up with on multiple occasions, not remembering the night before. And when you realize that’s not love, you will become greedy and want love. You won’t find it with her, and you sure as hell won’t find it with any of the other girls you sleep with. You’ll have to wait, and you’ll have to be patient. You’ll have to love yourself. But you’ll hate yourself anyway. You’ll be at the lake soon, and you’ll be saved. It’s not time to die yet. From that day on, you start a list of things you would never have done if you committed suicide. It’s a short list, but nevertheless, a list of things you would never have done. It’s worth it, trust me. I’m you. Speak your mind and continue to stand up for what you believe in. And always, always appreciate your friends. You’ll meet really amazing people who will become your best friends in college, but you won’t realize it until you’re all split up. You’ll be surrounded by people, but you’ll be lonely. And often. Don’t make a habit of flirting with girls until they fall head over heels for you, and not go out with them. But you’ll do so anyway. You won’t find her in the next four years. I have no idea who you, I, will marry. I might know her, already, or I might not. I haven’t a clue. Just follow your dreams and leave things to God. You don’t know Him yet, but you will. Trust your heart for now. Know that many people love you."
And then it’s over. There’s just two cups of tea and an empty seat in front of you. But he did come, my 16 year old self. He was here, and he is with me, in my heart. And in another four years, I’ll meet my present self in a coffeeshop and we’ll have this conversation again.
It’s a peculiar thing to imagine myself in the future. Ideally, I’d like to finish school in two more years and finish the pre-med program and my psychology major. I want to join the Peace Corps or Teach for America, which will be a little over a two year commitment with training. Then hopefully I’d apply for medical schools within the year I finish my service. Columbia University or bust?
If/when I’m in Med school, I’d be 25 years old. And the thing is… I don’t see myself married by then. I doubt I’d be mature enough for marriage — in the Christian sense. I don’t know if, in five (busy) years, I canfix my view of women and what a relationship that is centered around Jesus should feel like. I don’t know if five years is enough time for me to heal from what I’ve gone through.
But this vision… I see myself ready to be a father — before I’m ready to be a husband. Is that possible? Wouldn’t most people say no? I think I want to adopt a girl and grow up with her through med school. I don’t know if I could even adopt by then, but I really want to. We’d be piss poor for sure. I mean, I’d be poor as hell no matter what, if I want to attend med school. But I think we’d love each other and we’d remind each other. Then when I’m done with med school and when she’s older, we’d always look back to those years and truly know what love is.
"You’re getting old, and nothing can make you younger — except music."
My 7 year old sister.