Monday, January 09, 2012

Where The Wind Blows

Lately I've discovered that, like Jenna Marbles, I don't know what my life is about. Thinking that perhaps Miss. Marbles could offer me some valuable advice, I spent a good half hour out of my day watching her videos. I didn't get any thoughts on what I should do next fall, but 
Me in my new habitat?
I did learn about what boys do on the internet and how to trick people into thinking I'm good looking. So I guess it wasn't a complete waste of time, right? Right...?
Have you ever asked a child what they want to be when they grow up? Its always something huge and important. Its never something like, "I want to be a secretary, or a janitor, or the manager of McDonald's." I don't mean to put any of these occupations down, its just that its more along the lines of "firefighter, superhero, or astronaut." By the rate that I'm figuring things out, I may as well move to outer space and fulfil every child's dream of becoming an astronaut, just because I don't know where to go from here. I'm starting to very seriously consider what I'm going to do next fall and where I'm going to move, and the answer is that I still don't know. And that scares me. I don't know. Should I buy a new backpack and go to school so I can continue my education? Or should I spend another year working and travelling? I still have that little dream of mine of moving to New York City, but I've also been doing some research and found a really great Journalism program at a university in Halifax. I've never been there and its still quite far from home, but I seem to have good luck when moving to foreign places. All I know is that I absolutely, 100% will not stay in Port Colborne for a year. For the summer? Sure. I miss my family and friends, and of course I miss feeling 'comfortable'. I miss the little things like my own bed, grocery shopping at Sobey's, and the laugh of my hilarious American neighbor who own the cottage next door. 
But I don't ever want to settle down there again. There was a reason why I left in the first place, and it wasn't because the city had an overwhelming amount of excitement that I 
My hometown, but without the palm trees.
needed a breather from. I will always appreciate Port Colborne and love visiting for a couple months at a time, because its home. Its where I learned how to ride my first bike and grew up and went to school. And we all know that a Port Colborne education is a class act! But I would lose the last amounting existence of my sanity if I decided to study and live there. If you haven't noticed, I'm not exactly a small town girl. Its great to visit, but I felt like a caged bird with no where to run. Or fly. You get the point.
I'm really happy that I decided to move to Rome for the year. Beautiful, sexy Rome with its proud ancient ruins of history, rivalry, and domination. Rome, with its life changing wine and mouth watering food and its perfectly groomed residents. Rome. If only I could stay here as long as I like... But the mere 9 month allowance of my tourist visa means that on June 6th, I have to kiss sweet Rome goodbye and go back to Port Colborne for the summer. But then what? What will happen when I flip my calendar from August to September? What will happen once the leaves change colours, and my mom puts the autumn flag up? The question remains unanswered, no matter how many conversations I have with my closest 
Having an intellectual conversation
with my gelato.
friends, no matter how many times I sit myself down on a bench and think about it, no matter what I do, I still just don't know.
Its not like I don't have any clues about what's going to happen... It could be worse. I could have already gone to university, and wasted my time and money on something I decided wasn't for me. And even worse than that, I could be a person who doesn't have any passion about anything at all. I think its safe to say that those who know me personally or at least read my blog can tell that I have a high amount of passion for a lot of different things. The greatest love of my life is writing, and if it wasn't, why would I have started this blog? I didn't do it just because I wanted to update my friends and family back home. I did it because I love to write, and I always have. 
This is how it started out for me. When I was in grade 7, my highest marks came from English and my creative writing components. I loved being praised for being a 'creative writer', and in grade 8, at age 13, I wrote an article that was published in the local newspaper. It got a lot of people talking and I loved that my name appeared in print. Ever since then, I knew I wanted to be a writer. When I got into grade 12, I already knew the right universities to apply to and what courses to take. And then, on a cold December day, everything changed. I didn't suddenly wake up in the middle of the night and say, "I don't want this anymore." But certain events and
conversations led me down a different path - one that I'm very happy to be on. But I can't do this forever. I was with my friend Kelsey yesterday who is in a very similar position, and it makes me feel a lot better knowing that I'm not the only one going through this. Not that I want someone I love to be confused, but it helps knowing that I'm not alone.
I read a really interesting article that my favourite author Elizabeth Gilbert wrote. She wrote it giving advice to aspiring writer's, and one of the most interesting things in it was the following:
I have a friend who’s an Italian filmmaker of great artistic sensibility. After years of struggling to get his films made, he sent an anguished letter to his hero, the brilliant (and perhaps half-insane) German filmmaker Werner Herzog. My friend complained about how difficult it is these days to be an independent filmmaker, how hard it is to find government arts grants, how the audiences have all been ruined by Hollywood and how the world has lost its taste…etc, etc. Herzog wrote back a personal letter to my friend that essentially ran along these lines: “Quit your complaining. It’s not the world’s fault that you wanted to be an artist. It’s not the world’s job to enjoy the films you make, and it’s certainly not the world’s obligation to pay for your dreams. Nobody wants to hear it. Steal a camera if you have to, but stop whining and get back to work.” I repeat those words back to myself whenever I start to feel resentful, entitled, competitive or unappreciated with regard to my writing: “It’s not the world’s fault that you want to be an artist…now get back to work.” 
So, I'm going to take that advice. Its not the world's fault that you wanted to be an artist. Get 
back to work. What work, you ask? My writing, of course! Because I know that this is what I want to do. And I love it. I also read an article that Oprah Winfrey published called 'What I Know For Sure'. Oprah talked about how she got to where she is today, and in case you don't know her story, I'm going to break it down for you. Oprah grew up on a poor Mississippi farm where she was sexually abused, and grew into a rebellious teenager. She got pregnant at the age of 14, and her son died one week later. Eventually, she began to take her studies more seriously and eventually moved to Baltimore, where she landed a job as a broadcaster. On air, she pronounced the word 'Barbados' wrong, and she was demoted. Her failure led her to a new opportunity that one day took her to Chicago, where The Oprah Winfrey Show was born. Personally, I think she turned out to be pretty successful.
My own personal God.
Neither Oprah Winfrey or Elizabeth Gilbert, two of my favourite human figures on the face of the earth, had connections that got them where they are today. They did everything on their own accord despite their own failures, rejections, and demotions. In fact, those 'failures' where part of the path that lead them to where they are today. Which gives me hope every time I get confused about my own life path.
Some people have asked me how I'm able to update my blog so much, and why I'm not outside with friends enjoying Rome. Little do these people know that I am with my friends a lot, almost every day, in fact. I'm always out and about doing different things like walking to the Vatican, visiting museums, meeting someone for a slice of pizza, or just walking around the city and marvelling at it. But I make it a point to write every single day. For me, this isn't a chore. Another thing that Oprah
Kelsey and I reuniting since our Christmas holiday
and celebrating the best way we know: eating.
once said was to let your passion drive your profession, and then that way, every paycheck is just a bonus for something you love.
I like to think I'm already following that piece of advice, because I'm not being paid to write my blog. I don't have deadlines to meet or editor's to please. This is raw and 100% me, and if I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't do it. I know a couple girls here in Rome who have already studied Journalism through post secondary school and have blogs. Because I like to read and obviously take interest in the fact that they're writing about Rome, I follow them. And they don't update their's even half as often as I do. And quite frankly, I haven't seen them be as praised as highly as I have by my reader's, which makes me wonder a little... Is it possible that I, an 18 year old woman with nothing but a high school diploma under her belt, is perhaps a better
writer than some women in their early-mid 20's who have already studied the same thing that I want to study? I suppose its difficult to decide which of us is the best writer, because it depends on the reader. But I also don't want to compete with them, because I still enjoy reading their blogs and respect them greatly.
Something that gives me great reassurance about my career as a writer is that writing isn't like ballet, where you have to stop at a certain age. As a writer, you actually grow better at what you do. I can't help but feel ecstatic about this news which I've never even considered before, because its the truth. There are certain careers in this world like dancing and modelling where you have to stop at a certain age because you are no longer 'youthful'. But as a writer, the longer you do it, the better you become. So really... What do I have to lose? Time? I'm not worried about time, because I'm 18 years old. And I take good care of myself, so I don't plan on leaving this world anytime soon. We'll see where the mind blows me next.

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