Monday, March 18, 2013


A few weeks ago, I posted a quote about being good at more than one thing (To read about it, click here). Basically, what the quote says is that, just because you excel at one thing, doesn't mean you can't excel at other things as well.

By the time I was a sophomore in high school, I had made a name for my self as that-singer-chick. I was once stopped from crossing the street by some classmates who had heard me sing. They refused to let me cross the street until I sang "Stairway to Heaven" for them. Incidents like this, combined with accolades like being the only freshman and then sophomore from my school to go to All State Choir, and as a junior, being the fourth person ever to go to All State Jazz Choir from my town pretty much made me feel that singing was my destiny. This idea was further affirmed by people coming up to me and telling me that singing was my destiny.

No pressure.

More than that, being considered so good at one thing, people were always surprised to find that I could do other things, and sometimes reluctant to think of me in any other light. This was not always the case, but occurred often enough to make an impression. But after two years of being steered into other people's ideas of what my musical life should look like, I began to lose my taste for the lifestyle.

When I left college, I felt like a failure. I had been put on this earth to sing, and I was turning my back on that. I tried a few paths out (teaching, English, bartending) but nothing really fit. My failures here seemed to confirm for me that I was cursed so long as I abandoned music.

When my dad died, things kind of got put in perspective. My dad made a career of doing what was expected. He, too, had many talents. His academic and career path has more branches than mine. He went to school for teaching...and he taught Spanish for a few years. Then he decided that wasn't what he wanted to do, so he went back to school, this time to pursue a law degree. Half way through, he realized that he really enjoyed his science classes, so he went on to med school instead of law school. He became a psychiatrist and was very well respected in his field. He was also a devoted husband and father.

What is left out of this picture? He was a great poet. And he painted beautifully. He had a lovely singing voice and played several instruments. Everyone told him he was an academic, but I think he was secretly an artist. Maybe suppressing this inner calling contributed to him ending his life. I can't say for sure, but I know that he would have resonated with the idea that you can be good at more than one thing.

So why is this long-winded post titled "Validation?" Because that's what I got this week. Since I moved back home and started back in school, I've chosen a totally different career path. I'm studying mass communications, and I really enjoy it. More than that, though, I've found that I'm pretty good at it!

This past week, one of my professors (who I have only spoken to a couple of times since being in her class last semester) sent me an email saying that she had an internship that would be perfect for me. She said I was the first person she thought of. I was touched and excited.

But it gets better...

I emailed the head of my department to ask if he would support my decision to apply for the internship, and he echoed the sentiment that I would be a perfect fit. Really? TWO of my professors think this highly of me?

No. Three of them do.

Today, while meeting with professor number one, a third professor popped his head in the door and offered his two cents. He said, and I quote, that I am, "awesome-sauce." If I ever write a book, that review is going on the jacket.

Told ya, validation. Three professors think that I am perfect for this job and are excited to see me succeeding. To me, this is proof that I can be good at more than one thing. That is a powerful realization.

The internship in question may not be a perfect fit, but it's a step. And more than that, having the support of my department proves that, even if this isn't the right thing for me, I don't have to be a singer to be successful. This gives me renewed hope that I can and will find my passion! Thanks, Mass Comm. Department for the much needed ego boost!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Chicken or the Egg?

Since I began this blogging journey, I've had some great feedback from friends and family. Much of this has consisted of, "Wow, I never knew that about you," but I've also gotten a lot of comments in the vein of, "I've gone through something similar. Here's what I have found."

The surprising part of this? The nature of the advice. I have been approaching my soul-searching mission from a very analytical perspective. Analyze my past, examine my thoughts, then deduce an appropriate career path. I'm a pretty stereotypical Virgo in that sense.

The advice I've received, though, has been a lot more...touchy-feely. Don't get me wrong, I'm very much a touchy-feely person and I constantly find myself in situations where my emotions get the best of me, but I thought a more scientific approach would be my best bet here...because of my touchy-feely tendencies. Apparently the Universe thinks differently.

So that advice? It's all been about spiritual cultivation. Friends have suggested meditation, prayer, all that real soul-searching stuff. Which maybe makes more sense? The ultimate goal should be happiness and content, right? Money and a good job are really just a means to that end. So maybe I need to focus more energy on that whole Go to the Wilderness idea.

The problem with the touchy-feely approach? It takes too long! And yes, I am aware what an utterly lame excuse that is. I want results now! I have roughly a year left in my undergraduate degree and I need to know what comes next! I need to intern and find a job and start my adult life! I'm running out of time!

Which, of course is ridiculous. There is always time. So maybe I need to slow down and focus my energy inward.

I guess this just isn't the way I've chosen to prioritize my life. My plan was to figure out my career, then explore my inner self and gain a spiritual side. But maybe it doesn't work that way. Maybe the two are intrinsically linked. Maybe spirituality needs to come before career plans?

Which should come first, the chicken or the egg? Now I'm confused...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Is depression an excuse?

I can't decide if this post is offensive or not. You tell me, but please be kind...I don't like being yelled at, even over the internets.

Is depression an excuse? I suffer from depression (seasonal, major, manic, you name it, I've got it). Not all the time though. It comes in little fits and spurts, as unpredictable as Colorado weather. Some days I'm fine. Some days I'm happy, even manic. Then some days I just crash. BOOM! And I sit in the wreckage and wonder why I even try.

I don't even know what that means. Why I even try what? To live? To love? To make pancakes? It's a little too abstract to be taken seriously. I think that depression is a scapegoat. Not all the time, and not for all people, but for me, I think that my depression is an excuse.

I've been doing really well in school. Like super awesome. Like 99%'s on my tests and 100%'s on my homework assignments awesome. And then, this past week, I mysteriously stopped doing my homework or going to class. For no real reason. Why? Because depression had descended. Why? Maybe because that is the nature of the disease. Or maybe because I'm afraid of my success.

If I admit that I am doing well, then I set my foot on the path to success. If I start walking down that path, I have to make choices about my future. I have to start deciding what comes next. Should I go to grad school? Should I apply for internships overseas? Should I start looking into some possible careers? AAAAHHHH! Panic attack! This is just another form of that passion thing I'm so afraid of. Basically, by doing well in school, I am opening up exciting (and terrifying) new possibilities.

So I blame my depression instead of facing the real problem. My life has given me plenty of fodder for depression, plenty of excuses not to succeed. I have had to fight some uphill battles, and given the circumstances, I'm sure people would let me off easy if I just gave up. Who would judge the girl whose dad committed suicide for suddenly giving up on school? The perfect excuse to fail.

But it really is just an excuse. The truth is that I'm not failing, and I won't fail. Yes, I have depression. Yes, I have had some awful things happen in my life. But I cannot use these hardships like smoke and mirrors to distract people (and, more importantly, myself) from the real issue. I freak out when things start looking good. The security blanket of failure is lifted, and my depression is just my fear fighting like hell to hold on to...what? Nothing good.

So I say that my depression is an excuse. It's hard to admit this, and it will be even harder to fight it, but I'm going to.