Today, I heard someone say ‘write something nobody else can write; write your truth’. It inspired me to do this, because I think up until now I’ve been kidding myself, I’ve written exactly what I think I’m supposed to. The edits, the endless research. It’s all in the hope that what I’m putting out there will resonate with someone, and mean something. But the most powerful story I could possibly tell is my own – even I know that.
So what is my story? I often ask myself this. In poetry, Tupac wrote about the rose that once grew from the crack in the concrete. Sounds dull, but it was something I aspired to. I knew my limitations could never genuinely hold me back, but I allowed them to for a long time. I hid behind the imagined circumstances of my childhood because it gave me something to blame other than myself. Now I call accountability one of my biggest virtues. I would barely recognise myself if I met me. I seek intelligence, with an unbridled ambition that defies all odds. I treat learning like drugs, and have no intention of giving up. I represent words I can barely pronounce. And I have this intense dream where I stand up and deliver speeches about how to succeed – although I’m a self-proclaimed failure. Life seems like continuous irony. Yet, I understand it so well.
I guess, if I had an audience, I’d say what I wish I knew. Trust your instincts. Build relationships as carefully and thoughtfully as you write in birthday cards. Listen ten times more than you speak. Especially if you are being given advice from someone better than you. Yes, people can be better than you. But stay critical – judge the experiences of those who are guiding your decisions, and only follow a leader who is on the path you believe in. Remember how small you are, and how big the world is. Don’t accept anything less than amazing, there’s no time for it. Establish standards that are so high even you sometimes doubt you can achieve them, but deep down always believe you will. If you don’t know what you believe, do some research. Stay in a moment by focusing on the best part of it. Stare into someone’s eyes when they’re talking to you. Love quotes online, but don’t live by them, they are never the full story. They won’t help you through heartbreak as much as your family will. And family – it’s not always the people you’re born around, it’s a feeling. Create a feeling of family wherever you go, and you’ll never be truly alone. It’s okay to be alone sometimes too, if you need it. Some of our best decisions are made out of despair. Like going home. Or admitting your mistakes. These are the things that will take you from child to adult.
Don’t try to be perfect. It’s no fun anyway.