Who am I? Who do I want to be? These short, simple questions, which are easy for somepeople to answer, are detrimental to many individual’s lives. The battle between who you think you should be and what influential people, the media, and friends say and lead you to be is a tough battle to defeat. Finding out who you are can be one of the hardest achievements to conquer in life. Many people never ‘find’ themselves.
As a child I grew up in a quaint, small country town where everyone knew everything about everyone and they all believed they knew who they were and what they were going to do with their lives. I felt like an outcast, lost within my far-fetched fairytale dreams. My parents, being the controlling people that they were, filled my confused teenage brain with thoughts of hopelessness. I began to imagine a world where I was living someone else’s dream. I felt as if I was a figure in a dollhouse where someone more powerful than me was controlling my every move and decision.
I remember having an incredible drive when I was in my pre-teen years. I knew what I wanted to be. I wanted to be an actress and fashion designer. I would spend hours from sunrise to sundown making skits, shows, and art. Many times, I even cast my brother in my infamous acts and would share my eccentric ideas with him for our show that evening. I loved life and I had so much hope. I believed anything was possible and I could succeed as long as I worked hard and never gave up. At this time in my life, my parents allowed me to live in my unachievable dream world…..as they would call it as I grew older.
As time moved forward, and I was in high school things hit the fan. I can recall as clear as day the moment my parents decided who I would be as an adult. On a cold winter day in December, near the warm, crackling fireplace my father asked me….so what are you going to study in college? I answered proudly, stating I would study fashion design. As soon as these words enthusiastically burst out of my mouth, my father sternly shut my dreams down, telling me I needed to study something that I would be able to make a career out of. In my father’s closed mind, any career in the arts was not “a career”, only a hobby.
When it became time to apply for college, I didn’t know what I wanted to be and I was discouraged. Everything I always dreamed of seemed unreachable. As time approached closer to the deadline for college applications, my parents were randomly throwing out ideas of what I could be, each idea I quickly shut down …. Eventually, they decided I would go to school for nursing. I was brainwashed into thinking my true dreams were out of reach and illogical, so I went with the flow and arrived at college in the fall of 2006 thinking that I would become a nurse.
The idea of being a nurse did not last long and I realized early on that this was not the career I wanted to have for the rest of my life….it was not ME. Soon after I was enrolled in college, I dropped out. For the next two years, I worked two jobs and had no extra time to pursue my dreams. This was one of the hardest times of my life. Not only were my parents distancing themselves from me, I was lost inside my mind wondering why they wouldn’t accept me for who I wanted to be. Why wouldn’t they help me pursue my dreams? I felt abandoned and hopeless, with no drive to conquer my goals.
Eventually, I couldn’t take working my life away and after numerous times of contemplating what would be the next step in my book of life, I decided to contact my parents. Being the controllers of my future that my parents believed they were, they told me they would help me if I went back to college to pursue a paralegal degree. For the second time, I allowed them to mold me into the person they wanted me to be. I enrolled in college and began studying law. As graduation approached, I felt lost. I wasn’t ready to begin working in a controlled, monotonous environment again. Everyone was congratulating me and sending me cards, but I didn’t feel as if I accomplished anything. I was not proud of myself. I was upset that I spent another four years of my life failing to pursue my dreams. There was one positive aspect of my college years: I had begun to think about how I would attain my dreams. A glimmer of hope shone in my eye.
After graduation, I had an immense amount of time on my hands and began to create for hours upon hours daily. I felt re-energized as if I had been reborn. I felt I had the ability to be me for the first time since my childhood. Oddly enough, my parents were beginning to support my dreams and they were surprisingly impressed with my drive. About three months after I graduated, I received a call for an interview. I have to admit, I was excited that I got a “big girl” job and I was proud of myself. When I look back I think I became more positive about this career, because I knew I could support myself while working to achieve my goals. I was so engulfed with the plan I had for my life, that a job was only a stepping stone to my dreams.
Today I am working full-time as a Paralegal and I have begun to develop two brands, Elise Alexander and Jenna Elise Designs. I have never been happier. After a long battle between who others wanted me to be and who I was, I finally managed to win. When I look back on my life and the struggle I had with finding myself I think about how my life would be different if I would have believed in myself and refrained from allowing others to mold me into something I wasn’t. I cannot change how my life unfolded, but I want others to hear my story and be inspired to pursue their dreams no matter what anyone says.
For those who are reading this article, maybe you know exactly who you want to be, or maybe the media, your parents/guardian, an influential person in your life, or your friends are pushing you to be someone you don’t think you are. Either way, the most important thing in life is to be you. If you aren’t you, you will be in a constant battle between who you want to be and who others want you to be. You will not find happiness until you reach for the stars and conquer your dreams. No matter how crazy others lead you to believe your dreams are, or how far they are removed from the norm, being you will allow you to succeed in life and you won’t look back on your life and have regrets. Be YOU!
Thanks for the support and love 🙂 Your REglam Team xx