Ever since we could comprehend this sentence, we have been asked-
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I think we all can relate to the notion that sometimes, we just feel different from everyone else. I sat “indian style” on the colorful rug in my pre-k class. The humid New Orleans air was thick and salty. I ran my fingers over my skinned knees searching the depths of my young four year old brain with a quickening anxiety. It was almost my turn.
Two kids away a girl who I very fondly disliked was sharing her future life with the class. Her name, ironically enough, was also Sarah (but with the dreaded H). I can still feel my blood start to boil to this day thinking of Sarah. She was the “perfect” type. Her hair always soft and flowing in light, bouncy curls past her shoulders. Her socks always matching her dress. She drove me nuts, my hair fell in a mess of stringy, chronic knots, every Friday I was allowed to dress myself and boy-it was wild, and I was lucky if my socks fucking matched each other. Sarah was the kid that came out of the womb 40 years old. Wise, kind, and still; all the teachers loved her.
“I would love to grow up and run an orphanage for children who don’t have their own mommies and daddies,”
WTF- I didn’t even know what an orphanage was, let alone did I aspire to do something so noble at the royal age of 4. Finally, it was my turn and the best I came up with was “I want to be my mom!”.
Most kids go through phases. Fireman, doctor, veterinarian, teacher. Just like fashion trends, new aspirations typically come and go with time. I don’t remember any of my own particular phases… Teacher, ya I did kind of always want to be a teacher. But my mother was a teacher for 25 years, so is that cheating?
Anyways, my point is that this question has literally been asked 1 trillion times and now, as a senior in university the rate of being asked such ass backwards, straight from hell question like this is off the charts. STOP ASKING. I still don’t know, honestly.
Maybe if our society stopped asking WHAT do you want to be and started asking WHO do you want to be, maybe then I’d have a more creative and authentic answer. Who do I want to be?
I want to be free, loved and loving, happy, and whole. I am limitless in what I can be.