Self realization and self denial. I think I have spent a good portion of my life trying to be someone that I’m not. I don’t think many would see me in this way but I have tried many professions in my short time. Each job leaving me looking for something else. I’ve worked as a police cadet, vet assistant, and firefighter. I get so frustrated because each time I feel like it’s not right, it’s not exactly what I want. I still enjoy the job but it’s not where I’m at. People don’t understand because I am happy in a lot of ways, I enjoy going to work. At each of those jobs, I genuinely enjoyed my time in the career but it was still not right.
Creativity runs in my blood, it’s my entire being. I’ve denied it, time and time again because that’s not the type of job that you can do as a career. This mentality has been drilled in my head, so although my creativity was always encouraged and supported by friends and family, I thought of art as nothing more than a passion that I can have as a stress reliever and hobby. I am finally starting to let go of my desire to do what is expected of me. These are expectations I have set on myself… I have put the most stress on myself. They were all my choices, no one told me to do those occupations that have nothing to do with art. I don’t regret any of my time in each of them. I have learned so much, how could I feel like any of it was wasted time?
The police department gave me a respect and understanding for law enforcement and what it means to bleed blue. They protect the citizens who despise them, just for the uniform they wear. Regardless though, they will put themselves in harms way. Many don’t understand that they’re just human. They get a bad reputation but the department I had the opportunity to work for was filled with amazing people who work hard to uphold the dignity in the profession.
The vet clinic taught me that animals have the power to heal and even after literally getting shit on many days, my love for animals grew immensely. When I was younger, I was deathly afraid of dogs so the decision to work at a dog and cat clinic was something that deep down, still scared me a little. I couldn’t be happier that I had the chance to realize what a blessing animals are. I would ultimately like to own a therapy dog that I can take to do their magic with highly stressful occupations (Police Officers, nurses, doctors, firefighters, paramedics, etc.) Of course I want to help patients but these guys behind the scenes working their asses off to be the best they can be for your health NEED to pet a puppy.
The fire department quite literally changed my life the most dramatically. When I got hired there I was depressed. I was 5’9″ and went down in weight to about 105 lbs after a bad breakup. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, and couldn’t find happiness. I cried everyday for months and months. It was pathetic really but I was very sad at the time. I knew I had to move forward so I signed up for nursing school and applied at a nearby fire department, something I had been interested in for awhile. I had the opportunity to choose from both but I was mainly just ecstatic to hear back from the fire department. I trusted my gut and accepted the job working as a Firefighter/EMT. I got my ass kicked the first few months of the academy. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I couldn’t even lift a ladder, I saw the stares of people wondering why I was there. I wondered at times too but the stares only made me more determined. I started working harder, training harder, mentally and physically I became in the best shape I had ever been.
I gained the respect of my peers and they helped me gain more and more confidence in myself. Once they saw I had the ability to do the job, they spent hours and hours training with me. Them going out of their way to help me believe in myself was more than just about training to be a firefighter. It was learning how to be a friend, a family member, and how the shit to cook. They were teaching me how to grow up and helping me have confidence in the person that I am. I don’t take any of my time there for granted.
As time went on, I started to bring to light more of my interests that I hadn’t been paying enough attention to. I had become solid at my job at the time and wanted to start focusing on what makes me happy. I started to draw more, and photography became an ever-growing love. Then, thanks to one firefighter in particular, I worked up the courage to take a leap and start traveling. Having only myself to worry about right now, it’s the best time to see the world, he simply stated. He was right of course. Traveling made me feel alive in a way that I had never felt. I started to learn more things about myself. I realized qualities in myself that I didn’t know I had, including an ability to connect with people and such a curiosity to hear their stories.
After returning from a trip, I would just start fantasizing about the next trip. It wasn’t about taking a relaxing vacation or getaway, it was a desire to learn more about the world we live in and meet people raised differently than me. Last year I went to Hawaii, Ireland, and England. If you think you have to be rich to travel, think again. You just have to be willing to sacrifice the finer things. (To clarify, I do not consider alcohol a finer thing.)
It was like something got ignited in me that made me want to pursue what makes me feel most alive. I became so focused on these things that I lost the good firefighter I was becoming. I lost the drive to be the best at it and I wasn’t getting it back. It embarrasses me to say it, but self realization is important and firefighting is not a job that you can only halfway be invested in. It is both a good and bad quality that once my heart is committed to something, it’s all in.
I knew that I had to leave. I was curious about the rest of the world and leaving long before working at the fire department but now that I had a taste of what was out there, I had to see more.
I wasn’t right at home so I took a leap of faith and moved to Hawaii with my sister. I’ve lived here for 3 months, and am working on getting my bachelors in photography online through Arizona State University, I’ve just finished up illustrating a children’s book, and I think I’ve written enough song lyrics to have an album made. I would be lying if I’d say that coming here has brought me all the happiness that I hope for. It’s brought me self realization that a steady career in one place is not what I want. That I want to be an artist and also realizing this means I’m starting from square one. I will be broke for awhile, that thought made me lose it for a bit. It for sure broke me realizing that I am going to struggle and whatever money I will make, is just going to go straight towards funds to travel. I’d rather live the life that I want then be wealthy so I will just have to figure out how to make it work.
It’s a rollercoaster of emotions but I’ve realized a lot about myself. I am letting go of the expectations to be a person that I am not. I have come to terms with the fact that it’s going to take a lot of work and I’m going to fail over and over again. I know I have the resilience and fight in me because it’s who I’m supposed to be. An artist, musician, and photographer. I have never been sure in who I am but when I finally forget who I’ve always thought I’ve should be, I am the most confident I’ve ever been in saying that I know who I am. I’m still thankful for self denial and the places it took me but I can’t wait to see where I’ll go now that I’ve discovered self realization.