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My Journey to Choosing Art

An artist is very familiar with scoffs and side eyeing when telling family members and friends their career aspirations. But it's so competitive, you'll never make any money! and so on and so forth. Most of these are said with relatively the best of intensions, but I've found that among non-artistic people, they do not understand the primal urge that leads to choosing a creative path. It's as necessary to us as breathing, and in order to live a fulfilling life it needs to be a part of your life, and as big a piece as we can possibly make it. I, like many many other creative-types, have always struggled between choosing something practical and “safe” and pursuing the passion that has always lived in my heart. Thus I want to share my own journey to listening to what my heart has always told me; that a creative career is an absolute necessity for me to be happy.

I grew up in an incredibly practical household where growing up I was told by my parents (from a place of love and their desire for what they believed was best for their daughter) that I should pursue my passion, but I should always have a back up plan. Not going to college or putting it off was not an option.

I lived most of my life by this philosophy; my passions were always secondary to doing well in school and doing activities that would make me appealing to colleges. And at 17, I shipped off to UC Berkeley with an intended Legal Studies degree and mild plans of going into law or government service, which appealed to me because it was prestigious and rigorous, not because it’s actually what I wanted to do. And while the feeling of being untrue to myself always lived quietly in my heart, I felt young enough to ignore it.

I am immensely grateful for my college experience, as stricken with COVID and other unexpected difficulties as it was. It definitely made me grow up and opened my eyes to new ways of thinking. The difficulty is that there was absolutely no time to pursue my passion. And though I found myself gravitating towards the music and theater departments, and taking what arts classes I could in my schedule, I remained stubbornly on my "practical" path, too scared to dare to do anything else.

And ultimately, fear was the biggest driving factor in my inability to be true to myself.

I, to this day, struggle with that cognitive dissonance, the push and pull of wanting stability and certainty while also knowing in my heart of hearts I can’t do anything but perform and be happy. I am very afraid of failure and in a field as competitive as the arts, failure is a very daunting reality.

But after leaving early college and working jobs that made me feel incredibly hollow and burnt out, I realized that practicality was not all it was cracked up to be. I was having difficulty finding a job in my chosen field because, surprise surprise, when you're not actually passionate about what you're doing it's very easy to tell from your internship-less passion project-less resume.

Thus I have decided to give my heart a chance, to listen to the obvious choices I've subconsciously made throughout my life and really put my entire soul into trying to make a career in the arts work. And even if it doesn't work out, I will live my life satisfied with the knowledge that I was able to overcome my fear of failure and try for what will make me the happiest.

Pictured: Me graduating from UC Berkeley in 2022

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