Stop telling children that they can be anything they want to be when they grow up.
Do not tell little boys that they could be police men or fire fighters
and do not tell little girls they could become rock stars or the next president.
Do not tell children that they can become anything,
because until you bring it up,
it never occured to them that they couldn't.
Children do not have doubts
or stress or hate or fear
until somebody puts it in their head that they should.
So maybe the stress got to me. Maybe the doubt is drowning me.
Maybe anxiety eats away at the back of my mind every single night...
but for some reason, I never lost hope.
Nobody ever said, "this is what you could be," and laid out my options in front of me
like a multiple choice question on a state approved, standardized test
where the wrong answer ends in a lifetime of emptiness and the sense that I could have been something greater, rather than just a bad grade.
Fortunately, I was surrounded by people who asked me,
"What do you want to be?" and my options were infinite.
I lit up at the limitless question, but right from the start, I knew. I always knew.
I was bad at keeping my balance and often bruised my knees on the playground.
I was not the most social or witty and god knows I couldn't figure out an instrument to save my life,
but I could tell one hell of a story.
Sometimes they were lyrics and sometimes they were poems,
but there was nothing I was better at than weaving a narrative,
and I knew, I always knew I needed to write.
Articles, novels, essays, lyrics, poems, reviews, reports - anything!
I knew I had to write it, and when they asked me, "What do you want to be?"
they never ever said
that my chances were slim or my choice was impractical.
They never said I wasn't good enough or I was unrealistic.
They only said, "Well, you better work hard then."
One day I won't just be writing, I will be a Writer, capital W,
and I can tell the children who are going to be firefighters and presidents to look out at the stars once and a while
because the universe is limitless just like they are, and they shouldn't let the words or expectations of others put them in a box.
One day I will be in a position that has more than the power to change my life
but the power to change others, because you are full of stars,
and you would have noticed if only someone had told you to close your eyes and see them.
Close your eyes and listen to the resounding din of the universe in your head and tell me
that you could not find something worth your time in there.
Tell me you don't wish they'd at least confined you to a bigger box. A universe-sized box.
So don't tell your children they could have any job they want when they grow up
because that is what your parents told you.
Ask them to close their eyes and tell you about their universe.
Let them know the stories inside them ready to burst out are valid.
Everyone is a story;
Someone has to tell it.