Illustration Highlight: Little Princess and Her Companion
When we’re little, we think that when we grow up, we’ll be able to go anywhere and be whatever we want to be. Somewhere along the way, we start to believe we should just settle into whichever place we fit. It doesn’t have to be that way. Just listen to your inner child. It will guide the way.
The little princess is riding her T-Rex companion across a long bridge. The two are alone together, exploring a new place and making their way towards a magical kingdom in the distance. They don’t really know what’s ahead but they’re going to do whatever it takes to get their destination.
When I was little and adults asked me what I wanted to do when I grow up, I would tell them that I wanted to be an artist. In response, adults would tell me things like “you won’t make money until after you die” or “you’re going to starve and die alone in the streets”. I still wanted to be an artist because I liked to draw. I used to draw on the walls even though I knew it would get me into tons of trouble when my parents found out. Nothing would stop me from doing it.
When it came time to apply for college, I decided not to apply to art school based on the criticism that I received. Art school is expensive and I repeated told that going to a four year university would improve my chances at a successful career. By that time, I was old enough to understand the logic behind that statement. For that reason, I never applied. When I reflect back on the choices I made up until I finished college, I regret not making decisions for myself. Despite having followed everyone’s advice and doing as I was supposed to, I felt that I was still at a disadvantage. I started feeling like it was a joke to believe I was working so hard to get ahead of my peers. When I found a full time job, I started to feel that the kind of success others wanted for me didn’t feel like success at all.
It became very clear to me that every career path would be difficult in its own way. When I finally started listening to the logic of my 5 year-old self, making decisions confidently became easier. Stressful times became easier to deal with. Just like when I was drawing on the walls as a kid, I know that there are going to be moments where I’ll cry or have a hard time. That thought is not so bad, though, because I at least I get to do what I love.