|ignore the ink on my wrist - rest assured, it's only a stamp from the Hot Water Music show last night|
Back at Pepperdine, there was a pretty significant movement surging through the curriculum emphasizing the importance of finding one's vocation.
Not just something you're particularly good at, or excel in, or even think you could potentially make a life at doing day in and out.
But your true calling. What God made you for.
It was emphasized that not everyone discovered their vocation while they were in college, or even in the years immediately following. Hell, some didn't find out what they were born to do until they'd already gone through a career or two.
But therein lay the difference.
Because it's one thing to change your career. A career is something you choose.
A vocation is something that chooses you.
When I was little, like so many other little girls running around with their stuffed animals and playing with their kittens, I decided at the ripe old age of three to be a veterinarian.
Ah, a noble goal it was.
My mom would bring home random medical supplies from her job as a nurse and I would doctor my poor cats - my poor, patient cats - for every ailment they never suffered from.
Oh, your tail is fine? Well better wrap it in gauze just to be sure.
Patient patients they were indeed.
I was bent on being the world's best vet. I read James Herriott books. I listened attentively to everything our family's vet said when we'd take the resident felines in for their vaccinations. Hell, I even toured the UC Davis vet school when I was ten!
Somewhere around the first week of my sophomore biology class however I came to the stunning realization that I had absolutely no aptitude for science. And from what I could gather, that was somewhat vital to a career in veterinary medicine. And to be honest, I wasn't thrilled at the thought of wearing nothing but scrubs for the rest of my life.
Blessedly though, around this same time I met Mrs. St. Aubin.
At the time she was my English teacher but in the years that followed she would be my journalism advisor and one of the most motivating forces behind my writing. She encouraged me and guided me in a new field that I quickly came to adore. By senior year I adored it to the point of being the editor of the school newspaper (cut to me spending every lunch hour sitting in front of a computer doing layout, editing, redoing the layout to accommodate the new edits… I wonder why I had no social life?) and forging on with a major in Journalism once I got to Pepperdine.
Of course, I didn't remain a Journalism major. By the time I got back from London I knew I needed more freedom. I needed to be able to write free from AP style and free from the constraints of journalistic expression.
Enter Creative Writing.
Suddenly I had found the perfect fit. I could wax on with poetic language and not be told to ruthlessly edit it down to just the story, just the main points, just the headline.
Oh, the freedom!
At one point I went back home to Napa and visited my sixth grade teacher. She asked what I'd been studying and when I said Creative Writing she responded with,
"Well I could have told you that!"
She'd known it all along. She'd seen it almost ten years earlier.
I was always a writer.
This is not a path I chose. It chose me.
Looking back on my life I see that I was always writing. Always had a journal, a notebook, a pen, an idea, a story to tell.
Without meaning to, I have been a storyteller my whole life and have fed my own existence with the stories around me. The authors, poets, playwrights, journalists, essayists, screenwriters that have come to create a circle of inspiration around me are like dear friends I've never met.
I crave words and paragraphs and punctuation. I find myself thinking in prose more often than not. The fact that I am often found sitting back observing the actions of others comes from an instinct to witness the stories unfolding all around me and thankfully, I often get to play a part in them as well.
And through the years I found that I don't just need words to tell my stories. Somewhere in the madness, photography found me as well and married with my precious words to create a new canvas for me to work on. With pictures I found a whole new way to show life and further the story of the world around me.
Words, pictures, thoughts, images… What would my life look like without them?
I feel immeasurably blessed knowing I never have to worry about that. God designed a vocation for me to tell the stories of the world He created. And though I have fought certain roads He's taken me on, only to reluctantly accept them and find they were, in fact, best after all (funny how that happens), this is one thing I will never challenge Him on.
I am a storyteller. Just the way He planned.