My dad forced us to do something every summer. His theory was by trying a little of everything we would find ourselves, if not by what we love, at least by what we hate. I have taken dance, karate, sports, instruments and I hated all of it. I couldn’t see the value. I wanted to watch tv and play with my friends. Children are so innocent…and ignorant.
The first thing I knew I wanted to do was draw. Then I discovered acting. But I loved these things because I was good at them not necessarily because they fulfilled me or brought me joy. My mom decided I should read. I hated reading so she started me off with comic books – Batman vol 1 issue 408, June, 1987.
I thought I was an artist until I met Keith Campbell, HE is an artist, turns out I was a writer lol. We made comic books together and while it was fulfilling I still felt like I had been reduced to being a writer, as if it was a lesser position. Kids are so innocent…and ignorant.
The “ah-ha” moment was 7th grade. We had to write a brochure for a fictitious business, I chose a spa. It was a cool assignment and I enjoyed it but I had no idea it was the single most defining moment of my life. At the end of class while all the kids were collecting their books to go to the next class the teacher called the class to attention to read us a sample of good creative writing. She read my assignment.
I sat there terrified and embarrassed hoping the bell would ring early and free me from this living nightmare but it didn’t. I watched the class, my peers and equals, ‘Ooh and ahh’ at the silly little words I scratched on a sheet of loose leaf in under 20 minutes. When she got to the end those words garnered a round of applause. The bell rang and I shot for the door but before I escaped someone asked “Who’s paper is that?” and the teacher said “Garry’s.”
They were mystified. They thought it was an example from the text book. I had held 14 year-olds in rapt attention with the weirdness in my head, the very same thoughts I had been told to bury, stop having, or at the very least, keep to myself. Suddenly, my opinion was validated. There was a thing in me that was “correct” to someone other than me. It was the beginning of my confidence, my self sustained self esteem, my evolution into a being comfortable in its own skin.
If you knew me in middle school, or high school, at any of my many jobs or the military, you know I’ve been singing the same song, chasing the same dream for the last 30 years. I thought I would make movies and that is still the end goal, but it’s taken a lifetime and immeasurable resilience.
So, dream. dream big and hold those dreams close to your heart. Defend them fiercely and yield to no force telling you your dream is a fairytale. Man couldn’t fly, until he could. We couldn’t reach the moon, until we did. The internet, instant global, real time communication was impossible, until it wasn’t. Ignore the nay-sayers, dream, and keep dreaming until its real. then look them all in their eyes and say “And for my next trick…” and smirk smugly as they hate themselves for lacking your conviction.
It’s ok, I promise, It’s ok.