A bold kid on a mission to write
When I was in fourth grade, I was obsessed with opera. And I had a bold teacher, Mr. F, who was lanky and fierce in creativity and temper. He always smelled like coffee.
Luckily, he also was obsessed with opera– some of the same ones. And, like me, he liked to write. Mr. F, however, was a musician who had actually written and produced an opera. About the revolutionary war. For fourth graders to perform. In a public elementary school.
I was 9. I told Mr. F I wanted to write an opera. And what did he say? Go for it; I’ll help you.
This encouragement is what each of us needs to be equally bold.
Someone saying, Got dreams? Got something to say? Go for it; I’ll help you.
What did I know then about ambition?
I wore paisley print stretch pants, velour shirts, and Velcro sneakers, to give you an idea. I was still eating pita-and-peanut-butter-and-honey for lunch every day, and throwing my invariably mealy apple in the over-sized cafeteria trash can (and why was it over-sized? Guess!).
But even with no feel yet for literary structure, never having written lyrics, I still thought I could write an opera. And I started right away on my dad’s long yellow legal pads. What I wrote strangely resembled my favorite opera in character, in plot and….I had no idea how one would compose song.
Do you get it? I could do none of the things required to actually write an opera, but I still THOUGHT I COULD DO IT.
As soon as I was supported, I got started. I was bold.
Self-doubt was not even in my vocabulary.
I think the opera is somewhere in my parent’s basement now. I don’t need to see it because I’m embarrassingly confident how bad it is. But I’m so proud of that kid.
In your college essay, be like a ballsy fourth grader..
Here’s the deal: your work is only as bold as you’re willing to be.
And sometimes we need a hand at our back, a voice in our ear saying, Go For It.
Sometimes we need to switch our seat at the table, stretch out the kinks and resistance in our own bodies (because, yup, it’s there, sure as sky), and get shoved lovingly into the rink.
Your stories are inside you. There are billions of them. Your life is teeming with interesting things that haven’t seen the light of day or the printed page.
Be like that ballsy fourth grader who, with a very tall adult behind her, was sure she could crank out an opera.
Don’t let your less confident older self get in the way. Invite that self to do something else for an hour.
Start anywhere– how about with your outfit? How about with the last thing you lost? How about with your rubber band collection (you have one? that’s weird!)?
I don’t know exactly where you need to start. But something in you does. And we can support you while you figure it out.
So, go ahead, write your [fill in the blank]. You have permission.
Be bold in your college essay– as in, don’t rule anything out in advance. Your story is begging you to differ. Your leadership is in your hands, and in your pen. Your status is pending.
(Need a hit of unlimited awesome to get you started? Check out these elementary school kids singing “Imagine.”)