A lot of things pass through my mind on a daily basis. I have a tendency to day dream a lot as well. I think that might be the reason me and my aunt don’t get along. She’s the kind of woman who demands results and thinks dreams are for preschoolers and mental patients. When I graduated high school and told her I didn’t want to go to college, but that I wanted to write novels and screenplays instead, she shook her head in the same disapproving manner as a math teacher would while passing out failed exams. We never spent much time together as I was growing up, so her strong objection to my career choice shocked me. To this day she doesn’t even know my favorite color or my favorite food, nor did she spend the time investigating it.
After a long sigh she peered at me through her prescription tented Raquel Welch shades and said, “Writing doesn’t make money. As a young, black woman you need to educate yourself and make money. That’s all that matters. Reserve your hobbies for your down time. Don’t make the same mistakes your mother did.”
My mother is not a writer, but it’s safe to assume my aunt was referring to my mother’s general education degree of choice she obtained from the cheap community college downtown back in the good old ’70s. English was one of the courses my mother enjoyed the most at that time, which must explain my flair and love for witty word play. You would think, because of this, that my mother would have sided with me and would have told my aunt to go to hell for saying such inappropriate, soul crushing comments to her impressionable niece.
If that was the kind of family that raised me, you would have been spot on with this assumption. Unfortunately that’s not the world I live in.
All of my four friends have family members who believe in their passions and endeavors to the end and back. Even if the careers my friends seek are not financially profitable ones, their families remain by their side 110 percent.
M, for example, initially enrolled in the Business Management program at the local university and hated every single, little thing about it. The accounting classes made her want to gauge her eyes out with a Texas Instrument, and her dance elective focused on contemporary forms with a minor concentration on twerking. Nothing about this program fit her passion. It was the guidance counselor at our high school, sharing the same sentiment as my aunt, who frightened M with a painted picture of poverty at an early age if she didn’t pursue a degree that generated six figures. Life without sew-in weave and bi-weekly manicures nearly gave M a heart attack, so naturally she enrolled for the first “adult” program she spotted in the catalog. After four weeks of building finance reports on Excel and shaking her ass cheeks until they numbed, she cried to her mom that she wanted to be an artist.
That night Mrs. G came back home with an easel, several canvases, and the most expensive paint she could find from the art store and told M, “You should have said so from the jump.”
Over time, M perfected her craft and eventually enrolled for the drafting and design program. If M continued to let our guidance counselor’s scare tactic influence her, she would have wasted four years and $60,000 in financial aid on a degree she would have never used. Which leads back to my previous comment on college. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t want to go at all. To be honest, I love being in class. Any and everything I can learn, give it to me. Fill me with American and European history, discuss the mysterious meanings in Robert Frost’s poems with me. Please, indulge my curiosity with communication techniques and how important non-verbal cues are. I’m a disgusting nerd that way. My only issue was I didn’t want to go until I figured out if I needed to further my education for writing purposes. There are dozens of novelists and screenwriters that never laid their hands on a college textbook, unless it was for research on their new story. I was not going to waste my time, the instructor’s time, and I definitely was not about to waste all that grant and loan money if I didn’t need to.
However, one thing you need to know about me upfront, I’m a stubborn little bitch. And when someone tells me what I “need” to do or “should be doing”, especially when it’s coming from the mouth of a woman who has only celebrated 3 out of 24 birthdays with me, I will do the exact opposite . . . on purpose. It’s just my nature. I think I get it from my dad. My mom told him he could come around freely and never did. I can’t check with him on that, so it will forever remain a mystery.
Anyhow when my aunt protested with strong conviction, ” You better go to college.”
The natural brazen asshole in me retaliated with a firm, “Nah.”
Three months later my aunt got her wish, but not by her doing and not on her terms. While me and my mom were out shopping, a woman over heard our college discussion. The woman smiled at me and said, “You know. I’m currently enrolled downtown for English and I love it. I initially didn’t think I’d learn anything different from what I was taught in high school, but my teachers taught me a lot of helpful writing tips that have improved my style.”
This seemed staged. The way this woman talked, she sounded like a college recruiter. I checked on my mom out the corner of my eye to make sure she wasn’t egging the woman on or holding up cue cards. The woman gave us the number to the college and left. With my years of experience on the receiving end of deceptive acts, I no longer take what someone says at face value. A quality that annoys my boyfriend immensely. I investigated the legitimacy of her comments by going to the school and was actually pleased. Surprisingly, I didn’t go for the English program, Communications interested me more. Seeing as how I already don’t trust people, I thought it would be interesting observing and dissecting human facial expressions and movements before the lie even comes out. Catch these dicks in the act. Yeah, Communications for sure.