Believe It!

Free-writing again. This time, it’ll feel interrupted since I’m listening to music of Part 1 of Naruto.

Oh, how I’ve loved this show and the manga. I kind of can’t believe how many hours (which have probably amounted into days, weeks, months) of watching the anime, reading the manga, reading fanfiction, looking at fanart, and browsing through random people’s Tumblrs about it. Such a great story.

And it’s best not to get too bogged down in the negatives of the story (ask me about How I Met Your Mother, and I’ll have a different opinion). It’s like with people, at least for me: treat them fairly, with understanding and compassion, and do criticize them. Because when you love something, you’ll do and say what you think is best for them. And you criticize out of love. Because you love the thing or the person so much. Right?

Anyway, I’m feeling nostalgic because the manga is ending in a couple of weeks. It’s run for 15 years, which is wow, amazing. It’s hard to believe, and at first I was feeling indifferent about it, but it has taken up so much of my life, and for good reason. You know I love a good story. And as flawed as Naruto was, I still can’t help but acknowledge how it’s left an impact on my life. For the better, I think. The music, for one, is great for working out and even for studying (I can’t help but remember using it to study for a psychology test once). You end up admiring the intelligence and creativity put into that world and its characters. Especially the main character. Naruto has been a positive force in my life: he’s optimistic, resilient, confident, and compassionate. Definitely in an out-of-this-world kind of way, but it’s nonetheless admirable.

When I started writing this, I was feeling upset that my dad said I needed to be more flexible when it came to the job search. Honestly, I am flexible. Just not in the way he sees it – or in the way his generation or cultural/socioeconomic group sees it. I’ve read before that there are three ways to see work: a job, a career, or a calling. I’m definitely the third. How can I not be? I feel existential despair whenever something doesn’t go the way I planned or wanted in my career path, and I have to love the work that I do. I can’t settle for less on this, or I’d be lying to myself.

It’s definitely hard to go through life like this. I’ve been everywhere this year (which seriously just needs to end) when it came to what I wanted to do next: Master’s in Peace and Conflict Studies, Bachelor of Education, Master of Arts in Social Justice Education, Post-Graduate Certificate in International Development or Project Management or Alternative Dispute Resolution, and of course, anything in Creative Writing. It’s been stressful and unsettling. And it’s mostly because I’ve been confused about what I want and what I should do. My career counsellor told me that I should trust myself in making these kinds of decisions. I have felt confident before in what I wanted to do and what I was meant to do, but now… Do I still believe it?

Hopeful Wanderer

I’m going to try this free-writing thing again. I feel like a lot has happened since the last entry, even though I feel like I’m going nowhere yet trying to move in all directions at once.

I’m not working anymore. I’m feeling lazy and unproductive and without purpose because the routine of doing work was so comforting and defining for me. That’s the thing, though. We always ask people, “What do you do for a living? Where do you work?” We never ask, “What do you love to do? What makes you come alive?” I know those are big and deep and daunting yet beautiful questions, but they really give you insight into what we’re like as humans in the 21st century. Our meaning is derived from the work that we do.

But that can be a good thing. Because our work is typically done for others, and it’s not bad to serve others. Many (actually I’m sure most) religions say that a life lived in service to others is a good and holy and meaningful life. So, it’s not a bad thing to work to help others. Not at all.

It’s the whole process of applying for work, feeling worthless because nobody notices or acknowledges you, waiting around for somebody to notice or acknowledge you, getting judged by people to see if you’re worthy to serve others, getting rejected by those people, and doing the whole thing over again. It’s degrading and often demoralizing – especially when you’re somebody like me who sees work as an extension of herself to the point that the work is me. In a sense. I mean, I have been getting better in establishing that work/life balance mindset (and I loved that I could leave my work at work this year). It’s just hard not to feel like people think you’re less than a piece of shit with all of the evaluating-to-see-if-you’re-the-best-fit crap.

And really, what does this all mean for me? Am I not meant to go about finding work in this way? Should I focus on writing, finally? And why did I title my blog, “Story-Sharing for the Amateur Author?” Does the purpose of this blog still hold any meaning with 1-year-ago me?

Probably not. I had thought that I wanted to get some professional experience, go to grad school to write a thesis about how stories can connect people in such a way that they’ll come to understand one another and be able to build peace during a state of conflict and hatred. But I’m not even sure whether I want to go to grad school anymore. My dad and a professor scared me into pushing that thought away, because of goddamned money. I hate how money always squeezes itself into these things. I hate how getting an education now leads to getting a job, when the original purpose of high education was to enlighten and enrich people.

So I guess that’s what I’m truly looking for, then: enlightenment and enrichment. And where will I find this? Do I have to embark on a journey in order to find my personal legend? Go on a wild and crazy adventure and meet memorable characters along the way? I kind of want to. I feel like I’m on the verge of an existential crisis… It’s looming in the distance, but it’s like I’m trying to make those storm clouds disappear by just *doing* something, anything really, to delay the inevitable. And I think a trip to somewhere else by myself is in order. I don’t know where I should go, or why I should go, or what I’ll become as a result of the trip. But that’s the thing, isn’t it? We all feel like we need to escape in order to rejuvenate or replenish whatever little is left of us inside.

And I hope that little something will help me get through all this.