The smallest push in the right direction is infinitely better than nothing at all
I have kinda always hated when people start their personal stories by explaining they’ve had this innate talent since they were a baby. For a hypothetical, a singer claims right when they were pulled from the womb their vocal cords were the first body part to grow and as a toddler, they sang their first words. I was born with a heart tumor, so I don’t know what that makes me a specialist in. I guess it’s made me live my life for the next day, ignorant of career paths and future opportunities. My passions are not as inflamed as others’, especially not like those who possessed insane talent as toddlers. They still aren’t, but at least they have some direction.
As a kid, I used to want to be an aquamarine life researcher because I had watched Octonauts. Then I wanted to be an artist because scribbling doodles is fun. Then I wanted to become a content creator because of the many hours I’ve sunk into YouTube. But whenever I would try things, I’d usually quickly give up after realizing 1. I am not good at it, 2. It is unrealistic, or 3. All of the above. Besides, as a kid, I’d rather spend my time splashing water at my cousin or sit on the same chair as we watched famous Minecrafters. That was fun. But realizing that my dreams are more fiction than fact wasn’t.
Sooner or later, my dreams had to become a reality if I wanted a future I was envisioning, so I decided to go to Boston Latin Academy; probably the “best” school I’ve gone to according to rankings, but also the largest. Freshman year was me trying to get accustomed to a school that nearly doubled my previous ones in size. My sophomore year was when I managed to settle in, despite feeling two years behind. Junior year was the accursed quarantine year, which I will not speak of lest I burn my tongue from the dreaded name.
When we returned, it was not the most organized of things. Neither was I, to be fair, but nonetheless, the school had tried to change the schedule right after quarantine. Instead of seeing all of my classes each day, there was a designated period on Tuesdays to try clubs and a period on Thursday for study. I would try some different clubs out if they’d pique my interest. The first few were… strange. They probably wouldn’t have been so bad if the teacher were actually present. We don’t talk about the DnD Club. I tried joining the Writing Club midway through the year.
Turns out boredom isn’t all that bad of a motivator, pushing me to write during long lectures. My ELA teacher helped by being better than average, despite also being new to this school. After writing seven pages on a project that required two, I felt like this could turn out to be a regular in my life. A few compliments left by my teacher helped a bit, too, admittedly… Despite this, I am a critical person, so I tried to not let the compliments put me in a place of complacency and so I searched for criticism of my writing. I have tried to make a conscious effort to improve my writing. So, it seems natural to try out the Writing Club. It fit easily into my schedule and didn’t conflict with any other options. Just a simple “why not.” Even if it turned out subpar like the rest, I could always change it… in four weeks.
The first day I was as anxious and awkward as any other day walking into a new class. It doesn’t help that I am naturally anxious and awkward. The class was small in comparison to the number of chairs that filled the room. The edges of the wall were littered with books and supplies. The teacher’s desk sat prominently in the middle of the room. I was the first one there, so the students there were all from the previous class either leaving or still trying to talk with the teacher. I took a seat in the farthest corner away from the stragglers. Students began to exit while some others entered. After everyone settled, we patiently waited for the instructions of our teacher. She gave us an introduction, a small booklet for new members, and a prompt to write about. We shared ideas and our work with each other then call it a day. And each time I went back, it was just as simple.
I have stemmed many of my writings from that club, some grand, some silly, some left unfinished. It’s still just as awkward as it started, but as I have with the rest of my classes, I grow accustomed to it. Of course, it isn’t perfect. I would go as far as to call it mundane and unorganized. The teacher is absent for half the classes and the class size is minimal. It was subpar, but I didn’t leave this time for another subpar choice. I had decided that I wanted to get better at writing. I am not completely sure why, even now. Perhaps it’s my way of artistic expression, or that my work isn’t half bad, or that it brings me praise. Bringing life to thoughts from sleepless nights. Looking back at your effort put into fruition; to feast on your fruits of labor. Simple comments with compliments and criticisms to prove they’re not a madman’s ramblings in an isolated room. Maybe I write just ‘cause it’s fun. Who knows.
What I do know now, is that this is better than sitting at my desk questioning what next. That doesn’t mean I don’t contemplate alone still, unsure of my future. But now it’s a little less blurry to me. Maybe that heart tumor meant I specialized in my gratitude for being on this planet to this day, to be able to see what today has in stock for me. Maybe it means that I specialize in appreciating the small things in everyday life. Maybe it means that I can look way too far into things, like a writing club or a heart tumor. The only thing I’m sure of is that I’ll always be unsure of things, and that will always be okay because you can never be sure of everything.