“You can be anything you want when you grow up!”
Schoolchildren across America hear these words from day one of Kindergarten. It is ingrained in our young minds that anyone can literally be anything. Firefighters, police officers, teachers, doctors, presidents. “You can be anything.”
To be perfectly honest, I have some contrasting feelings on this indoctrination. I think that realistically, there are certain professions where it is statistically *virtually* impossible to make a viable living without certain innate characteristics. Like, a 5 foot tall person wanting to be an NBA star. Impossible? Technically not (just look at Muggsy Bogues!). But very very very unlikely? Yep.
However, for the vast majority of professions out there, I do really and truly (naively, perhaps?) believe that people can achieve what they set their minds to if they work long and hard enough for it. Setbacks may abound, sometimes unfair setbacks such as bigotry on the part of others, or economic disadvantages. And maybe you won’t get the *exact* career you dreamed of as a kid, but with perseverance I believe you will at least get very close.
I say all of this as an introduction to my main point here. Donald Trump winning the presidency of the United States is a lot of things – shocking, to say the very least – but if anything it is a very real example of this ‘you can do anything’ mantra.
I say this in a Stephen Colbert-esque type of dark satire, but if an unabashedly racist, sexist, xenophobic, fear-mongering, thin-skinned, neo-fascist narcissist can fight his way to the White House, then by God I now believe I can do ANYTHING.
Laugh all you want – it is funny, in a dark and serious way. But last night’s tumultuous news was a real wake up call for me on a personal level. I will admit, I have struggled with self doubt and insecurity for much of my life. Sure, there are some things I feel a modicum of confidence in — I’m good at math, I’m a decent runner, I bake a mean peanut butter cookie. I even used to do be able to do latte art in my barista days! 😉
But, seriously though, I spend so damn much of my mental energy truly and wholly doubting my abilities to achieve my bucket list dreams. “In my dreams I’d actually finally all the damn comics and stories I’ve started and I’d be a panelist at SDCC one day .. yeah right! I’m creative, but not THAT creative. I can draw, but not THAT well. I can write, but not THAT well. I might as well keep that as a pipe dream.” Or how about my pipe dream to be like Ree Drummond (the Pioneer Woman) one day and have a successful blog that actually makes me enough money to do it as a living. Who knows, maybe one day people would be clamoring for my recipes!
For so long I have pined for those things but deep down bought into the lie that they’re impossible for people like me. Little people who aren’t natural supermodels or billionaires or very well networked living in the middle of New York City or LA.
But really, who are ‘people like me,’ if not people who are also capable of becoming the Joss Whedons or Ree Drummonds of the world?
So, Trump won this thing. Trump, with his laundry list of objectionable quotes and actions and beliefs, HE won this thing. (Please don’t take this as a political statement – I was ardently anti-Hillary as well.)
My point is, seeing someone with such unfit character achieving his goal really lit my fire over night. Maybe this precipitous moment in our world’s history will at least have the small, humble effect in my little life that I will finally start believing I can be what I want to be when I grow up.
Until next time,
photo credit: https://lolzombie.com/12178/anyone-can-be-president/