I did not realize it at the time but I had broken right through a societal construct. I was a rebellious, non-conformist early on in my life. As a child, I found myself always choosing what was right for me. I wanted to play football in dresses only after being told girls didn’t play sports. I wanted to wear clothes that didn’t match even when others told me they should. I wanted to stay in and create or use my imagination to turn my reality into my deepest desires all summer while other kids my age were outside getting dirty. I had a fire in me always fueling to do what made my soul sing.
I always knew what would and would not work for me and dealing with so much emotional weight at young age, with no idea whatsoever how to process it, my sass and fire was almost always my defense mechanism. So when my mother told me I couldn’t live away from home to attend a college I desperately wanted to and study fashion, I was a mix of all of these emotions. I felt that she was singlehandedly robbing me of my dream. We probably didn't have the money, actually, I know we didn't but I never saw it that way. I was just furious at the time. My options were to attend a community college and that wasn’t in my plan. I refused to show how much the decision hurt me, my pride wouldn’t allow. I chose to rebel instead.
My time in college taught me one thing, it wasn’t for me. I was forcing myself into the space of complete discontentment. I suffered in that unhappiness far longer than I should have because society determined it was what I needed to make something of myself. I was conforming and I didn’t like it. It did not feel good to me on a soul level. I knew I wanted more and most importantly, I knew I wanted to do what made me happy. The day I chose to drop out of college nearly two years in was a defining moment for me. It was the moment I chose to create the path I wanted. I didn’t want to live for others. I’m a learner on every level but I came to grips that school wasn’t for me. As a creative, sitting in a classroom always felt like a prison. My mind runs too ramped for it.
But as I began to navigate on this journey, I was forced to question my decision. It had become something I would never speak about out of shame. I was embarrassed that I had chosen to give up, but at the time not seeing my choice as a blessing in disguise. I was insecure about it. And until recently, it was a part of my story I had willingly left out. Several years into my journey, before I had my current job, well before my website was poppin’, I was job hunting. I was very candid with a man who was interviewing me. I told him I didn't complete college but knew I was the right fit for the role, I had all the skills it required and his response to me was, “I don’t think this job is for you. But what I do want you to consider is returning back to school. Somewhere along the line, when you’re married and have a family, you’ll want to be more for your husband and child. Not having a degree will impact you in the long run." I was crushed hearing him say this.
My life had been summed up to me not being of value due to the accreditation I lacked. I felt like I was told the only way me being of value to my man and future children I’ll birth is have a degree. Don't get me wrong, I applauded those who have completed college, but am I wrong for feeling as if there was more than one way to do life? That conversation left me depressed for years. I kept trying to return to school but God had shut that door. I thought returning would make up for how shitty I felt. For once, this insecurity was eating me alive and eating away at me like parasites to flesh. I’ve dated & been in committed relationships with the most highly educated men. All of my best friends met in college. It was something that always made me feel as if I didn’t belong.
Fast forward, I had a chance to share with one of my favorite blogs, Refinery29 on why I no longer lived in this space of regret for my choices. This feature was like a shedding of a skin. The ultimate realization that when I felt I didn’t level up or when the world tried to box me in, my inner non-conformist always proved that doing things my way would serve me best in the long run. I’m in this space of creating a foundation for myself by sharing my gifts with the world. I never thought it would all get me this far, but I know through God’s grace I have so much further to go. I spent years of my life feeling as if I had done it all wrong. I allowed people’s opinions to shape & mold me. The moral of my story is, don't let society convince you what's right. Don't let the world tell you how tf you should live. Don't be so consumed with your insecurities that you refuse to see how your choices to choose you is creating a lane for you to live your way on your terms.
I type this and I hear "Jay-z's voice in my head, "I did it my way." I have let go of all the shit I thought defined me, including letting go of trying to avoid saying shit all of the time. I've let go of feeling insecure about not living a certain way or achieving certain things and allowing the world to tell me my worth or significance depended on accomplishing them. In fact, I am totally confident that I will get to where it is that I desire to go regardless. My journey is one that is unique and one that it is my own.I give thanks to the Universe for effortlessly guiding me in a direction that may seem odd to the world, but feels good for me on a soul level. Dropping out of college never defined me, but it most certainly was the very reason I chose to chase what I am truly passionate about. Follow your dreams regardless of what the road looks like.