You know the hundreds and thousands of blogs and articles and stories that 30-something women write about how they “followed their dream” back when they were a 20-something? And how somehow their hobby or wildest dream became famous and became their life and came true and “thank goodness I moved to NYC with no job, no apartment, just passion because where would I be today if I hadn’t taken that crappy internship or walked that one lady’s horrible dog and then was discovered by Amsale?” Or how a future novelist just sat down and wrote everyday and then bango, she was published? For twice the price her agent was hoping for? Or how the law student just up and quit and whammo, baked a brownie and suddenly owned the world’s most adorable baking boutique? Those stories? The ones that drive you utterly insane?
Ok, so there’s usually a paragraph in there about how hard they worked, how they almost gave up but soldiered on, sucked it up, put in ungodly hours and made it happen. But then, there’s also the most annoying stories where they essentially say “I wasn’t even trying for this perfect life haha! It kinda just happened heehee! I mean, I was doing such-and-such for fun and my mom loved it and then suddenly the whole world loved it, haha!” And then you know how it gets you feeling wow, yeah, ok, I could totally do that! I’ll just be kind of casual about this but really, I’ll really really want to make this work. There’s so many of these stories…this isn’t just one genius girl. These aren’t proteges, these are real women. Real women like me and I could then…by a little if A is like B, and B is like A, then A could be B sort of logic…be like them!!!
But then, you have the day where you start looking around. Maybe while you’re driving, maybe when you stop and take in a panorama view of the mall, or the park, or the suburban neighborhood you live in and you realize, “holy cow, there are so many MORE just normal, obscure, everyday people NOT having those stories happen to them.” I could go to about 100 blogs and read these same success stories and begin to reassure myself again that yes, this is totally me: THIS GIRL IS EXACTLY LIKE ME I CAN MAKE THAT HAPPEN TOO. But then, I could also drive on the freeway at 7:45 A.M. and see the 3000 people in just my little town driving to their normal jobs and begin to see that those stories, however mainstream they are beginning to become, are still the occasional rainbow trout in a river chock-full of catfish.
Of course, everyone wants to be the rainbow trout. And of course, in those millions of catfish the rainbow trouts stand out and you begin to think, wow! look at all these trout! But then, you look back at all the catfish and you look down at your own non-rainbowy skin and reality begins to break. It’s not really depressing, not at all. It’s more refreshing actually. Not depressing as in, “I can never become a rainbow trout if I’m a catfish,” because this isn’t really a lesson in animal kingdoms, its just a metaphor for people types. And the realization is not refreshing as in, “thank goodness, I’m only a catfish so I have an excuse to be mediocre,” but more like “I’m a rainbow trout not to a million people reading my blog (ha!), reading my novel, buying my latest gown, or snatching up my newest recipe, but to my own tiny, personal river of catfish.” And my catfish-to-trout transformation won’t be like the girl who went to New York with nothing and is now editing Marie Claire magazine. Instead, to some other person driving down the freeway at 7:45 A.M., I will probably look just like any other catfish, but to my own tiny, little stream of fish who know me, I will be a Rainbow trout and they will see the shimmer under the everyday skin…
…and THAT is so very freeing. Because maybe my dreams are actually extremely typical, and that is actually, completely, ok.
– ❤ A.