The Impending Doom of Being a Nobody
I would walk down the red carpet of the Oscars, the flashes of cameras twinkling like fireflies as I waltzed in my long silk gown. My eyes would sparkle as adoring fans would grapple just to get a glimpse of my smile. I would graciously wave, as I entered the building to accept an award for the blockbuster film I had starred in. I would humbly accept and give a speech explaining how this had always been my dream.
As a child, I fantasized about becoming a famous actress. I attended a multitude of theatre schools and acting classes, believing that this was the beginning of a marvellous and lucrative career for me. I felt completely and utterly in my heart, that this was the only possible path on the map of my life
I remember thinking that my life would not be worth a penny if I wasn't famous. I looked at ordinary adults around me in my small hometown and wondered how the cashier in the supermarket could feel content with their humdrum life. I thought no way would that be me, I would never settle for monotony- after all, I would be famous.
As I grew older, that pipedream of fame and fortune began to diminish and slip through my fingers like sand. The illusion that I once entertained, began to fade when I took off those rose-tinted glasses of naivety.
I was sixteen and had opted to take A-Level drama (for those non-UK folks, A-levels are the exams you take at the end of school before university). The first day in my drama class, the teacher asked us to pretend we were monkeys searching for bananas. I had spent years in theatre schools, studying and reciting Shakespeare. I was not about to stoop to the level of childish roleplay. After the class, I went to the front desk and asked to drop the class. That day, my dreams of being an actress were crushed.
I had no clue what I wanted to do, or who I wanted to be and spent the next few years stumbling blindly through education and university. I was frantically searching for who I wanted to be, desperately clinging on to that dream of being wildly successful.
I recently finished university and still not knowing what I wanted to be, or where I would end up in life, I chose to study a master’s degree. Making this decision prolonged that in-between stage, that period in which I could still be deciding who I was. I was not ready to accept the finality of being a graduate and having the vast expanse of choice in front of me. Truthfully, I was not ready to fall headfirst into a job where I felt like a nobody.
Whilst I no longer feel like I need to be a celebrity to feel worthy, I am still slowly coming to terms with the fact I might never be exceptional.
When you ask a child what they want to be when they grow up, they rarely say accountant or insurance broker, they wish to be firefighters, astronauts, princesses. They want to be a hero, someone noteworthy that will make a difference to the world. What they don't realise, is the adults around them, that they perceive to be leading boring lives, are making small differences to the world in their own way.
So at what point do we drop our childhood dreams of being a superhero, and accept that our path will lead us in a slightly more humble direction?
For some people, that acceptance may never come. I am in my twenties and I am still not ready to accept that my life may end up being rather unassuming and simple. I am not ready to drive my ten-year-old car to a mundane office job, making lifeless conversation with my equally miserable colleagues who once had dreams of changing the world.
I still have the ability to become noteworthy, bigger miracles have happened, yet that little voice of realism inside my head keeps chipping in saying ‘hey kid, that won’t ever happen’.
My dream path has now switched from multi-award-winning, glamorous actress, to successful writer. My aspiration may be slightly more modest, yet it is still a dream. In an ideal world, I will graduate from my master’s degree and have the likes of The New Yorker or the Guardian beg for me to write for them. I am still that child striving for excellence.
However much I still want to be someone brilliant, my adult mind is aware that there are more important desires to strive for, such as love, the beautiful joy of motherhood and true happiness.
Despite not achieving your hope of becoming a detective, or veterinarian, you may have become a superhero of a more ordinary kind: a parent, a supportive friend, a carer. Your life may not carry the glitz and glamour that you once perceived it would, however, being happy, healthy and loved can carry such significance in leading a good life.
I might not be able to completely let go of that childish airy hope of being notable, but I don't have to. I believe that my slightly out of reach aspirations have aided my successes along the way. I dared myself to apply for a master’s degree at the University of Cambridge, one of the most prestigious institutions in the world. They did not express it, but I could tell that others around me thought this was a flight of fancy, an unattainable desire. The fact I dared to strive for something seemingly inaccessible changed my life- I got accepted.
My childhood habit of dreaming big has helped me land my most successful achievement so far. If I continue to dream bigger, reach higher and endeavour for more, who knows what I may achieve?
I may not be a princess, I certainly have not walked on the moon and I probably never will, but I do still have the possibility to be brilliant. I am not quite ready to give up my dream of changing the world quite yet, maybe later in life I will wake up and learn to be more pragmatic.