I was watching Jane the Virgin a few weeks ago and there was a scene in which Jane remembers the conversation she had with her beau Rafael when they first met. Rafael asks Jane about her aspirations. Instead of replying with an occupation, Jane smiles and utters a question that we all ask ourselves when faced with life decisions: “Am I being practical or brave? ” She ends up explaining both of her dreams; a practical goal to become a teacher and a lofty aspiration to become a writer.
That moment was my life.
For most of my college career, I pursued practicality. I quit being involved in theatre my junior year because I let fear get the best of me. I grew tired of the comments, warnings, and looks people would give me for majoring in Theatre. And the advice from my relatives when I told them that I wanted to be a writer wasn’t exactly positive. Achieving a career as teacher seemed like a straight shot to success.
I’d like to say I have no regrets but I know now that should have been steadfast in pursuing my passion throughout college. It wasn’t until my last semester that I began to be unapologetic and real about what I wanted to do. While it’s never too late, I could have been so much farther along in my writing career if I had committed wholeheartedly.
This is my challenge to you.
Be brave. I’m not telling you to move to Panama without a dime to your name. Or quit your day job. I’m just saying don’t let five years pass without going steady on your dream.
I believe that we live in a time of bravery. We are channeling the fearlessness of our ancestors. The strength of our mothers who sacrificed for our success. The commitment of our fathers who lift us up. We want the picket fence, the nice house and the booming career but we realize that there are more important things like changing the world, shining the Creator’s light, eradicating diseases, creating art for the masses and encouraging the next generation to dream.
People tell us to live by the golden rule and get a job, get married and build up a retirement fund. Yes, we want to do those things but we want so much more. Being brave means going beyond our comfort zone to use the gift that was given to us. For me, that is writing. For you, that may be medicine or dance but whatever it is, figure out a way to use it to make a paycheck and a difference.
Don’t be afraid.
Or better yet, don’t let fear stop you from trying.
To be practical or brave, they ask.
I choose bravery. I choose to thrive, live a vibrant life and help others to do the same. I stir away from practically because it is the fastest road to a mediocre existence. I choose to dream and plan. And I am open to the magnificent splendor that the Creator has for me.
© BLACK GIRL, LATIN WORLD 2015