1st of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!  I hope this year is absolutely lovely for you, and that you are surrounded by love, laughter, and good health. As for me, I feel more hopeful than I did last New Year’s Day. More determined. 2016 was a better year than 2015, though it required inexorable perseverance and effort. It was worth it, I’m sure. I compare today to 365 days ago, and today is more peaceful. I learned so much this last year. Difficultly. But lessons that are learned the hard way are not easily forgotten.  🙂 Now, back to my story. 🙂 ….. Love, KaiCarra

Lessons that are learned the hard way are not easily forgotten. -KaiCarra

What did you want to be when you grew up? Do you remember?

I’ll let you in on a little secret…..I wanted to be a tight rope walker in a circus. OK, stop laughing. 🙂 OK, you can laugh a little.

But seriously, that’s what I wanted to be. I found an illustration in my kindergarten book, and gazed upon this lovely ballerina-esque woman, with a skirt that looked like bird plumage, and a feather boa streaming from her hair, balancing on a high wire (how thrilling! how dangerous! like flying!) with grace and skill as everyone looked up to her, in awe. I was enraptured.

We know more about our mission here on this Earth when we are children, than when we grow “up” to become adults. And no, I never became a circus tight rope walker. But I was onto something way back then, when I was five years old.

I knew I didn’t want to live a safe life. I knew I wanted to be someone who LIVED life, moment by moment. To live like no other person I had ever met in my small, young life. With grace and skill. Balancing the danger with the beauty. Balancing the threat of loss along with the risk of accomplishment (for both have their pros and cons). Balancing the admiration and horror of other people watching. But in the end,realizing none of their opinions mattered; only my concentration did, second by second. Me and the rope. Me and my balancing pole. Me and the other side that I was trying to reach, with one more step. And then, another.

Not long after, my Dad asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. He had good intentions. So… I told him! I was excited!

We cannot give to others what we do not have ourselves. -KaiCarra

But he said, “Well…..don’t you want to be somebody?” I felt confused. Wasn’t that an amazing “somebody” to be?! I couldn’t describe yet in my five-year-old words that I thought such a feat, tight rope walking, was formidable and thrilling, and definitely worth being “somebody” who did it. But Dad explained going to college was the way to go, and then I should become a doctor. We cannot give to others what we do not have ourselves. For my Dad, since he was a surgical equipment adviser, doctors, in his world were the ultimate. So he was really giving me a compliment when he suggested that ambition for me. And I took it that way. I was happy my Daddy was paying attention to me, and thought I could become such a “somebody.”

So for the next ten years, my aspiration for growing up was to become a veterinarian (I had to put a little spin on it and make the dream my own. Since I loved animals so much, then I thought it would be the best thing to be a doctor for them). Yes, I was going to be a veterinarian, who received her med degree from UC Davis, as that was the best school according to the vets who took care of  our cat, our dog, my sister’s guinea pig, my bunny, and my horse.

I was on track, until  my sophomore year in high school, while taking AP Embryology,  I had to dissect a fertilized chicken egg 3 days before it was born. That was it. I was horrified. That day in class erased all the wonderful things I had learned thus far–the imprinting experiment (out of my joy from the experience, I brought home just-born chicks to my sister, and it was a blast having our two peeps follow us all over the house! To this day, when I finally buy my farmette, she and I have planned to have exactly six hens for laying eggs-not eating-and Cheryl wants to name them after King Henry VIII’s wives. LOL. We also have a dark sense of humor.)  and injecting food dye just inside the egg membrane so the little chicks were born in shades of blue, pink or green.

But that day, happiness evaporated. Paralyzing dismay ensued.

I intended to save animals’ lives, not deliberately kill them!

My teacher explained that in order for me to study veterinary medicine, I would have to be prepared to dissect cadavers of many animals to learn about them, before I could ever think of saving them. My vet for my horse echoed the same logic. But I just couldn’t do it. At that age, I could not justify being party to having animals killed, let alone my killing them, for the sake of knowledge. As much as I valued knowledge, I valued animals more. My ambitions of becoming a vet were forever over.

Over the ensuing years, I felt lost. I went through several ambitions: writer (to which I was told writers live through rose-colored glasses, as if that were a bad thing), an actress, an opera singer, a broadcasting journalist, to finally a psychologist. There was hope for my becoming a doctor again. My Dad smiled. As for me, I just wanted to try to figure some of my past out, and be able to understand people better- because I felt equally lost in those endeavors.

It was a long haul. I was in college for nine years before I graduated, since I worked full-time to support myself. But looking back, those were some of my happiest years. I was learning what I WANTED to learn. Eventually, I was so exhausted by the time I graduated, from full-time work and part-time study for nine years, that I decided to take a break before applying to grad school… but truly, I loved every bit of it.

After a stay in France that further inspired me, I went to work in corporate in the US, and subsequently became lost again. I never did come back from “my break”… until just one year ago, and when I did return to school, it was for something completely different.

I have too strong of an independent nature, and my mind works too fast working out new ways of doing the same old thing, to be cooped up in an office for 9-10 hours a day. I was bored to tears. Literally. I worked at my keyboard, facing my monitor and a cubicle corner, hiding so as not for anyone to see me, quietly crying. I hated the office politics, the high school insecurities of others that translated to overcompensating one-up-manship, and the feeling that despite my understanding others, I was continued to be perceived as a threat, to be contained.

But some members of my family assured me this was the way to go. Um…no. It was their way to go. Again, best of intentions. But I realized on an even deeper level, that  people can only give what they themselves have from their own sphere of experience. It is a rare person who can envision another’s path, without having been there, themselves.

The experts say that spring flowers need the winter to grow. It is during that time that the cold forces the little bulbs to dig down deep, and grow their roots with strong enough anchors, in order to withstand the spring winds that will come when they blossom. -KaiCarra

Much of my family is risk-aversive. In that context, I am an anomaly, and have felt that way through much of my life. I am a risk-taker. I don’t take stupid risks, but well-thought-out ones. Still, I do take them. And some of my risks have been abysmal failures. And some of them turn out to be pretty amazing successes.  But I feel I must take the risks, after assessing their possible rewards versus their possible dead-ends. I need to learn, I need to experiment, I need to stretch myself. Others may need security more. And it isn’t that one way has to be mutually exclusive of the other. It is possible to be a risk-taker and have a level of security. But the price is high and few people are willing to pay it.

The experts say that spring flowers need the winter to grow. It is during that time that the cold forces the little bulbs to dig down deep, and grow their roots with strong enough anchors, in order to withstand the spring winds that will come when they blossom.In their DNA, they are destined to be a unique kind of flower. But in order to become what they were designed for, they need the hardship that other flowers would not dare attempt to endure.

To live a dream in order to make it a reality, it takes a strength that only other visionaries or survivors of a tragedy, have. The world will do everything it can to shout anyone down, who is different. What is different is to be feared. What is not to be understood, is to be threatening, and must be made to be unthreatening, in order for others who do not share the gift of vision to continue “safely” in their world. And some of that non-support and judgment will come from those closest to us. It’s dizzying how the ones who love us the most, can be the most afraid of us. And yet it is often so.

In order to live their dream, a person has to have unrelenting belief or conviction in themselves and their mission. They have to have enough self-integrity to not defend, but rather continue to act upon the actions needed to continue on their quest, when the world shouts at them to stay in a box, or do it their way. They have to know when to listen to others’ wisdom, and when to filter out perception based on others’ projected fears.  And they have to have courage, to leave the shore, and sail out upon the unknown sea with only a bold idea, a map, a compass, and the knowledge to use them, even when the storms come up and the masts of the ship threaten to break from the deluge of surprisingly huge waves.

That’s what I’ve learned anyway.

We know more of who we are when we are children, than we do when we are adults. And it’s an amazing, but difficult journey to come home, back to ourselves. -KaiCarra

I read somewhere that perhaps success isn’t necessarily about “becoming someone”, but more about “un-becoming” the layers of ourselves that are not who we truly are.

Yes. I believe that. We know more of who we are when we are children, than we do when we are adults. And it’s an amazing, but difficult journey to come home, back to ourselves.

No, I will not be running off and joining a circus. But I will not live a safe life, for that kind of life is no life to me at all. I will become. I will live. I will take the chances needed, armed with all the knowledge I can amass, and then, GO. Jump. Skip. Dance. Trudge. Swim. Hobble. Walk. Each Step. Toward My Goal.

In the end, there are no guarantees. I know that. And I have to tell you that sometimes, living this way, IS scary, and I’m certainly no stranger to self-doubt. Far from it. But I accept those are the prices I need to pay. I have to pay the price in view of the alternative– if I give up, I won’t ever know…what was possible.

I won’t sit at my keyboard, quietly crying, wondering where my life went.

I must LIVE it. As my own.

So….what did YOU want to be when you grew up? Please share in comments with me. I’d love to know! ❤

-KaiCarra

For further inspiration, watch this video. It’s awesome!

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