I was five, all I wanted to be was a firefighter. Just the idea of marching through burning houses as I saved the lives of others left me stunned. I would be a hero.
But when I struggled to move on the monkey bars and all the other kids began to beat me in the school yard races, I realized I wasn't strong enough to be a firefighter. I would never be strong enough to be a firefighter.
When I was ten, I announced to a classroom of my peers that I was going to become a veterinarian.
I proudly told my teachers that I was going to save the lives of all animals I came across, that no dog or cat would ever die in my presence.
But as the bright red F's began to stain my papers and my teachers told my parents I would need extra help,I knew I wouldn't make it as a vet. I just wasn't smart enough.
As I transitioned into high school and my words began to find their way onto the page, I decided I would be a writer.
I was going to make stories that would make others forget the world for a while. Stories that would spark imaginations and possibilities.
But then I learned that words weren’t as easy to put on paper as they were to read, and my thoughts felt unoriginal, my stories just copy of what others had already done. I was too plain to be a writer.
Now I stand on the cusp of adulthood, midway between child and the rest of my life. I watch as my peers plan out their career paths and all I can do is stare.
Sometimes they ask me what I will do when I grow up.
If I'll grow up.
All I do is smile,
"I don't know,"
And maybe I never will.
Because I am not strong enough to fight a fire, smart enough to save a life, or even creative enough to write a story.
The only thing I can be, is brave enough to try.
"I try to examine the mixed emotions I have with growing up, from the anxiety I have to how words seem to only to come when hurting." --Paige Rhoads from Raymore-Peculiar High School