Good afternoon, Cyberspace,
Four years ago, back when I was but a smol bean beginning high school, graduation was just a distant fantasy in the blip of a horizon that was my future. It was a dream. A nightmare. A complex idea that I did not know how to comprehend.
Graduation was, to me, the end of my existence. It was the day when everything ended.
It was the day that I would die.
But alas, that distant haze of a day has come and gone, passed within my grasp in the blink of an eye.
And I am still alive.
But this Tuesday–this particular Tuesday in September, in fact– is a day that will always remind me of my schooling days. This was the day that we always–always always always–went back to school. And because of that, The Day After Labor Day will forever and always hold a very special place in my heart.
To me, this is more than just a day. It is a day that has helped shape my entire existence.
And this will be the very first year that I will not be attending school on it.
But I would still like to commemorate this most memorable day, and since Fate has smiled upon me with his gummy teeth, The Day After Labor Day is and will always be on a Tuesday.
Which is just pure luck, if you ask me.
So today I would like to delve deeper into my fear of Life After Graduation. Today I will share with you just how much I have learned from being a Freshly Graduated Asparagus.
Because though life in school may now be behind me, I am still learning. I am still living.
And I am still discovering that everything people tell you about graduation is most certainly a lie.
— 6 Things I Have Learned From Being A Freshly Graduated Asparagus —
— Number One – I Am Not An Adult —
If I could have a freshly stabbed corpse every time someone called me an adult when I was 17, I would be the proud owner of my very own morgue.
and also extremely scarred because that is just wrong, sir
See, the world has this beautiful way of taking its young children and thrusting them headfirst over the ledge labeled “ADULT” long before they’ve actually reached adulthood. It enjoys seeing us flail akimbo through the air as we try to avoid crashing into the pit of spikes awaiting us at the bottom of adulthood’s gaping maw.
It enjoys watching us suffer.
For me, it all began when I was preparing to graduate from high-school.
When I was but the tender age of 17-going-on-18, I was told left and right that I was an adult, that 18 was apparently the age when every single revelation of adulthood would miraculously fall upon thine shoulders by the grace of the seven winds.
And when I chose to rebuttal with, “Yes, well, I’m never going to be an adult, sir, because obviously ‘adults’ are nothing more than a conspiracy set up by the government to convince the public that the human race isn’t just a bunch of gangly introverted teenagers trapped within aging bodies trying to navigate the horrors of reality”, I was ignored.
And why was I ignored? Because obviously I was an ignorant swine who knew nothing of the complexities of the “adulting” world.
But here’s the thing, peeps; despite the fact that I ripped the spine straight out of Peter Pan’s living corpse and ate a gallon of pixie dust so that I could fly off to Neverland so as to never age a single day, I am still not an adult.
I am a teenager. A kid. Someone who is still learning how to adjust to the human life
after possessing an alien body for the past 3992 years.
So please do not look at me and tell me that I am an adult because I just graduated high-school. If I have to listen to the “You’re An Adult” speech one more time, I will probably have no choice but to stab you with my rusted pitchfork and haul you off to my Morgue of crusty skeletons.
Society really needs to stop glorifying how it’s “cool” to act older than you really are.
Please. It’s really just annoying.
Which leads me to–
— Number Two – I Do Not
Need To Know My Entire Future —
Ah, yes. Here we have yet another lie that fills the minds of young, impressionable children.
And also the lips of the elderly.
If you have just graduated high-school–like Yours Truly–then I am quite certain that you are already well-acquainted with this particular question. But for those of you who might still have the tiniest shred of innocence left within your smol souls, allow me to introduce you to The Question.
(and no. I do not mean the whole marriage proposal shenanigan in which prince charming throws a ring so sharp it could slice through bone at your face and screams, “WILL YOU MARRY ME?” through his soggy tears. that is a completely different burrito altogether. I mean THE QUESTION. The question that every single mortal hears upon the day they graduate.)
“So…what are you going to do for the rest of your feeble existence???”
And while this might not be the exact way they phrase it, you can be sure that this is precisely what your peers are thinking.
Because every single high-school graduate is supposed to have a complex, detailed map of the entire course of their future. They know where they’re going to be when they’re 32; know what their third-born son’s middle name will be; know when, why, where, and how they’re going to meet and marry their pre-destined soulmate; and have decided with much more consideration than needed the exact words to be etched upon their gravestone.
High-school graduates also know when the sun will implode and the stars will crumble into the ocean. And of course we know when the apocalypse is going to happen. And don’t forget our vast knowledge of knowing the precise date and time that Elijah will come riding on the clouds.
Because obviously every single high-school graduate takes a trip into the Mahamahama mountains to visit The Seer on the day of their graduation. It is a common practice in America. We know everything. We see everything.
We are the future.
— Number Three – Real Life Is An Adventure —
There is a phrase that I’ve heard many a time in my smol spattering of years that, for as long as I can remember, I have hated with a severe and utter passion:
Bloom where you’re planted.
And before you go and slap me with your rusted pitchforks and tell me that, “This is a beautiful saying, you uncultured swine! How dare you!!”, allow me to explain myself.
I am an adventurer. I love adventure. I live for adventure. My entire existence revolves around thrilling journeys and quests through fantastical lands and realms and kingdoms filled with danger and mystery and endless possibilities.
To anyone who knows me, this is really not that surprising. It is my love of adventure that drives me to devour every single story that comes within arm’s reach, and has also aided in my love of story-telling.
It is because of my passion for adventure that I am a writer.
So when I hear people telling me to “bloom where I’m planted“, my very first instinct is to seize up into a coiled knot whilst inwardly screaming like a pterodactyl hatchling for the remainder of eternity.
Because I have been planted in a very small, very boring town.
And this terrifies me, Cyberspace.
As a person who craves adventure, it’s hard for me to accept the fact that real life–life outside of dragons and gnomes and elves and magical islands–is an adventure all in itself. Especially if my ‘reality’ takes place in a tiny little town off the edge of nowhere.
It has taken me a long time–all of high-school and all the years before, in fact–but I have finally come to terms with this deep-seated truth. Reality is just as much of an adventure as fiction. It is just as thrilling and amazing. Just as terrifying. Just as magical.
You just have to know where to look.
— Number Four – We Are Forced To Quit Learning at The Height of Our Curiosity —
For those of you who don’t already know this–I am severely bummed that I’m no longer in school.
And why is this, you might ask? The answer is quite simple.
After 12 years of consistent learning, I have finally begun to have a passion for it.
When I was younger, I couldn’t care less if I knew the names of the constellations or the microscopic cells that made up my body. History was just another set of strange names and dates that I had to memorize so that I could spew the answers back out at a later time. And don’t even get me started on math.
But now that I’m graduated…I wish I could re-learn these things. I wish I could name every single bone in my body and know how to stop a human heart without it looking like murder
(wait). I wish I could tell you the names of all the constellations, and point them out to you in a diamond encrusted sky. I wish I could know and understand all of the things that I have learned over the years, because back when I was still in school, I took everything I was learning for granted.
Of course, I still know things. I know math and history and science and geography
(barely) and all of the things we are taught growing up. If I didn’t know these things, I’d probably just be a potato who sat around all day watching Doctor Who. (actually, I am just a potato who sits around all day watching Doctor Who, but THAT IS BESIDE THE POINT, SIR)
But I want to know more. I want to expand deeper into the fibers of these subjects. I want to learn about the stars and the oceans and the complex anatomy of the human species.
Particularly the festering process of wounds.
I want to expand my knowledge, but I have been cut off from the schooling system the minute my passion for learning has begun.
And that is just plain sad.
— Number Five – College Is An Option, Not An Obligation —
Now, of course there are going to be those of you who say, “But, Kenzie! Couldn’t you just go to college??? Then you could learn all you want to your heart’s content!”
And while that seems like a very viable option, my dear crumb, alas–I cannot.
Actually, let me rephrase that really quick:
*entire universe gasps in shock*
Okay, okay. So maybe this decision is a bit unconventional.
And by unconventional I mean completely detested by every single man, woman, and blankie-wielding child.
But while I may be in the minority with this choice, I believe that I am making the right one.
What I want to do with my life does not require going to a college and earning a degree. In fact, there is no college degree in existence that can help me achieve the things I want to achieve on this earth. So for me, college is nothing more than an unnecessary obstacle on the already spiny path to my future career.
I want to be a writer. (mind=blown) I want to create worlds in my head and spill them out onto the page. And I’m sorry, but no college course can teach me how to do this. They can teach me sentence structure, obviously, and how to create the perfectly proportioned sentence. They might even throw a prompt at my face and have me write a creative short based upon it, which they will then pick apart with a red pen because their opinion obviously reigns supreme over every mortal man.
But can they teach me how to create Gumphy the Sloth Bear and his magical friend, Mr. Carcass, or stuff my head full of their
slightly smelly adventures through the Mystical Wood on a journey to find Mr. Carcass’s murderer? Can they hand me my own personal writing voice on a silver platter, along with a degree in creative writing that will automatically get me published?
I don’t think so.
Maybe I’m just naïve, but for me, I believe that becoming a writer is something that happens through practice, not through classes or crash courses or even blog posts.
And that’s not to say that these things are not helpful! They most definitely are. But do you need them to become a writer? Are they a necessity?
Everything creative comes through practice. Through experimentation. A writer finds their voice by splattering a page with words and seeing how they fit. They write a page, blast it apart with a stick of dynamite, and try again. They test different word choices, different textures and sounds, until suddenly–almost as if by magic–their own unique voice materializes before their very fingertips.
No college degree is going to automatically bestow upon you the title of “writer”. You are made a writer by writing. Nothing more, nothing less.
And what’s more, no college degree is going to get you published, either. You are not automatically assured of a publishing deal by completing four years of college.
You get published by writing a book.
However, I am not in any way saying this to throw the entirety of college out into the pot-hole-filled street and trample it with a semi truck. For some of you–dare I say it, most of you–college is a very, very good thing. In fact, in some cases it is even a necessity, depending on the career choice you are pursuing.
But I think something that needs to be better understood is that college is an option, and not an obligation. People should not be forced to go to college, simply because it is COLLEGE!!!!!!. (cue the flashing lights and screaming fans)
I believe that a lot of young mortals are roped into going to college loooooong before they even know what they want to do with their lives, simply because it’s the cultural norm.
And–without even considering the fact that this leads to tremendous, essentially meaningless debt–this is really, really sad. Because those four years spent earning a degree that you’re never going to use are four years that could have been spent earning a degree towards something you were truly passionate about, if only you had stopped a moment to discover what that really was.
— Number Six – The Life You Live Is Uniquely Your Own —
But maybe you–like me–really do already know what you’re passionate about. Maybe you’ve already discovered which path you want to forge your way through and are ready to take that plunge.
And while it might seem like we’re all just a bunch of ants scurrying down pre-formed tunnels towards death, we are so, so much more than that.
There are so many different options out there. So many different lives, so many different futures, so many different paths to take.
Just as each and every person on this planet is 100% unique, each and every path is wholly unique, as well. There are no pre-formed guidelines. No set road towards our goals.
We are all bushwhackers, hacking and slicing our own way through the brush that is life.
There is only one me on this planet, and there is only one you. So don’t let anyone else dictate who you are or where you go, whether you attend college or let stories sweep you away to far away lands, whether you dye your hair bubblegum pink or grow it long like Rapunzel. Only one individual has seen the world through your eyes. Only one person can decide where your heart will take you.
So you do you. I’ll do me. And together, perhaps we can carve our own unique signatures into this wild, untamed world.
And that’s all I’ve got for today, folks! What do you think? Today’s smudge took a bit more of a serious turn than I had anticipated… #OOPS. Hopefully you still enjoyed it? Ah?? AH????
Anyway, what did you guys think? Are you a freshly graduated asparagus, or have you just gone back to the nit and grind of the school world? Do you enjoy learning, or are you counting down the days until you can be a potato? What is your dream career? Will YOU be attending college? And most importantly–Mohawks or afros?
*flings cookies in the air and disappears*