HiiiiiYAH! Searching for Breadcrumbs

A Reflection from: Part of the quest to not be a lazy P.O.S.

The gymnasium was full, bleachers packed tight, as were chairs placed in front of the stage. Not a huge stage, not a huge gymnasium, and maybe not as full as it felt to the graduating class of kindergarten, but more full than an adult would think it would be. Teachers, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, various family friends, whomever made up each student’s particular home life, filled the chairs, and other grades sat in the bleachers, bored with the youngest class’s graduation, but grateful to be out of class, and for the early release everyone would have that day.

Yes, this was the type of day where you could feel, taste, hear, even touch summer, but the school schedule kept students from playing. The end of the year had finally come, and with it, the kindergarten graduation ceremony of the small primary school. Some future third graders realized this would be their last time in the gymnasium, others reminded them that they would have siblings, and it was too close to summer to get sad.

The graduating classes sat in small chairs backstage, waiting with excitement for the ceremony to begin, and for them to each be called on stage, to be handed a diploma, and to tell the world, or at least the gymnasium of people, what they wanted to be when they grew up.

Finally, the principle gained control of the room, and families and friends quieted down to watch the ceremony. The principle didn’t bother asking everyone to hold applause till the end, and instead asked that everyone cheer for everyone, which to this day, I still find to be a very cool thing to do.

Side Tangent  (Sure, your hands might hurt, from all that clapping, but I watched a video of my “step” sister walking the stage of her HS Graduation with (what sounded like) only her mother, sister, and my biological father, cheering. I don’t care that my biological dad gave me up for adoption and less than two years later adopted his wife’s kid, it wasn’t her fault, and that child deserved people cheering for her when she graduated high school. Lots of people. Everyone does. One day I’ll blog on that, my feelings about my biological dad and his kids, but for the moment, let’s just say that even though I am forever going to be jealous of that girl, I wish with all my heart I could go back in time, somehow be at her graduation, and cheer my head off for Lacey because when I saw that video and heard maybe four people cheer for her (she didn’t have a lot of friends I guess), it broke my damn heart. Anyways, I digress)

Back to the gymnasium of students who would all get applause.

The principle called up each of the teachers to help with the ceremony, and names were slowly called.

Brittney Abernathy- Astronaut

Mark Burcenaut- Teacher

Kyle Gennerton- Fire fighter

Sarah James- First Female President

So on and so forth, names were called. The first class finished, the second, the third, until finally the last of the kindergarten classes were called onstage.

“Johnathon Brunner” The teacher called. They had urged us all to pick careers we found fun, enjoyable, exciting, but nudged us towards things we would be better at. Jonathon took this to mean “Professional Wrestler” but after so many of the same “Fire fighter, Teacher, Police officer” answers, I was glad for a class mate to pick something fun. Plus, he would have been a good wrestler.

Lizzie Boutier quietly said into the microphone that she wanted to be “A writer” and I silently cheered. Lizzie wrote little short stories all the time that we all loved, so this choice seemed cool.

Finally, they called my name. I walked proudly to the center of the stage, and proudly declared my current thought for my future career.

                “I’m going to be a NINJA!” I declared before chopping the air, and kicking my leg out in front of me: “hiiiiYAH!” I yelled. In the back of the gymnasium, my family roared with laughter, my Uncle Chris screamed out “That’s my niece!” And the whole family seemed proud of my tenacity. My grandparents laughed so hard they were holding each other, howling with pride and laughter all while cheering. My mom was amused, hell, other parents even seemed impressed and cheered loudly.

I don’t take karate, nor am I a particularly violent person, only ever getting into fights if a bully was bothering someone. Why did I say Ninja? Well, at the time I couldn’t tell you what I was thinking, other than I was told I can do ANYTHING and Ninja’s use their size. I am a small person, so being a ninja could work. Plus I had learned how to sneak around my family’s old home with its ancient creaky floorboards, so maybe I did have a skill for being a ninja, but, I had no reason to even think of this, other than pure imagination. My grandparents encouraged my imagination, in fact, this is one of their favorite stories of me as a kid, (and the one about me trying to find Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest, but that will be in a blog about the musical Robin Hood we are writing) and in school, in the early years of the 90s, my school had a few teachers that encouraged it. So, I had decided to say I wanted to be a ninja.

Of course, I am writing this after work one day, and my day job is NOT a ninja.

I am a damn accountant. Sure, I write, but currently, what pays the bills, is a job I literally swore I would never do: accounting. I mean, really, if you had a TARDIS, and were back in time, this is the job I would have told you I wouldn’t be doing in the future.

This blog entry is a part of a series in which I discover exactly what I will be doing in my life, because I am making changes to see changes, but I feel a crucial step is analyzing how one gets from ninja, to accountant, so I can get back to the little five year old girl who dared to dream.

It’s not like it happened all at once. No one told me my dream of being a ninja was silly. No one had to. By the next year, I had moved to another idea, I think I actually decided to be a modern Robin Hood, for the better part of first grade, but I wanted to be a thriller zombie, as a side hustle in the evening, as I recall.  By third grade, I had changed my mind a few times, and then I had a beautifully stupid moment in which I was captivated by politics. Then I decided I wanted to be in politics.

That terrible idea lasted longer than it needed to, probably because it was considered a smart, sensible career. Other smart, sensible, careers were considered, plenty of decent jobs done, more than a few I parted with on good terms.

The only jobs that didn’t make me actively hate my life were jobs where I did things I liked while also having time for my creative and extracurricular activities. I worked at Half Price Books for a while, and loved working there. (Okay, minus the annoying customers who have no place in a book store, I loved it) I worked as a cannabis activist for a good while, and I loved that. Most of the creative pursuits were built right into that.  I grew weed for my grandfather, which while it was illegal back then, helped me learn SO much. (Major shout out to one of my personal heroes, Todd McCormick, for all his information in his books, which helped me do my early attempts at breeding which yielded stuff that worked for my grandfather.)

So, let’s look at all these details that led to the happy life. Books. Writing. Occasional video games in my spare time. Weed. Not quite a ninja, although the weed growing involved being sneaky. The book store involved hiding from customers sometimes. (Don’t judge me, one person asked me to help them find “To Kill a Caged Bird” and insisted it was in the hunting section, some days, you need to hide from people.)

So, maybe young me wasn’t totally off with my other job ideas either. Even politics made sense. I was first interested in how an entire country could pick one person to rule them when my own family could never agree on dinner, and that interest led to me push for cannabis legalization. Robin Hood made more sense, growing weed pretty openly in the woods to avoid detection from police. Being at high risk for felony, but doing it for the greater good.

I read lots of books, and I wrote a lot then too, to prep for being a writer. I didn’t have it all figured out, and I didn’t have the discipline or drive I have now, but, in my time on this planet,  I have left breadcrumbs of what I should do with my life, and my family has tried to as well.

Sure, my mom has never been happier with me than when I’ve had this awful, terribly boring, job, because this is a stable career, but hey, I think having my mom happy in something am doing means I am that much closer to making a big artistic move and pissing her off again. Even my mother can’t want to be proud of me that long, right? Nah. My younger sister probably wants back in the spotlight. I joke, (mostly) but, truth be told, even my mother has left breadcrumbs of what kind of person I could be. She urges me to be creative, to do my crafting, etc. My grandfather pushes me more than nearly anyone, always making sure I am writing. “Are you getting it all down?” He will ask me when I talk to him about my life.

I imagine he will be pretty happy with this blog, although he will probably want it to make me money pretty soon, because he doesn’t quite get how the internet works. Grandfathers always value their granddaughters words more than most people, so please don’t feel pressure to share my blog with your friends to make my grandfather happy, by any means. I don’t want you to feel pressured.

But with all these breadcrumbs of who we want to be, the world leaves giant billboards encouraging you to be who they want you to be- to get boring jobs, and settle. Go to college, get a good job, get married, have kids…

LOOK! College isn’t for everyone. Just like hard work isn’t for everyone. But one doesn’t excuse the other either, you generally need to do at least one of them.

Traditional good jobs suck. Tattoo artists can make more than an accountant any day of the week, if they have enough clients. So, you don’t need a boring stable job to make money.

So why get a boring job? Because you are told that is what you do, same as college. A “nice home” for some isn’t nice to others. Some people don’t WANT the suburbs, and some people don’t WANT a nice luxury apartment in the city. Some people want tiny homes. Some people want cabins. Some people want open skies and riding on horses all day, and frankly, that is pretty special. It doesn’t sound boring, anyway. The “traditional path” doesn’t exist anymore, but sadly, my generation, like so many others, has been pushed into it.

Thankfully, I am watching myself and plenty others in my age group turn from our jobs…Because we have eaten shit at jobs we hate for ten damn years, patiently working on our crafts. We are all starting our businesses, making our dreams into side hustles that become our careers. We ignored the flashing billboards and looked for the nourishing breadcrumbs left by people who cared about us, in key moments when we needed them most.

My Uncle Chris and I are FAR from as close as we once were, in fact, we are horribly far apart, for a few reasons, none of which I think will be discussed on this blog, however, in *that* moment, his pride in my creativity, honesty, tenacity, and dreams, were enough to lift me to now, chasing the impossible. My grandfather telling me to keep trying, to keep writing, will always outweigh any day where maybe his dementia was getting the better of him. My Mom actually looking pleased with how weird I am, (this may have been one of the only times) meant enough to keep me going now, when she tells me she likes my boring job, and I don’t have the heart to tell her I want to quit it, to write. My grandmother is dead now, something I am still struggling with, but seeing her face light up with every retelling of this story, as well as her actually liking my writing, it’s all breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs through the dark forest of a life I don’t like, into the happiness that is the “home” feeling, of doing what I love.

Breadcrumbs. We all have to look for the breadcrumbs. And that is what I am doing as I search for my ideal job/career situation, in the course of this blog series.

I hope you are looking for the breadcrumbs too, HiiiiiYAH!

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Abbi

Feel free to find me/Follow me/Engage with me on WordPress, Medium, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Speekin, and other assorted social media- @abbigrasso

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