"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."
I graduated high school on Wednesday. The ceremony was hot and sweaty, and thousands of people peered down at each of us as we walked across the lumpy stage to grab our diplomas. I made sure to flash on honorary "rock on" symbol as my name was called. It was far less dramatic than I would have expected. It was a relief all the same.
I struggled through high school. It was never something I enjoyed. I was always the odd one out. The weird kid without a partner. I will admit to having rather severe social awkwardness at times, but it seems to be a trait I won't grow out of. Speaking is something I have difficulty with, and I really don't enjoy it, unless it's a conversation that really sparks an interesting in me. My brain moves too fast for my mouth, and I stutter. So I usually relied on silence to keep me from being noticed more than I needed to be.
Freshman year I tried to fit in. I wore the clothes and halfheartedly attempted makeup. I listened to top-20 radio music and felt like maybe I could make the normal thing work out.
I laugh at my stupidity. Around two weeks before sophomore year, I dyed my hair a vibrant blue, switched up my wardrobe, and found the music that has shaped me to be who I am today. As for the hair, well, it's kind of my trademark. As much as I'd like to avoid narcissism, most people at school by this year seemed to know who I was, if only as "the blue-haired girl".
Anyway. As the years rolled by, I endured some crap-tastic friend fallouts, depression, anxiety, way below average grades, and the occasional bullying. It was rarely to my face, but it happened. If I wore my tail, people would giggle, and I grew quite used to idiots meowing at me as I walked past. I've heard people comment on my outfits. On me in general. I know it happened. But it certainly could have been worse.
But now it's over. I have fond memories. Mostly from the theatre, which simultaneously kept me sane and drove me bat-shit crazy at the same time. It happens. Now it's time for real life, what I've been working towards for 12 long years.
But then the question begs to be asked, "Olivia, what are you going to do?"
Well...I don't know. I know what I love. I know what I should do. I get told on a daily basis that I should go into hair. I can do a mad dye job, but somehow, that doesn't seem fulfilling. So let me tell you a little story.
I have yet to open up about this story before I left due to the fact that I was still in school, but now that I'm done, I have no qualms with publishing it on the internet. Before I left for Turkey, I had a meeting with the school principal about my plans for exchange, how I was going to graduate, and the whole "credit requirement" issue. My lovely counselor, who has been incredibly supportive through all of my exchange dilemmas, had figured everything out and had a credit plan all drawn up. We were sure everything was looking good, and I was all set to leave and graduate on time. The principal however, wasn't too pleased. Especially considering my less than stellar academic record. Long story short, she asked about my plans after high school. I still wasn't sure at the time, but my default answer is usually cosmetology. She nodded, looked at my transcript, and bluntly said, "Well that's good. You wouldn't get into anything else anyway."
I was floored. No one, NO ONE, tells me I can't do something because I didn't meet certain standards. ESPECIALLY someone who is supposed to build someone up as an educator. I may not be a genius, but I'm no dropout either. I've participated in school activities all four years, and really only truly struggled in math classes. Nothing motivates me more than being told I'm not good enough. So to put it bluntly, I don't want to do hair. Not to put anyone down, because it's a profession that I very well could have gone into happily enough, but you know what, I CAN do something incredible. I WILL prove that even though I was never good enough for your ridiculous school, I can still change the world. I can still do some amazing with my life. No matter what that may be. In ten years, maybe they'll look back and think, "Well fuck. I didn't see that coming."
So there you have it. This upcoming year is still a mystery, but it all starts with a single step. I have had immense support for my travel plans, and I am currently debating between volunteering for a bit, backpacking around, or doing a spring departure semester/year exchange anywhere they'll let me really. So we'll see. I don't know where I'll end up, but I know it'll be interesting.
I throw my hat up in the air sometimes, saying ayooo