As long as I’ve known me, I’ve never really considered myself as being the most level-headed individual.
The reason for this being that when I think about my life and my goals and my dreams and my relationships, I analyze them until they don’t even resemble themselves anymore. (ie: If my boyfriend’s band does well, he’ll start touring all around the country and while he’s playing a show in Austin, he’ll meet a tortured performance artist from Portland named Iris who is in town for a woodworking show (because she does woodworking too) and spends her spare time listening to French music (because she speaks three languages and is currently learning Icelandic in anticipation of her trip there because Bjork saw her work and wants to collaborate) and playing the cello while simultaneously reading Proust and fostering abandoned kittens. And the two of them fall madly in love…of course.)
And once I get going, I just can’t stop until I start severely over-thinking every aspect of my being and then I’ll start over-thinking about why I’m over-thinking these things in the first place and then pretty soon I’m falling down the rabbit hole and that Alan Rickman caterpillar thing that smokes the hookah or whatever is taunting me about how I’ll never catch up and therefore, will never amount to anything!
You might be wondering where this state of self-doubt comes from and while I’m still questioning some minor head injuries from my childhood (and apparently, my inability to properly mop the floor), I can safely say the most recent bout of anxiety stems from August 1st aka the teacher’s end of summer.
I was sitting in on my boyfriend’s art class and was trying to make a paper crane. Or a penguin. Or a box. Or something. (Still a little unclear on the instructions…probably because I didn’t read them and just assumed I knew what I was doing. How prophetic is that?) Granted, I’ve never been one for things being exactly right. When hanging pictures, I just go for it. No level needed. (Again, how prophetic?) So it should be of no surprise to anyone, including myself, that my paper…whatever…did not turn out like the picture. The wings weren’t centered. The body was disproportionate to the head. And the beak was facing the wrong way.
It was immediately after this that I had a mild panic attack because I decided to interpret this as some great omen for my upcoming school year. (Sorry, children.)
Origami takes practice. It takes time. Often times, it takes several tries.
During my anxious bout of origami madness, I fell down that rabbit hole again. I started thinking about this upcoming school year. About what my students would be like. About what my classroom would look like. About what kind of teacher I would be. About what kind of coach I would be. And again, if this is even the job for me?
I started thinking about all the “Iris” girls on Instagram that seem to have their whole lives figured out. (And somehow never really seem to be at work? And who also seem to be capable of eating copious amounts of croissants and still have a six-pack?…and I don’t mean of Stella.) They are post-grad prodigies that somehow found a way to embrace their art and turn it into a full-time job with benefits (and the dream hours of 10-2, Tuesday-Thursday, pants optional).
But let’s just be honest…people that have lives figured out at twenty-five are not to be trusted.
The story is in the struggle…the uncertainty…the risk.
I don’t know if this is what I’ll be doing five…ten…twenty years from now.
But I’m here now. I’m folding my crane now and even though the folds aren’t even and the ends aren’t meeting quite right, it’s mine and I’m not giving up.
Legend says that if someone folds a thousand cranes…they will have a wish granted to them by the gods.
Obviously folding cranes takes time and effort and you can’t do it in just one night (or maybe you can, I don’t know your life).
You could also just fold the one crane and forget the wish and go on with your life. There are no requirements.
But I like to think that each crane takes time. Each one has a story. A memory. Each one carries a little piece of yourself and that’s what makes it special.
So maybe you’re like me and you’re folding your crane right now and it’s not looking that great or you’re not 100% sure about it (and freaking Iris has really ornate paper made from an ancient tree that can only be found in a small village and is thought to hold the spirit of Shiva herself, which incidentally you can purchase at your local Anthropologie for $59.99 a ream).
But it’s all part of the story. You may not make it to a thousand, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
So keep following your dreams, no matter how far off they seem.
Keep folding and see where those cranes can take you.