On the verge of starting my undergraduate education, I was quick to dismiss the arts. I buried myself in a science major unable to see the real value of the arts —writing or photography — things I merely considered as hobbies. Now I find myself submerged in irony as I pursue a career in the arts against my former beliefs and apparently, against all odds.
I used to write brief blog posts aimed to attack my high school foes never realizing a better purpose to use my words than to combine harmonious phrases as clever insults. Now I’m itching to use my words to spread global awareness as opposed to hatred.
I used to think photography required no real skill. Yet years later, I find myself appreciating the difficulty and challenge that goes behind an art that is so often created and attempted in the modern era.
Every person with the courage to pursue his or her artistic passions is stamped with the story of a struggling artist. Perhaps rightly so. To succeed as a highly recognized artist is, dare I say, more difficult than attempting to become a doctor. For where your hard work pays off in the pursuit of a medical license, you can work your ass off creating beautiful art, pouring your soul into your passion and still come out as ‘that struggling artist.’ The risk is higher.
So when I announce that journalism is my next pursuit, apparently dismissing my undergraduate years spent majoring in Neuroscience, I am always discouraged and instead advised to ‘please please please‘ continue my path in science. From cab drivers to marketing directors, I constantly sense the disbelief that I would even consider a career in journalism.
Of course, as a young 23-year-old these comments do not go unnoticed. Over and over my mind is clouded by other people’s doubts; back and forth reconsidering my decision, I arrived at the same resolution.
Did I want to spend my life in a career working for money? Yeah yeah, I’ve heard it a million times. Money doesn’t buy you happiness, but it sure helps. But what happiness would I achieve with a life not pursuing my passion? So? Here is yet, another journalist in the making.
But my real issue is: why are the arts so easily dismissed? We are constantly forced to fit into this corporate box where realism is not only encouraged but almost enforced. Profit is the goal and money is happiness. Is that what humans must thrive on? We do — we’re barely given a choice, but we shouldn’t. Over and over I’m troubled by the amount of friends who have chosen to pursue a career where money is the focus. Seven streams of income are what makes millionaires. Business ideas from left right & center — pretty decent ideas, might I add. The hypothesis: money first, then comes happiness. After all, who could be unhappy living in a billion dollar mansion? But this isn’t a campaign against money.
It’s just ironic that we are so dismissive of the very thing that makes us human: our creativity and the fruits of our passions — the very thing that continues to amaze us and lift us from the deepest blues we experience.
Whether it’s that centuries-old fiction book that you’ve read over a dozen times, or that tune that still takes you back to a moment from years ago, or that article that has affected you in a way that you never imagined a trivial blend of words could ever do. The arts and those who are brave enough to pursue it should be encouraged to flourish instead of being constantly denigrated and doubted.
Formerly a hardened science student, I now find myself on the other side of the fence using my passion to write about the irony in quickly dismissing a life founded on creativity. The grass isn’t greener, but shouldn’t it be?
Photo Credit: Courtesy of HTSABO