contributed by Triber Ayesha Noor (@avnprose)
As creative souls, we have a passion for art. Art is what heals us, helps us, and makes us happy. However, as humans, we also need to make a living so that we can keep a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs.
Most of us have a day job. Something that we do in order to keep the lights on. And then we have our art. The thing we truly want to do. It would be the ultimate dream if we could do what we love and make a living from it. Sadly, that isn't always possible or at least not right away.
But what if our day job makes us dreadfully unhappy? Then what should we do? That's a situation I had to face myself a couple of months ago.
Two weeks into my first semester at law school and I started to feel what I could only describe as low. Low enough that it was unsettling, but not low enough that it could be classified as depression. The first week of feeling low was hard but I managed to get out of bed and go to all my classes everyday. The second week of feeling low I attended two out of four days of classes but only half the hours. Both days that I went in, I ended up leaving early. I wasn’t motivated at all. The third week I barely left my bed. I knew I should be studying for my mid-semester exams the following week but I didn’t even touch my books. I kept coming up with one ridiculous excuse after another to avoid studying, from needing the right kind of flashcards to the right kind of lighting. I was so miserable that not only did I not study but I didn’t do anything else either. Even though things like going to the gym or the salon for a manicure are completely unrelated to academics, the unhappiness had leaked into every aspect of my life. I was depressed and I didn’t even know it. It took another week just to get out of the house. That’s when I realized something was very, very wrong. My depression was back and nothing, absolutely nothing is worth my mental health. I didn’t recognize it as depression sooner because throughout all of that I was still writing everyday, several poems a day. I kept telling myself, I’m still motivated to write so I can’t be depressed. Because the last time I was depressed, I barely managed to take a shower more than once a week. Let alone write poem after poem. But I didn’t have poetry in my life two years ago. That’s how I knew it was the right decision to make. Writing made me happy enough to fight past my mental illness and give me something to live for. My depression lifted the day I made the decision to withdraw from law school and pursue writing full time.
Even though I wanted to be a lawyer since I was thirteen-years-old, I sort of felt like a failure for giving up on that dream. What I have come to realize though is that as we grow, we change and so do our dreams and passions. And just in case writing doesn't work out I can always go back to school at any time.
If you’re worried about others’ opinions, don’t be. I know it is easier said than done. But, those who are worth your time and energy will support you and your dream no matter what it is. I was very lucky with the positive and supportive response I got from my family and friends. They just wanted me to be healthy and happy and to have something to keep myself occupied.
I am so glad I chose to pursue my dream and to pursue something that makes my soul happy. I'm ten times more motivated to work when I'm doing something I enjoy. For example, in just the last two months I've finished writing and editing my first poetry collection “my mind is on fire”. It will be released in January. I’ve even started a podcast called the Talk About Taboo Podcast.
Basically, there is no wrong or right answer to the question of whether you should choose passion or practicality. Because you can do both by finding a balance if it is necessary. But also because ultimately it is about what is right for you. Not anyone else. What is right for you may not be right for someone else and vice versa.
- Ayesha Noor, 2018
to get to know Ayesha better and to check out her beautiful poetry follow her on Instagram:
you can also find her debut poetry collection My Mind Is On Fire on Amazon!
a special thank you to Ayesha for this beautiful and relatable article. So many of us within the community struggle between our day job and our day dreams and only few ever have the strength and fearlessness to leave what's comfortable for the unknown. You are such an inspiration and I wish you all the best in your future endeavors!
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love & light,