I don’t think that I decided to become a writer – I think I was born one. And, I know, that’s an incredibly cheesy thing to say, but my point is that there was never any point in my life where I came to this great epiphany that I was going to spend my life writing or anything like that. I simply knew that I would, for as long as I can remember.
And, in the same respect, when people tried to tell me that I couldn’t be a writer, it never worked to dissuade me. Instead, it tore me down, in much the same way that it would if they said that I couldn’t look the way I do, or talk the way I do, or think the way I do. I couldn’t help it; that was just who I was, and I couldn’t change the fact that I was a writer any more than I could change the colour of my eyes.
But that didn’t stop my teachers from trying.
Again and again, I was bombarded by the exact same conversation.
“So what do you want to do after high school?”
“Well, I want to go to university.”
“Good. And what will you be studying?”
“Oh, so you want to be a teacher?”
“No, I want to be a writer.”
“Oh, writers don’t make much money. Better choose something else.”
It came to a point where I started to lie to teachers, telling them that they had convinced me to do something else with my life, just so I could get them to stop. They never had, of course. They couldn’t. Whether they knew it or not, they were fighting a losing battle, trying to get me to shed something that had already sunk into my blood and bones. All that they ever succeeded in was making me more pessimistic, more convinced that the world was harsh and cruel and revolving more around money than around happiness.
And then, everything changed for me when I went to Disneyworld.
I know what you’re thinking: “DISNEYWORLD!? How on earth did one of the wealthiest companies in America convince you that there was more to life than money?”
And to those of you thinking that, I have only this to say: you clearly haven’t been to Disneyworld.
Because, yes, it is very clear just from looking at the park that it is owned by a very wealthy company. They have money to burn on things like nightly firework shows, and constant updates on their classic rides. I will not deny that it is a park revolving around excess, but it is also more than that. It is the first place that I ever visited that told me all about the things I could do, rather than the things I couldn’t.
The message was everywhere I looked: if you can dream it you can do it, when you wish upon a star, it’s kind of fun to do the impossible, all culminating into one great, big, important thesis statement that I needed to hear at that point: dreams do come true. And to prove it, they had the perfect hero figure to represent them: Walt Disney himself. A man who lived much of his life poor, a man who had his design for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit stolen from him, a man who could have given up so many times but hadn’t. He was proof that if you just persevere, then good things actually could happen – and look at all the good things he created!
Needless to say, Walt Disney became my idol after that first trip.
There are some people who don’t understand my love for Disneyworld. They see only the material things, and think me shallow and spoiled for enjoying it. But it’s never been about that to me: it’s about the message. It’s about the reminder that I can do what makes me happy, even if others insist that I can’t. It’s about the encouragement that I find around every corner to build the life I want. It’s about that one place on earth where I’ve never faced opposition for being a dreamer.