Be You. And Be Terrible At It.
Hi, my name is...Well, actually, that’s just it. I have a lot of names. My legal name is Isabella Reedy, but if any of you call me that, then you clearly haven’t been around me in a while. My name here at school is Dreeg. He/him or They/them pronouns, please! My planned name, once I graduate, is Dwyer. There are a few others out there. My family calls me V, or Vapor. I used to go by a lot of different names, 8 in total. Because names are important. Identities are important. And that’s what I’m here to talk about.
Identity is complicated. You aren’t born with one, you have to create it, discover it over time, shed different pieces of it like skin. It’s something personal, something you make for yourself, yet also the thing you show every person you see, try to make them understand you as best as you can.
When I was eight years old, I owned no video games or video game consoles. My older brother played Halo, but if you had asked me what that game was, I would have been very confused. The extent of my knowledge of video games was ToonTown, Moshi Monsters, and Club Penguin. In comes Pokemon: Black and Pokemon: White. I’m watching Nickelodeon and I see an ad for a video game, and I process none of it, except that the being on the Pokemon: Black case is very pretty. I asked my mother for the game and the Nintendo: DSi because of it. It was the beginning of a long saga.
I pride myself on having a lot of different aspects of my ‘self’. First and foremost, I’m a gamer. I love RPGs and visual novels, like Kingdom Hearts, Fire Emblem, Pokemon, of course, and Butterfly Soup. Second, I suck at video games. So much. I usually have to either look up solutions or just watch other people play the game for me. These two aspects seem very contradictory, no? Still, I’m both. And now, because of these things, I want to go into video game design. I want to go into a field I might suck at.
For a long time, I wanted to be a chemical engineer. I wanted to be someone that tested chemicals and created new things using chemistry. That was my dream job until about two years ago. I’m pretty good at science and math, if I do say so myself, but instead of going into a STEM field, I’m going into art, which I am not as confident at.
This follows Joseph Cambpell’s idea of following your bliss. His name ring a bell for anyone? He came up with the Hero’s Journey, if you remember that. The point of being a person is to do what makes you happy, not what you’re good at. In a lot of cases, these align, and that’s perfectly fine! But he believes it is better to live a happy life than a productive one. So I will go into a field I might not excel at in order to be myself.
This is all a roundabout way of saying, "be yourself, even if you suck at it." Your identity is more important than anything else. If you can be a self, you can find true happiness. I know that and believe in it with all of my heart. Finding the pieces of me that construct me is how I’ve gotten to a point of happiness and confidence, of being a voice for the communities I’m a part of, from the LGBT to the autistic to the gamer to every single little piece of my identity that forms the me you see today. So I want to implore you to find your bliss, follow it, discover new pieces of yourself and find joy in discovering them. Be you. And be terrible at it. Thank you.