Divine intervention is a thing of literature.
The protagonist’s journey is often spurred into action because of a sign or an inevitable storm that will come without fail. In the Odyssey Athena strings Odysseus along his path to success, and for a more biblical standpoint Moses happens upon a burning bush that charges him with the emancipation of an entire people—straight from the bushes mouth. And as ludicrous as it may seem to agnostics or atheists or as sacred and finite as such events may be to religious zealots—
I’m wishing I had a burning bush of my own at this moment.
I am a slow and deliberate thinker. I’m the species of person who will question every choice they’ve ever made even after said choice has already brought whatever consequences it warranted. I’ve regretted things I foolishly said when I was in 6th grade just as simply as I’ve mourned the lack of common sense I had just a year ago. The point being, I’m incredibly envious of Moses and Odysseus and any other divine celebrity that’s ever had their destiny written out for them by the best adviser in the business—God.
I, however, recently had to meet with my own earthly adviser, and while I appreciate her services I doubt she can give me the answers that I seek.
It’s somewhat laughable that people can tell you all day long what you’re good at, but no one can tell you what to do with your overwhelming prowess at any given thing, and it’s not quite as simple as:
“You’re good at football? Go out for the NFL!”
At least not for me. And while I admit it takes a certain amount of skill and dexterity to smash into other people and throw a ball with a perfect spiral and hell, catch said ball (all of which I cannot do), I feel that football is slightly less open ended than say being a writer—or not even that really. Further breaking it down would be saying that I love English and communication, and when one loves English they go to college to earn their bachelor’s in some sort of liberal art. They then become a teacher and attempt to spread their esoteric love for the subject to a group of people who are overwhelmingly unenthused by the alphabet let alone a 400 page long Charles Dickens book. When one loves communication they become a speech teacher, right? They coach the debate team and teach kids how to form arguments and ensure that they all know how to properly talk over another person who may have a valid point. And when someone loves English and communication, they become a thespian which I don’t believe needs any elaboration whatsoever.
But personally, it delves so much deeper than subject or major. Breaking it down further would be saying that I don’t truly love English or even communication really. I am captivated by having something to say. But no, that wouldn’t be quite right either in the end. Hitler had a lot to say. Charles Dickens had a lot to say. Abraham Lincoln had a lot to say. Even Dr. Seuss had a lot to say, but clearly they all had very different affects on people at wildly different times in history.
So if that’s not right, then I am forced to break it down further and say… I love emotion. I like to feel, and I like to make other people feel… But that can easily be the case of a therapist or perhaps even a serial killer, and I’m positive that I have no affinity for either of those things.
So, what am I exactly? And what is it that I like to do so much?
If it’s not English, and it’s not communication or saying something or feeling, then what I want to do all day and what I’ve gone to college to improve upon can basically be equated to marking a whole bunch of meaningless scribbles on dead trees that I want to be spread to other dead trees.
But that’s not quite right either and—
I don’t know.
Not anymore at least. Yes, I want to write. Yes, I want to feel. Yes, I want to make other people feel with my scribbles and dead trees, but:
What am I supposed to say?
For one thing, there’s an overwhelming amount of “things to say” in my head, but they’re so rarely released into civilization due to their wild and at times exotic nature; but on the other hand, I don’t want the wrong thought to escape either. One cannot change or persuade without the correct language, and that’s what I’m fascinated by. That’s what I’m interested in—involved and invested in.
The type of change that happened when Moses abided the bush. I want to set spectacular things in motion that supersede my own life. I want to be a mover or shaker and change languish into action. I want to tear things down and raze what holds me—and maybe even others—back, and if I destroy something in the process then let it be known that my destruction is in the name of creation—it’s me going back to the building blocks to improve faulty architecture.
Simply put, I want to be the change that I pray for. However, if I do that—if I do commit to change—then I’m at the mercy of my own words…
This is all very lovely and existential, yes, but let it be known how I conceived such thoughts in the first place. Just yesterday, I saw a one woman show called “Truth Values: One Girl’s Romp Through M.I.T.’s Male Math Maze”. Simply put, it was beautiful. It was simple (I mean, it was a one woman show) but complex all the same, and the one, simple line she said that continues to resonate with me and that I remember so fondly was:
“This is me… Telling my story.”
And in that moment, I was reconnected to everything I have ever thought I wanted to do since I was a child because as of late, my vim and vigor for and of writing has been rather weak—fading even. I was considering simply turning away from word-smithing—if the mental-atrophy lasted long enough—but you can’t turn away from who you are, and that’s what college does. It either teaches or reminds you of who you are.
So who am I?
I’m not a writer. I’m not a lover of English. I’m not a thespian.
I’m Austin Hughes, and that’s what college has taught me thus far.
I’m just me, and while the University of Iowa may have reminded me of my incredibly rare identity, it can’t tell me what to do with who I am; and if I don’t meet any burning bushes or small girls with water jugs to tell me where it is my life belongs in the grand scheme of the world anytime soon, oh well.
I’m simply going to have to tell my story—the story of me and my beliefs and my hopes…
And that’s going to have to be enough for now.