When I was a little kid, I watched rocket launches and television shows set in outer space, and I thought that traveling the universe in search of space aliens would be fun. I wondered if space aliens actually spoke English, like they all seemed to do on “Star Trek.” Later on, when I watched “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” I found out that it was actually technology, not magic. There was this creation called the universal translator, which helped humans understand space aliens and vice versa.
Because I was so excited about the idea of making friends with space aliens, especially Martians that magically vanished when their antennas (that looked suspiciously like radio antennas) went up, I decided that the career for me would be astronaut. You had to go into a rocket ship to meet the space aliens; they weren’t coming to us. Later on, there was a delightful movie about a lost space alien named E.T. But I digress.
So anyway, my first career concept literally never lifted off the ground. It crashed and burned. It all happened when I found out about the test that you have to take to become an astronaut. It involved getting put in some sort of centrifuge-type thing-a-ma-bobbie (that’s the technical term, by the way), and spun rapidly in circles. Sort of like an amusement part ride on steroids. If you vomited, you failed the test. When I heard about the test, I knew that vomiting was inevitable. I have always suffered from bouts of motion sickness and, to this day, I cannot read when riding in a moving vehicle.
So… over the course of years, I gave up the idea of being a cartoonist, an actress, a novelist, and an astronomer. For a variety of reasons.
I began to wonder… who am I?
Have I lost myself?
I had to figure out who that was. It felt as if all of my dreams had become rubble, and I was going to end up in some dusty office somewhere, doing work that didn’t interest me, staring at the clock, and waiting to get away from the phone ringing, the machines whirring simultaneously, and the work supervisor saying words and more words. And yes, that actually happened, although I think that most of the offices were cleaned and not dusty. I thought that office work would be easy. All I had to do was type. And then, I found out that someone dictated a letter to me and I couldn’t keep up, so I rewrote the letter, which didn’t always please the letter dictator. I had to listen to dictation on a machine, and the words sounded garbled.
My brain… it’s broken. I was told that I wasn’t trying hard enough, but all I was doing was trying.
I needed to figure out who I was…
A human. A human who was wired a little bit differently. A human who needs a calm environment because she can’t function in a loud, chaotic one. And the steps to this understanding took years to climb.
So I think that I am now gaining an understanding of who I am. It’s taken a long time. I still stare at the stars and marvel at them, wondering what distant planets must be like. I still wish that I could meet space aliens and hear their stories. And who knows? Perhaps, some day, that could happen. For now, I will let my imagination and not my body take flight.
Hence, the art and the stories. They are the products of me letting my imagination take flight to distant and not-so-distant places, to the great beyond and to a much smaller world, sort of like the home of this critter:
Check back for the next episode, as well as for tomorrow’s #Inktober picture!