I remember what it’s like to be a child. The world is new, you’re the center of the universe, and here you are, at the very beginning of a long road about to set on a journey. The future’s all too blurry and worries are nonexistent only because possibilities are almost endless. You dream sometimes of becoming a princess or the richest woman in the world but the fog clears up the longer you walk, and soon you realize you’re not getting any more beautiful or that money never equates to genuine happiness. Or maybe you stop dreaming altogether because you start to think that maybe dreams are exactly what they are, only dreams — make-believe and unrealistic.
Being a teenager, life starts to sink in a little and it gets all too overwhelming at times. Everything’s a huge, celestial mess and you still have all the might in the world to be selfish and to run away at times. Nighttimes are the best because nothing has to make sense, and you sometimes feel water is much sweeter than blood, no matter how much thicker. Thinking of the deeper, more important things feels ‘funny’ so you dwell on the superficial. At least you have an excuse to do so, ‘you’re still young’ after all.
Although I grew up sooner than others I knew my age, my youth never left me, only one day I knew who I was and how I wanted to live my life. Sometimes new passions would rise and overcome old ones I thought I’d pursue and then are days of painful sacrifices and changes, but I know none of these matter in the long run — all I am sure of is that I want to make the most out of this life, too short and ever so fleeting.
People draw different conclusions as to why I made certain decisions for myself. I left college altogether and some people think I’m being arrogant and that I am wasting the privilege to go to a university to attain a degree. Some speculate it’s some kind of a rebellion act or that I have personal problematic issues. There are those who care about me and who are genuinely worried. But then there are those open-minded ones I am most thankful for — those who don’t doubt that the decisions I make for myself are well thought of, those who lovingly support me and trust in my capabilities. It’s true, it’s an unfamiliar choice. But everybody has their own story. It just so happens mine includes dropping out of school.
Many people think graduating from a good university is vital. I don’t. Having a degree doesn’t always guarantee happiness or success — I’ve seen this too many times before. Family and friends who go through college for reasons separate from their passions. Wasted years to work and improve on their own craft, or to be genuinely happy about life. Just because society says you should go for where the money is. But I believe in passion beyond all else — that you win in all ways if you focus on what you’re most passionate about, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant it is to other people.
It’s easier said than done. Up until today, it is a struggle in many ways. But when I dropped out of school, it was exactly how I wanted it to be, the good and the bad included. After the long but fulfilling feat of fixing the smaller details of my life, I went onto an endless maze of self-learning all that I can about cameras, photography and post-processing, documenting travels and little moments and turning my ideas into tangible photographs by getting creatives together on shoots as much as I could. There were idyllic moments, yes, but even those were spent productively – reading, writing, planning and dreaming unendingly. But it was really more than just that. Walls my parents have been building for my protection for the past sixteen years have all of a sudden turned into dust, and there I was, a curious girl in the real world, dreaming fiercely and spending hours learning from strangers, seeing all the bad, reveling in all the good, appreciating the smaller things in life and having comfort in having only little because they have always been enough in the first place.
Somehow, somewhere in between that general haze of fleeting moments, I was growing up. I’d wake up sometimes only to discover another version of myself and bigger dreams I want to turn into reality. And that I have only really simple dreams for myself – to document beauty and share beauty so I can touch lives and use this talent for nothing but good. I just want to forget about all the doubts and all the unbelieving people so I can become the person I want to be — a simple, gypsy girl traveling the world and documenting all its glorious beauty.
I know I won’t be eighteen forever and these thoughts and emotions and passions won’t always be as raw and as real. I want to make the most out of my now, my youth, all this passion. I know many ‘adults’ work out of necessity, and one day too I’ll have to fend for myself and for my family but I don’t want to have to live a life short of pure joy. I don’t want my reality to be a nightmare. It doesn’t have to be. Life can be how you want it to be. What if we can all just live with our imagination? It can be filled with all things we dream about, become all that we want to become, make all sorts of art that used to exist only in our thoughts come alive. I’m determined to do just that.