Deep down, I always knew I had a calling. Writing, the media, and television always held a special place in my heart. But when the time came for me to choose my major in college, and subsequent path in life, I chose Business Administration. Why? Because I am a coward. I was afraid of failure, and thought that everyone has crazy dreams, and these sort of thoughts were absurd. I was supposed to get a “useful” degree, get married, and have children. If I did okay, I would have a house, a car, and be able to afford one summer vacation every year.
Oprah Winfrey often talks about having an “Aha!” moment. This is when you suddenly realize something new, and things click into place. Oprah, or as I like to call her, the Greatest Woman Ever, did a segment on her OWN network (no pun intended), she discussed with a guest how you know that you are on the right path, and are being true to yourself. The answer was painfully simple: You don’t feel like you are betraying yourself.
I had a hard time admitting to myself, let alone speaking it out loud, but I had a quiet voice within that would nag at me Will you regret this? I would stubbornly reply I can’t be irrational and go into journalism! To which the voice would say But why not? I would end the conversation there. But the thought would always resurface.
One night I was having a conversation with my dear friend Katie, who over the years has become both my guru and therapist, in her college dorm room. She was in her first semester at college, a fact she deplored and I was envious of. Now I realize she hated it because it wasn’t her destiny, and her inner-voice was trying to tell her that. (She is now a photographer who is starting a program at the New York Film Academy in September). I recall sitting on my blow-up mattress and looking up at Katie, who was perched on her bed with string lights hanging around her. Even though I was at college studying business administration, I called out, “I wish I was studying journalism instead, Katie!” I’ll never forget what she said next, speaking the words of my inner voice out loud: “Why can’t you?”
There was my “Aha!” moment.
“Isn’t it crazy,” Katie continued, “That if we really, truly want to, we can do anything?”
Really…we can, can’t we?
And from that moment, something within me shifted.
The next morning, at a Hilton Hotel in Cullowhee, NC, I told Katie that I would apply to transfer into a communication/journalism program. I was still nervous. “What if I change my mind and regret it, Brenda?” I asked Katie’s mom. “Then you’ll just move on to something else,” Brenda replied calmly. Who said we have to do one thing for ever and ever? I tried out business administration, and learned that writing and speaking fit me better than accounting and business. Maybe in the process of attaining my bachelors degree, I will learn something else about myself. At least for now I know I am not betraying myself. Ultimately, everything does happen for a reason, and God has guided me to this place and time so that I would be on the path I am supposed to be on.
And whatever may come, and however things might change, I will always know to simply trust my inner voice. Demand the truth from yourself. You never know to what great places it will lead you to.