“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.” — Georgia O’Keeffe
"If you don't care about pollution then there won't be anywhere for tigers to LIVE!" I whined aggressively to my tiger-loving friend amidst my eco-friendly phase in full swing. How could she not GET IT? We have to care about the planet first and foremost because without that, it doesn't matter if the tigers are taken care of or children receive comprehensive sex education! The world will end if we don't do something about global warming! I would run around and unplug everything in the house and yell at everyone for not caring enough.
That phase didn't last too long.
I'm still just as full of raging passion as my hormonal 14-year-old self, but I'm definitely infinitely more preoccupied with comprehensive sex education than I am with eco-issues. I'm sorry, planet, I should be better.
Occasionally -- like in the wake of such a devastating election -- the world feels shaken and unstable, in desperate need of endless work and care. It can feel overwhelming because there are too many injustices in the world that need to be handled, and so little time! Though there is only so much one person can do, only so much work one person can take on. I want to consciously make better and healthier decisions for both my body and the well-being of our planet, but unfortunately for spunky younger Cece, my passion in life is just not global warming. It is instead all things written word and woman. Gender, sexuality, reproduction, health, education, sex, female, justice.
Cultivating my life's passion has been the most amazing and beautiful feeling, but even still: I don't know what I'm doing -- Just a straight-forward, general statement about me.
Specifically, I don't know what I'm doing after college. (Although recently, writer and tweeter extraordinaire Dana Schwartz addressed a desperate [mildly pathetic] cry for help of mine, very kindly and considerately; It was helpful! Somehow it didn't magically sort out my future for me though, I still have to do that myself. Lame.)
I have no idea what the next stage of my life will look like, and that's terrifying. There was a time when thoughts of post-grad life conjured nothing but a black void of empty darkness...But I have matured since high school, I now know I can envision a lot more irrational late-night decision-making and subsequent crying in bed with a tub of half-melted soy ice cream. I can picture a lot of hours TV show-binging and taco bell-eating. I can at least picture a lot of normal, everyday life stuff. Life still exists, it doesn't end with my current academic career like I once thought it might. I can imagine myself in different professional positions, but I have no idea what I could end up actually doing. This is interesting and exciting, sure, (I could never be a financial advisor person, whatever that is, for example), but it's also CRAZY and SCARY. Even more so when it constantly feels like I'm just not doing enough.
I'm petrified of what may lie beyond Graduation Day this May, but I've compiled a list of things I do know I want to do for the rest of my life:
- I want to affect the individual lives of my friends by being supportive and encouraging and loving whenever I possibly can.
- I want to positively influence my community by getting involved in local issues like voting and journalism and volunteering.
- I want to have an impact on the national conversation around women's rights and reproductive justice; I want to have a hand in these movements working towards a better reality for women everywhere.
- I want to talk about sex and health more openly and casually, private and publicly. I want to encourage comprehensive sex education at every level of our society, from kindergartens to nursing homes to our daily lives. Fuck the stigma around our bodies and natural sexual desires.
- I want to do the same thing for abortion -- de-stigmatizing abortion is a matter of discussing it alongside any other modern medical procedure. It's normal, healthy, and a completely valid choice for any person with a uterus to make.
- I want to constantly strive to further educate and check myself; the more thoughts I expose myself to of people who know more than I do, the better.
- I want to grow, and learn, and try new things, and see as much of the world as possible
- I want to forgive myself for all I can't do and push myself to do all I can.