by Carlos Antonio Piñón
August 8, 2013
When I was five, I wanted to be a football player. There was really neither a good reason nor a good explanation. I just really wanted to be a football player. But that wasn't really me. Sure, I play football with friends from time to time, but that wasn't it.
When I was ten, I wanted to be a video game tester. I used to play Pokémon and the Legend of Zelda games a lot, and I figured being the first one to play the games before anyone else would be cool. Even then, that still wasn't me. I do play video games occasionally, sometimes more than other times, except I haven't had the desire to get the newest console with the newest games. I thought that I could take this a step further, but that still wasn't it.
When I was fourteen, I wanted to be a video game designer. Whether it was part of the creation of the plot, graphics, or any other compartment, that's what I wanted to do. I mean, wouldn't it be cool to be able to create entire worlds? If there was a desire deep down to have a chicken inside a cupboard or perhaps to have a character explain the meaning of life, it can be done.
If that was the end of this story, it'd be a pretty terrible story. However, it gets questionably better. I had a job, once. I worked at a computer place fixing computers. Every day, it was the same thing over and over again. At the time, I loved everything about computers, but since then, I've taken four computer classes, and it really killed my spirit. Mainly because of the redundancy, I didn't want to feel like I was in a rut my entire life. Well, computers are always changing, so I didn't want to become obsolete in my field so quickly, either. Instead, I wanted to do something very different, but also very similar in different aspects. When I was fifteen, I had a teacher completely change my life. Perhaps it was an epiphany in which the rods and cones enhanced my vision, but I knew the emotions I felt during my lifespan were not so uncommon. That my age didn't define the start of an era, but that each era was defined by my experiences. I wanted to share what I've learned and I wanted to be there when someone needs me, just as people were there when I needed them. Because I know, we all, at some point or another, feel like islands faced with threats of tsunamis. But the way I see it, even the biggest masses of land on the planet are islands. Just as everything else, it's never about quantity, it's quality. I want everyone to know that while there may be a feeling of islandism, we are all on the same planet. We all feel the same things, that a tsunami in any part of our planet affects each one of us. That, while there may be feeling of inferiority, we are all equals.
I wanted to be able to share this with everyone. Say, what if I told you the answer to life's problems is a chicken inside a cupboard? You'd probably think that's ridiculous and these words seem like they were spilled during a 3am writing session after being awake for 36 hours, except it's not. See, the thing is, everyone is using the same words to ask different questions. They all ask, what is the meaning of life, but each time, it's a different person asking for something different, therefore, the answer is different. Fact is, if I were to say a chicken in a cupboard, everyone would try to imagine why, realize that to them, the answer is wrong, and then proceed to pursue their own answer. And that's it, that's the important thing. There isn't just once answer, but many, just as there are questions, and only each of us can find out for ourselves.
Because it's not just one question. What is the meaning of life? or Does any of this matter? / Will I have enough to feed the kids tomorrow? / Why doesn't this person realize how much I love them? / If I work hard enough, will I get the things I want? / Will I pass that class? / In the end, does any of this really matter? That's what I learned at fifteen. I learned that everyone has a different story, and that each one is just as unique as the next. To me, the meaning of life is a chicken in a cupboard because that's what I want it to be, that's how I found it to be. But I never could have found it alone. People might find me... different, but in a world where we all feel like islands, there is no such thing. Being weird is a myth because inside the root core of us all, we're have our uniqueness in common. Understanding that at fifteen was one of the most difficult things I faced. I was always trying to define myself, thinking I have to fit in, trying to fit myself in a box. But like a chicken in a cupboard, I can be whatever provides solace for me. Whatever I feel comfortable with, that's what I can be. And I found love in writing because I can write what I never could say and I could never be interrupted. I can share my thoughts, but this skill wasn't something I had before I was fifteen. Yet, that was exactly what I needed.
And that was when, at the age of seventeen, I knew I wanted to be a creative writing teacher. To help those who were like me, to not only open the cage of free thought, but to help conquer it. To shape it into the unique shape each student wants it to be. Because we all feel like an island. As a creative writing teacher, I can still create entire worlds in my own writing, but my students as well. I can help them revolutionize their own thoughts and expand their maximum until there is no limit. The world is wide open and there's opportunity in the air.
I started as a shy kid, but now I can proudly say what looms in my mind and heart, that if the meaning of life to me is a chicken in a cupboard, I'll feel no guilt, no shame. Because someone believed in me, I grew into something unique with pride, and I want to do the same for someone one day. So thank you for believing in me.