I grew up in a destitute part of town. I didn’t have much money. In fact, my mom, dad and I lived in a rooming house on a widely renown street named Simpson Rd in Atlanta, Ga. Simpson and Burbank to be exact. A rooming house is called a boarding house sometimes and it houses a number of families in one house. It has one common area, one kitchen and one bathroom. My mom, dad, and I shared a room. My mother worked in transportation for Magnificent Day Care and my father….well, I really didn’t know what he did for a living honestly. We spent Christmas together but I don’t remember many toys. We also never had a car. I couldn’t go any place if public transportation couldn’t get us there. We didn’t have cable and relied heavily on food stamps. But I loved school. Maybe it was a refuge for me growing up. I enjoyed learning. However, I didn’t have any plans for what I wanted to be when I grew up. I didn’t have anyone to model after in terms of career aspirations. I didn’t know much existed. All I knew was that I loved to learn. I didn’t know much about my Valedictorian accomplishments or even being on the principles list all of my life. My mom was proud and that was all that mattered. If I had it my way, I would have spent all of my time in the backyard with dad catching fireflies. So when asked that question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I would always twist my mouth and say…
Everyone would clap and congratulate me on being so smart and ambitious. “A nurse! What an aspiration!” My mom didn’t finish college and neither did my dad. I didn’t know what to say. I don’t remember any conversations about aspirations and dreams. So what was I supposed to answer? I mustered that and it seemed to please the adults so I kept it at that all through college. I actually got my bachelors degree in Psychology but I went back to pursue, you guessed it, Nursing.
1 month in and I failed out. BAD. I MEAN BAD. So badly, that I withdrew for the rest of the semester. I spent $10,000 on a hard tuition lesson. $10,000 in one month. I didn’t want to be a nurse. I didn’t even like hospitals. However, that is what pleased everyone else. So I thought why not. My then girlfriend even approved. So surely that should have been my dream. Sadly, it wasn’t and thats because I just didn’t know what interested me. I didn’t know what interested me because I didn’t have any professional role models or anyone pushing me to explore what made me smile for a career. I felt hopeless most times. It was a problem that plagued me until I was 27.
I am 27 now. I am 27 now and I just started exploring what makes me happy. What if I had someone who pushed me? What if I had a partner who was going through the same thing? What if someone just asked me, “Candice, what do you like to do?” That probably would have made a difference.
That difference is what I want to make with people who may feel hopeless, saddened, and lost. We often go unsupported and dreams go unattained because we JUST DON’T KNOW. Not because out dreams our IMPOSSIBLE but simply because we are just unaware.
Imagine a world with EVERY SINGLE PERSON living out their WHY! Imagine every person in fast food loving their job because that’s what they were born to do. Or imagine every CEO enjoying leadership because she wanted to lead! Imagine a life TRULY LIVED by choice…not because thats what they “had” to do.
Imagine those children growing up with limited funds and cannot afford ballet lessons or basketball lessons. Should they be punished to a life of dreams not dreamt? Should single mothers be trapped in a 9-5 making minimum wage because that is the only way to provide for their children leaving their dreams behind? Should they not be able to reach for the stars AND make a living?
That is the difference that I am making. I am that person to ask and listen to what excites you! I am that person to listen to what makes you get out of bed every morning! (I understand not all circumstances are the same. I just want to have the conversation. I want to see the spark in your eyes. I want to see what makes you happy.)
The saddest tragedy that happens to a human being is adulthood. I’ve seen thats where most childhood dreams go to die. I’ve heard thats where everything becomes “realistic” and you have to start living in the “real world”. I have also heard thats where we have to put those “silly dreams” away.
So I…..I HAVE to be the one to restore that childlike wonder in everyone. I HAVE to be the person who restores hope. I have to be the one that I needed when I was a child. We need nurses, yes we do. However, I am not a nurse. I am not a nurse. I am Candice and I will make a difference.