Grad School Fail, Beyonce, and Why It’s Time to Start Taking Yourself Far More Seriously

I didn’t know it then, but when I chose to go to grad school at the ripe age of 22, I was searching for a place to hide.

Sure, I truly enjoyed the subject matter.

And yeah, at the time, I did feel passionate about pursuing a career in conflict resolution.

But, as a very wise family attorney named Gail once told me, “there are a million ways to go about getting there.”

I chose the path of most expense.

Because, at 22, I believed I was too young… that nobody would take me seriously without a few extra letters behind my name.

Ironically, during the same time period, I married a man with the last name Gonzalez, and actually DID add several more letters to my name.

But that’s neither here nor there.

My point is, I inexplicably believed something I had never — not once — heard anyone say to me out loud.

The only logical reason I can imagine for this is that I wanted to believe it. I needed to.

If I didn’t, it would mean I’d have to get out there, in the “real world,” and actually try.

Just one year post-college, I was not at all ready for that heavy shit.

So, I sat through 2 years of grad school (for which I have yet to pay) and then… still felt immeasurably unprepared for life.

Instead of heading out into the wild blue yonder to “make something of myself,” what followed was a decade of circuitous nonsense.

It was nothing but a long, slow, serpentine zig-zag effort to dodge the bullets of failure.

But failure at what, exactly?

In order to fail, you have to try. And have I?

Cut to me scrolling my Instagram feed yesterday afternoon in a desperate attempt to escape the incessant, nonsensical jabber of my 4-year old.

There, my thumb landed on a photo of a young girl.

A red-brown ringlet softly cascaded across her face, which wore the most intensely focused expression I’ve ever seen on a young child.

As I came to find out from reading the text, it was none other than the world-famous Blue Ivy.

The post was about Beyonce’s new Spirit video, part of the updated Lion King soundtrack.

My curiosity piqued (and with nothing else to do besides carry on a ridiculous conversation about which of my kids was in possession of more pipe cleaners), I watched the video.

And my life was forever changed. THE END.

Nah, but seriously. I’m a big believer that certain people and things come across our path for a reason.

Not in, like, a super selfish “everything in the world is focused on me” way.

More like: “God tries to speak to us way more often than we think using whatever tools He deems necessary to get through.”

Yesterday, he used Beyonce.

I know this because, as soon as I heard her belt out the words “your destiny is close, stand up and fight,” I immediately burst into uncontrollable sobs.

Which, if you can believe it, solicited nothing more than mild irritation from my children.

Ungrateful bastards.

And it’s not just that Spirit is an impressively composed song with mind-blowing imagery.

I realized I was looking at a woman — a true force of nature — who owns her personal power in such a way that you really can’t help but be moved.

She knows what she stands for, she’s honed her gifts, she’s doing what the fuck she came here to do.

And she isn’t interested in getting sidetracked by fear or distrust of self. There isn’t time for it.

I thought about her daughter, Blue Ivy, and what a deeply grounding experience it must be to have such an example of female power.

I also considered all of the fire this woman must have walked through to rise to such heights.

Because nobody gets there the easy way. That sort of power is always earned through blood and tears.

And I believe we’re all capable of it. Even me.

We just have to stop hiding behind excuses.

My kids take up all of my time and energy — I just can’t go after my goals until they’re older.

I’m not qualified enough. I need more training.

I’m just waiting for my Big Break. It’ll happen if I just wait long enough.

Or hey, how about this one: God is supposed to be the One orchestrating my life. It’s up to Him whether I achieve this or not.

God wants us to rely on Him as our source of strength, yes.

He directs our steps, works out all things for our good, and leads us by still waters.

But I’ve come to believe He gives us talent, passion, and ambition for a reason.

He may be the Ultimate Designer of the Universe, but He’s given you a fucking paintbrush… and you’re just standing there.

This is the year when I want to FINALLY step into my own personal power.

I’m not even sure what that means, exactly. It’s a concept I’m still fleshing out, but I have a feeling I’ll know it when I see it.

And, y’know, there’s always Beyonce to point me in the right direction.

Writing + abiding in Montana (or wherever’s clever).

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