When I was young, I had an intense craving to be famous. I remember it being my goal to become known by every single person in the world. This simple fact says so much—about me and about the world we live in. I was taught that my worth could be found in being known. There wasn’t anything specific that I wanted to be known for; that part changed as I grew older: from singer, to painter, to writer, to photographer.
The desire waned over the years, but even in college, I sometimes thought about what it’d be like to be a well-known photojournalist. Did the feeling wane because I realized that my worth could be defined by more important things or because the world taught me that it’s actually hard to become famous? I’m not really sure.
I do wish there were still things that I wanted with that same passion. Maybe if I was taught to value something more specific—something more useful—I’d be one of those people who say, “I’ve known this is what I wanted to do since I was a kid.”
I believe I didn’t pursue photojournalism professionally because I didn’t think I’d make it big. That it wasn’t enough to tell stories in a small community. Actually, now that I think about it, I weigh most jobs that way—is a small splash enough?
Part of becoming a woman—growing into myself—has meant finding meaning in simpler but more meaningful things, like being kind and changing people’s days. I know that this is what truly matters, but on some deep, instinctual level, I don’t.
I know that my parents would have liked to instill this in me—I don’t think this is on them. It’s on the world we live in—what we value collectively. I’m not sure what we’ll value collectively if and when I have children, but I hope I can teach them what I’ve learned. Or maybe I can change the collective mentality one day at a time—little by little—through daily interactions. Or maybe not. But it’s worth trying.