Changing Why Into Why Not?

Illustration is by Polly Nor. To visit the source go to Vice Magazine.

Childhood friends moving to Hershey world Pennsylvania.

Being blindly led to an empty gymnasium by a guy five years my senior (see: “Facing my Demon(s)” for the whole story) who could not comprehend the word “no.”

Locked out of classrooms because I wasn’t the most well liked at my high school.

The school security at my elementary scolding me because my paper cut out penguin didn’t look like the rest of the class’s – clearly my inability to follow directions was real bothersome – and six year old me should have known better, penguins aren’t blue and purple!

I reach down to the bottom of the barrel to find my insecurities and anxieties in each of them. I have them taunt me and have my “Why bother?” outlook become enduring.

I make these shadows in my life define my character absolutely, and to some respect they do but not in the ways they should; not in the self-deprecating ways I have fashioned them into.

Every time an opportunity showed itself: an opportunity to publish, to engage in conversation, to speak up and stand out, to walk away, to let go – I find myself varnishing my ability to move forward with my inability to actually do so.

Why bother? I’m not going to get that interview, so why bother applying? I’m not a good – not even half decent – writer, so why do I bother writing? Who cares what I have to say?

Did Michaelangelo ask “why” before he was commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV to paint one of the most notable works of High Renaissance art? Did Leonard Di Vinci ask why before he painted the subtle smile for the  “Mona Lisa” that has become so infamous? Or Pythagoras as he challenged Homer’s conception on the shape of the Earth?

I don’t know, but imagine if they had. Imagine if they did not indulge in their merits; the world would look kind of blank, and flat.

I challenge myself, as I do for all of you, stop asking your self “why?”

When an opportunity presents itself, redirect your questions into “why not?”

  • Why should I go out? I should go out, why not?
  • What’s the point of talking to that boy I like? Why not talk to that boy you like?
  • Why should I pursue music? why not pursue music?
  • Why are you in art school? why not?
  • Why are you cutting your hair? why not cut your hair?
  • Why are you pursuing writing as a career? why not pursue writing as a career?
  • Why are you wearing that outfit? why not?





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