Bekka Björke, a teenage girl I’ve gotten to know through blogging and email, occasionally posts very thoughtful blog entries about her life and mind. I’m consistently impressed by the intensity and originality of her thoughts. She’s also a superb photographer. I expect big things down the road!
Her most recent post is titled Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future, in which she reflects on how others have reacted to her unconventional life choices. Anyone who chooses the road less traveled must face a constant barrage of second-guessing even by those who love you. Excerpt:
I’ve never claimed to be doing any of this living thing “right"… Dropping out of school, insisting on making a living as an artist, moving in with my boyfriend, my problems with alcohol from such a young age, all have seemed kinda unconventional to the people close to me (not that they really expect me to play by the rules, I’d rather take the pieces and make up something new) and even new faces I meet.
I don’t think I’m as crazy or fucked-up as people like to tell me I am. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m not. But it still stings when I hear from my parents, who’ve finally come to terms with my life choices and that couldn’t make me happier, the things the rest of my family has to say about me. Even my friends who probably know me better than I know myself question my actions. I appreciate their commentary, it’s obviously got a strong foundation, but I’m constantly wondering if I’m really doing things so wrong. Drugs are ancient history, as is alcohol for the most part. School is back in the picture, I’m working, I’m learning, I’m functioning as a more or less responsible adult. More importantly, I’m happy.
I’m not trying to repent. I’m not ashamed of things I’ve done, things I’m doing. If that were the case I wouldn’t be living as I do. Call it selfish to live in the pursuit of happiness, but I don’t care. Whether or not living like you’re 25 at the ripe old age of 17 is right or wrong is all subjective. If graduating high school, going on to get a *useful* college degree, living a straight life is what you value, fine, I can totally respect that. There will be no apologies on my end for taking school as an opportunity to learn instead of a necessity, for loving someone although my birthdate makes me obviously too naive to really know what I’m feeling, for having a passion for the arts and the mind that so many people scoff at.
For every critic out there, has your existence really been so perfect? Has every action been admirable and “correct?” And even if so, have you never started with the “what if…”s? This is a not a plea for everyone to throw away their suits and 9-5s, to pick up a paintbrush and leave their wives, no. This, if anything, is bunch of words written on a whim by a scared little girl with knit brows, insane devotion, and a deeply embedded set of morals. I’m not saying, even now, that I’m doing things right. But my lifestyle works. It feels right for me.
Here’s my past post on her struggle with alcohol and another on "the inverse correlation between thinking and participating."