“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure. You’ve got to find the treasure, so that everything you have learned along the way can make sense.” (Coelho) The Alchemist is by and far one of my favorite novels. It is the classic story of a young boy, Santiago, in search of his Personal Legend, that one thing that is the calling of each person’s heart. The one thing that each person is created to do.
My heart has always craved creativity, and I have found it in writing, acting, improv, and music among other things. The one thing that I always said that I wanted to be was an actress. That was always my dream. I never saw another option. I applied to one school in-state in the mountains of South Carolina during my Senior year of high school. I was going to major in English; it was my one attempt to pursue the passionate calling of my heart. However, the acceptance letter never came, and I found myself moving back to Northern California to pursue acting. I convinced myself that if I really wanted to be a working actress that going to school would defer that. So, I threw myself into acting programs and theater companies in the ultimate hope that I would move to Los Angeles. After I moved, I found out quickly that the city that I wanted to be in for so long was killing my passion. There was no room to breathe and to allow creativity to flow. The city was filled with agents, managers, and successful people that were not nearly as talented as people made them out to be. I was an artist, but this was not art. The awful casting notices that I would get made my skin crawl. I could feel my creativity and passion being strangled, so I just stopped.
I had a plan. I knew exactly how my life was going to be; that is until it wasn’t anymore. How do you admit that what you thought you wanted is not what you want at all? How do allow yourself to let go of the dream that you have held onto your entire life? It was not that my love for acting was gone; it just did not fuel the fire within myself like it used to. I was fighting so hard to keep this one dream, and I was too afraid to admit that dreams change. I was holding onto this picture of how my life was supposed to be, but something in my heart was ready for the change. Dreams that I had buried deep within myself were finding new light. So, while my friends were getting married, going to graduate school, starting families, and building homes, I decided that I was going back to school. After all of the denial, I was finally going to follow the deafening call of my soul. When I finally made the decision to go back to school and be an English major, I found it a bit easier to breathe. My writing found new wings, and I felt the passion that I had felt so long ago.
Life does not always happen how you expect it to; it often happens the exact opposite of that. Looking back, I wish that I could have seen the possibilities and freedom in listening to my heart. I was fighting so hard against something that came so effortlessly. Once I stepped back into an English class, I was alive again. I went home and began searching through piles of journals and notebooks filled with poetry and short stories that were long forgotten about. When I found my old writings it was if I was seeing for the first time the person that I could be; it was the person that I wanted to be. As I was surrounded by mountains of my own words, I knew that I had finally found my treasure. At the end of The Alchemist, Santiago finds his Personal Legend; he finds his treasure. And like him, now that I have found it after everything that I went through to find it, all of the pain, struggle, waiting and wondering, I am never letting it go.