Several times before, I have mentioned that when I was 20-years-old, I was nearly killed in a car accident. After things became less critical for me and after I was able to return to college, I began to reflect upon how short life is. I became committed to the goal of living more deliberately, and that is when I began my journey along the Road Less Traveled.
I have always been the arty type. I have always been “driven by passion, seized by obsession, delighted by creation, enthralled with expression, entranced by vision, diverted by daydreams, filled with emotion, fueled by compulsion, consumed with beauty, and blindsided by inspiration.” However, I have always been smart, too, and I quickly realized that acting arty would not win any popularity contests. I wanted to be a cheerleader, and I wanted to date and dance and play the life of the party.
I became a closet creative, and I lived two lives. Outwardly, I was what I felt that everyone else wanted me to be and on the inside, I was someone else. On one hand, there was the social Jacki–the cheerleader, Miss Personality, and Campus Favorite. On the other hand, there was the REAL me–the person whose heart followed the whippoorwill’s call deep into the caverns of the night. Deep within, I was the person who sat, staring into the campfire, feeling its heat warming my body and sensing its flames, as they danced across my eyes. I would watch the flickering until it hypnotized me and lured me into a world that was completely removed from that of anyone else around me.
Unlike the norm, I was the kind of kid who would hear the wind rustle through the leaves at night, and I would watch their dark shadows gracefully bend and sway in the breeze. I was the type of child who would listen to the rain pattering on the roof and be comforted by it, and I was the kind of kid who stared at the stars, as I hung my heart on the tip of a crescent moon and pensively wondered why.
I well remember 6th grade. The science teacher was talking about taste buds; and on that day, I dared to actually try to express what was on my mind. I said, “I wonder if everyone’s taste buds taste the same way. I wonder if a carrot tastes the same way to me as it does to everyone else.”
All the other people in the room snickered, and the teacher’s face glazed over. I didn’t get an answer to the taste bud question, but I became convinced of what I had always suspected. People just didn’t get me.
For the world, I became Miss Congeniality, but deep inside, I was someone else. As I said before, when I was 20-years-old, I was nearly killed in a car wreck. Months later–after I had begun trying to reconstruct myself, and I began to reconsider the course of the rest of my life–the one that I had almost lost. In college, I had managed to become popular with a lot of people; but I had to admit that those people did not like
In college, I had managed to become popular with a lot of people; but I had to admit that those people did not like ME–they didn’t even know ME–they liked that other person–the person who I had invented for them to see–my Imaginary Friend, and my Imaginary Friend didn’t even like Me at all.
In a way, I may be fortunate that I nearly died at the age of twenty. Sooner, rather than later, I got off of my fast track toward someone else’s life, and I got on “The Road Less Traveled”–the one that has allowed me to march to the beat of my own drum.
©Jacki Kellum February 21, 2015