This I Believe

Stacy - San Diego, California
Entered on February 20, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

“Do what you love… and fuck the rest.” In these words I have found more meaning than in anything Shakespeare or Dante had ever written, yet, they come out of the mouth of a mere teenager. He is Dwayne from the movie Little Miss Sunshine; he’s an angry adolescent who just lost his dream to become a pilot to his recent discovery of colorblindness. Dwayne is fictional, but his words are as real to me as was my muddled vision of happiness from past years. His words are blatant, and a bit naïve to believe that anyone could really just do what they love and fuck the rest (and get anywhere), but I still find self-assurance when I repeat the words over and over to myself to extinguish the recurrent fear that I’m going to end up working in a cubicle because I didn’t work hard enough in high school.

Upon first hearing Dwayne say it, I completely lost myself thinking about how epiphanic the words really were to me. I’d always pent up my frustration of never doing what I wanted to do; the focus of my life was about keeping my grades up, because I’d always grown up with the Asian parental pressure that I should: (1) study hard in high school, (2) go to an Ivy League school, and (3) become a doctor. Entering middle school, I learned that anything below an A was bad, that grades came before anything else, and that to get a B+ meant I had not worked hard enough. And for years, I believe in this. Looking back, I see that I had straight A’s throughout all my years in middle school, except for one B+ that first semester of 8th grade Geometry. Even up until now in high school, I’ve gotten straight A’s. But despite this nearly flawless record, I know I still look back thinking, “Wow. Life, since middle school, has really, really sucked.”

More recently, I figured out what I want to do when I “grow up”. I want to be a music producer, a screenwriter, a director, a photographer, an Apple employee, and a rock star/philanthropist like Bono, all at the same time. I came up with this list because I had a panic attack thinking about dying and having my tombstone read, “Here lies Stacy Moon. She got a B+ in 8th grade Geometry, but that’s okay because she became a rich doctor later.” I know that the little moments of joy I find these days are when I’m rocking out on my $50 guitar, or when I’m capturing a beautiful moment with my dad’s old Minolta, or when I’m writing what I, at least, think is a hilarious scene. I still keep my grades up (though they’re not phenomenal). But I have a clearer sense of my real pursuit of happiness, and I never forget to remind myself that sometimes, you just have to, “do what you love, and fuck the rest.” This, I believe.