TWELVE Tips to Help You Succeed in Life:Part Twelve
FINAL TIP: BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
Like so many other Neopians, I, too, had dreams. I initially wanted to be a pretty princess…mainly so I could spend my days wearing frilly dresses, having tea parties, and playing with my Usukis all day with no responsibilities. Over the years I had other (some really bizarre) career options: dentist, teacher, actress, singer, beauty queen, Usuki designer, reporter, ballerina, musical director, explorer, someone who made it big in the Stock Market etc. Over time, however, these dreams were cast aside and I was left with not a single goal to cling onto and no profession to aspire to be.
Even as the Month of Relaxing (Yet another weird name. Who would spend an entire month relaxing?) rolled in and the sun began to blaze brighter, I was still feeling lost. Yes my two jobs were both bliss, but did I really want to edit the NT and sell plushies for the rest of my life? And if I didn't, what SHOULD I be striving for? I was so confused that, one sunny day, I asked Cassie for her opinion. "I'm as lost as a Kadder missing an hourly feed session." I tried to sound as melodramatic as possible, taking care as I opened a box of Quiggle plushies.
Cassie smiled. "You sound like such a lovely dreamer, Nadine. If you can dream it, then you can do it."
"That's all fine and dandy," I sighed, "but what should I do?" I pulled out a green Quiggle plushie and hugged the pudgy thing.
"It's okay to be uncertain," Cassie insisted. "Lots of folks aren't completely certain about their futures. And even those who want to dedicate their lives to just one profession can change their minds later on." She shrugged. "Just embrace the present and your future will come, ya know?"
I sighed again. "If only my dreams were easy to shift through."
"Being a dreamer is a lovely thing," Cassie remarked. She winked. "It just means you're super creative and imaginative. And that sounds like a wonderful type of person to be."
Still feeling dissatisfied for some reason, I reached out to Scrappy the following Thursday. After complimenting how her hair smelled like strawberries, I asked Scrappy if it was okay for me to be hurdling aimlessly into a void of nothingness, like an asteroid drifting into the unknown depths of space. "Sure thing, Nadine," Scrappy said.
"Are you sure its okay, o wise and honorable Scrappy?" I asked.
Scrappy nodded. "It's perfectly normal to go with the flow," she said, sealing acceptance letters with Weewoo stickers. "Just because you're an adult doesn't mean you have to stick on one specific career goal for the rest of your life. You can keep on exploring until you find something that fits you like a glove."
"Wow Scrappy, you are so deep!" I marveled. This may seem totally biased, but hearing the whole 'don't stress yourself out on choosing a career path' lesson from Scrappy was a hundred times better than it coming from someone else. As usual, Scrappy was an articulate genius and her smile was so bright, I was sure Dr. Sloth could see it from the Virtupets Space Station! (And then plan to kidnap Scrappy, only to let her be and focus on enslaving other less-worthy Neopians instead.)
Scrappy's next words of wisdom were: "How about you focus on achieving a smaller goal for now. Maybe that can inspire you towards a bigger goal in the future."
"I don't think so," I said, shaking my head. I stopped to pet a Weewoo on the head and watched it fly out of Scrappy's office.
"Why not?" Scrappy looked up.
"Because it wouldn't be fair," I groaned, sinking into a chair and spinning it for a few minutes. "I mean, there is something I would like to achieve..." I continued spinning. "I just don't know if it'd be fair for me to submit something in the NT." Now I stopped spinning, too dizzy to continue.
Scrappy sealed another response. "Ooh, like an article?" she asked.
"Nah. More of a super awesome comic strip," I proclaimed. "But I can't draw and, last time I checked, I'm an NT editor!"
"So? Is that why you've been stressed out?" Scrappy wondered.
I shrugged. "It's just something I've always wanted to do."
Scrappy nodded. "Well technically, you are right: NT edits aren't allowed to submit and receive NT trophies." She grinned. "However, if you were to use an alias…and if someone else reviewed your submission…"
"So I can be a world-famous comic artist after all?" I gasped.
"Or you can collaborate with someone else and have them draw the comic," Scrappy suggested. "Though if you ever want to go big, I suggest you find another publishing source if you wanna use your actual name."
Following Scrappy's advice, I applied an ad in the NT for a comic artist to collab with. It took a week, but then a black Kougra named Ayden wrote me back and we arranged to meet at the coffee shop to discuss the comic. When we first met, I told Ayden my suggestion for a hilarious comic. "We can do an 'expectations vs. reality' comic about Kadding. You know, those whiny Petpets that are always asking for food—"
Ayden pulled out a notepad from his jean jacket. My first factoid about this possibly cool partner was that he liked to wear beanies—this first one was black with a white skull. "So, how many panels should there be?"
I shrugged. "Eight? That way we can express four different chaotic scenarios."
As we worked on the comic—Ayden drawing and me dictating each panel in detail because I had all the ideas and he had nothing since I was the creative genius in our relationship—we exchanged different snippets of info about ourselves. Ayden talked about recently graduating the N.C. with an arts degree, his passion for guitar-playing, and his dream of being a full-time NT comic artist. "I really dig all the different drawing styles from the comic pages," said Ayden. "Some of my favorite comics are the more original ones: featuring unique characters and their predicaments, ya know?"
"May favs are the ones that make me laugh," I said, uncertain if I sounded like some kind of nut bar. "And yeah, being a comic artist would be so much fun. I would love to publish some graphic novels in the future, and comics, and even a few picture books!" I laughed. "Then again, I'm not the most artistic Neopian around."
"At least you're funny." Ayden held up a panel he had drawn: a blue Aisha was grabbing the long blonde hair of a pink Uni in front of her, trying to feed a blue Kad. "This comic will be a great starting point for us," Ayden added, returning to his sketching. "And every aspiring comic artist needs a start in the NT."
I agreed….though I wished I could improve my own drawing skills. Even Mom thought that was a good idea when I talked about the comic-in-progress that night. "You used to enjoy your drawing classes in Neoschool, remember?" Mom remarked.
"Yeah, I guess," I said. I spun at my kitchen stool while Mom poured herself some warm milk. Now that her condition was improving, she didn't need yours-truly to heat up milk anymore. "It's a shame there aren't any non-N.C. art classes I can take," I sighed.
"There's no reason you should be ashamed to re-attend the N.C., Nadine," Mom insisted firmly. "It's not like you purposely spilled coffee on a professor because you didn't like her outfit."
I laughed out loud. "No, I am definitely not like Claudia!" (We haven't spoken in a while, so enough about her.)
Mom smiled. "You know Nadine; you really have matured quite wonderfully these past few months. Just earlier this year you were a flightily little thing with no concerns in the slightest. Now look at you: an accomplished young lady finally making it in the real world." She gave me a squeeze. "I have never been so proud of you, sweetheart."
"Pfft, you were already proud when I began working at Usukiland," I scoffed. "In fact, I'm sure you had the exact same 'so proud of you hun' look on your face back then, too!"
Despite what I said, I knew just by how watery my Mom's eyes were getting that she really was proud of me this time—like if I just completed this giant accomplishment that would benefit all Neopians and I was going to get a boat-load of awards for it. In a way Mom was right (me being more mature and blah), but I was still the same Nadine that started this series, so I guess it hasn't been that big of a change Mom's been claiming it's been. Yes I am still a bit flighty at times, but I'm also more certain, too. It also helped that the comic Ayden and I finished were able to finish was accepted into the NT three weeks later, earning each of us a shiny, plastic NT trophy. There were still some thorns to get over—like Mom's illness still being untreated, despite the symptoms clearing up—but at least I'm still getting a paycheck! So most of the bills can be taken care of…by me!
My final bit of advice? Well…I honestly don't know. I guess it would be some babbling speech about believing in oneself, persevering through hard and trying times, re-defining relationships with others, and keeping an open and positive mind. There's not much else I can say about anything else, so if I missed something, go mail it to someone you think will care.
Scrappy has been a humongous help for me in my life, so send her all your love and brownies!
And if I can dedicate this series to anybody, it would be the following Neopians: Me, my Mom, Daisy-May, Cassie, Lucy, Gary, that Draik and her adorable baby who live behind Claudia, Scrappy, Jade, Ayden, Me again, and of course…every one of you still trying to figure your lives out!
Well, this is the end of the line, folks! My life is still going on, so don't expect a new series about me unless something else life-changing happens. If not, then it was nice getting to know all of you! And make sure you check out the comic Ayden drew and I dictated in a future issue of the Neopian Times!