I was a really logical child, probably more serious than most kids are. In kindergarten graduation, when other little girls went to the mic and said, “I want to be a princess when I grow up,” I was the kid who went to the mic and expressed my interest in being a teacher. I knew princesses weren’t real. I mean, yes, there are princesses in the world, but not the kind that get captured by dragons and where poofy pink dresses and live in stone castles with moats and knights at their beck and call.

I don’t know how I knew that “princess” wasn’t a legitimate job choice. I just did. I can never remember a time when I dreamed, like all little girls, of being whisked away by my prince on a white horse. For the record, I can also never remember a time when I believed in Santa or the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy; all I remember is thinking, “ duh” when my mom sat me down to have a conversation about those things. I was only four at the time, at most.

I do remember being jealous, though. I was jealous of the girls who still did believe, who walked up to the mic in front of all of our smiling parents and said to their adoring audience that they wanted to be a princess when they grew up. I wanted to be a princess, too. I just couldn’t understand why they didn’t know they were wrong, that you couldn’t be a princess. Why didn’t anyone correct them? Why couldn’t I believe that too?

More and more, I think I was the wrong one. I was the one who should have been corrected.

Technically, you can be a princess. Look at Kate Middleton if you don’t believe me. But it wasn’t about the job itself. It was about dreaming big, something that I didn’t really think I could do. When I was a bit older, I remember people asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I always said something really realistic and logical (usually “teacher”) - but I knew I wanted to be a writer. It was what I loved. I just did think anyone could actually be a writer. Writers were people who had “real” jobs during the day and sat behind their typewriters in the evening, trying to pen the next great American novel.

I felt the same way about my aspirations of being a writer as a did a few year earlier about being a princess. It was wrong. It wasn’t real. That line of thinking sticks with a person. It was well into college before I had the guts to believe writing was actually a valid career choice.

I still have a hard time with it some days.

It’s something I think we all need to learn, though - that you really can reach for your dreams. When we’re kids, those reams come across as wanting to be princesses, but today, most of us are just as afraid to face our adult dreams and admit that they are real. We’re too logical. We can’t do this or that as a career because we’re not good enough or we won’t make enough money or whatever.

But how do you know?

One of the smartest things I ever did was take the plunge to become a full-time writer. If I would have been more logical, really crunched the numbers or got a part-time job and wrote in the evenings, I would have said there was no way I could support myself. But if you’re a driven person, you’ll be amazed at what you can do when you have to do it.

You really can do anything you want to do if you’re willing to work hard and take chances. There’s still time to be a princess when you grow up. Wear your poofy dress with pride.

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