Sitting in front of my computer with my social work title and Ivy League Master's degree, I clicked on my plain black mouse. Click. Click. Click. I stopped. I couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't distract myself from the truth I knew deep down. I couldn't settle for the picture of success that we were all told to chase growing up: full-time job with benefits, a few perks and a consistent paycheck that could buy us a real "future." I couldn't pretend the brand name degrees behind my belt and job in The Big Apple were enough for me.
In that moment on July 1, 2013, I decided to throw myself into the unknown. How did I get here? How did I feel so far away from myself and the impact on I wanted to make in the world?
Nearly one year later, I found myself sitting at Blank Spaces in my hometown, Los Angeles, at Ignite Good's training listening to amazing people share their stories. "When we align with our truth, who we really are, magic starts to happen."
Walking through the gated doors of Blank Spaces for Ignite Good's training, I thought I had already figured out my truth; Ignite Good took me to a whole another level. They brought me back to my "why."
As a kid, I followed rules. I was afraid to make anyone mad. I wanted everyone to like me. I wanted to be that Latina from a low-income background who surpassed everyone's expectations. I wanted my teachers to pat me on the back and say, "Great job, Priscilla! You matter. You are great. You are good enough."
Over the course of my academic career, I did what they told me to do. As our schools teach us, I followed my head, everything they told me to be "successful" and not my heart.
Then, college happened. I was exposed. I heard stories of people across Los Angeles, Central Valley, Mexico, Washington D.C., Spain and NYC. I learned about the real stuff -- what they don't tell you in the classroom. I saw myself in the people I met and saw what was really going on in communities. After this, I couldn't turn from what tugged at my heart: I wanted to make a positive impact on the world. I began to follow my heart and search for my truth.
After I graduated, I moved to NYC to volunteer for a year in the Bronx. My heart was fueled. I was inspired by all of the kids I worked with that year. We danced, created, played and partnered with the community to make our own reality.
Following that year, I chose to follow everyone else's path but mine again. I listened to what society tells us, "You need that degree to make a positive impact on the world. You don't come from money, so the degree will help. Your passion isn't enough." I attended graduate school, graduated with $100,000+ debt, and immediately found a job.
Sitting at my desk clicking away on July 1, 2013, I could have chosen to click my mouse one more time, to ignore that voice. What happened a year later?
I'm collaborating with like-minded souls who are about the change they want to see in the world. I'm sitting with a group of like-minded millennial change-makers at Ignite Good's training. "When we align with our truth, who we really are, magic starts to happen." This was magic for me.
We've all walked around with masks that cover what we're really feeling deep down at some point in our lives. We've all listened to someone's advice and gone through experiences that just don't feel right.
Just like me -- just like all of the young people in the world, you've got your story too and the world needs to hear it.
Ignite Good showed me that our genius lies in our truth. I created the work I'm doing today to show young people that their stories are powerful, that the world needs their individual experiences, perspectives, imagination, passions and talents now. They are awesome in their own light and can express their genius through characters, poems, paintings, songs, movements, clothing and create their own reality.
If I clicked my mouse one more time and didn't take that leap, I would have continued to do disservice to everyone, including myself. Our genius lies in our truth and when we pursue it, the world gets to experience it.
I challenge you to step up and tap into your genius. Listen to that voice. That's when the magic starts to happen. That's when the world gets to experience your gifts.
Take a leap. Attend Ignite Good's Campfire today, April 30th at 7 p.m.