Why be ashamed of what you want?

In the beginning of February of this year, before the lockdown, a friend and I ventured to the cinema after a good while of not going, to see the movie we had set our hearts on: Little Women.

I just had my heart broken – a little bit – from a long anticipated date that went sour and was also full of questions regarding my professional life. As the movie about these four women distracted my friend and I from our extraordinary, ordinary lives which we had shared for well over a decade, one phrase struck me particularly. It was uttered by Amy, one of the sisters, in quick surprise, and therefore easy to overlook if my eager heart had not jumped to attention by all the implications this phrase contained.

Why be ashamed of what you want?

The way Amy said it was perfect: without thinking, uncomprehending of any other mode of living. It was this way of delivering her message that struck me the most.
Without a doubt there is a deep fear inside of me of even admitting to myself what my deepest desires are. It’s hard to believe I’m worthy or even capable of pulling off my ambitions, of succeeding where I most want to succeed. It takes a great amount of courage to let ourselves be free in that way: to dream without check, to follow without shrinking that train of thought which expresses clearly and confidently what we need in order to find even an ounce of true satisfaction. How much of the way we live now is determined by that “sensible” voice which checks us at every turn? That will never work. You will be sourly disappointed. It’s too painful to hold this dream. It’s safer to just do what other people do, or less, since most people are more confident and capable than you.

To this voice that strangles all true and meaningful life, I repeat Amy’s words of incomprehension:

Why be ashamed of what you want?

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