There are few things in my life that I can classify as truly being my desires of my heart. I’ve longed for some for years, some for months, and now, for the first time in my life, I was denied a desire of my heart despite how much I wanted it. As much as I am a “word-smith” and lover of the English language, I can honestly say right now that there are no words to describe what it feels like to literally be denied something I have wanted with every fiber in my being and every last drop of blood in my stature.
The earliest felt desire of my heart was when I was 11 years old and we made yet another move–this time from Virginia to Oklahoma. For the first time, I loved where I lived. I loved my friends. I felt like I belonged in Virginia. Then, it was yanked away faster than I could ever wished upon even my worst enemy. For two painful years, literally the worst two years of my life, all I wanted was to be back in Virginia. My heart pined every single day to be back there and to be able to call it come. And after two years there, it happened. We moved back there immediately after my dad’s battalion command position was passed onto the next person. My ultimate heart’s desire (at that time in my life) was fulfilled. God truly blessed my family.
My second burning heart’s desire that I can remember was my dream to work at Starbucks. Not because I loved coffee (which I didn’t, actually), but because I loved everything about Starbucks. The people that worked there were seemingly similar to me–a little dark, arty, sassy, and friendly. After we moved away from Virginia the second time, when I was 15, I came to find out that in order to work at Starbucks in Florida, you must be at least 18 years old. Once again, my dream was unattainable. So, I settled for a Panera Bread that was free-standing along with a Starbucks next door in Valrico, Florida. For five years, I longed to be at Starbucks in the back of my mind, but justified that Panera was where I was meant to be, so I pushed it away. For reasons I will not mention, when I was 21 years old, I found myself no longer working for Panera. That very same day, I walked into a Starbucks near my apartment and filled out an application. Two days later, I was hired. It was my heart’s desire I had pushed aside for seven years that was suddenly a reality. As many of you know, I loved every minute I worked at Starbucks. I would go back there and work for free if I could. It’s so wonderful to finally receive something that was burning deep inside for so long.
The desire of my heart that was the deepest of all desires in my entire life (and probably will be for as long as I live) was wanting the love of my life back when he suddenly broke up with me in 2009 on our one year anniversary. For those of you that have been reading this blog and following me for a while, know that I’ve touched lightly on this. I don’t like to go deep into this in my public “published” pieces. Perhaps it’s because I don’t like reliving it, because I can say, as a matter of fact and nothing more, it was the hardest time of my entire life. I longed for him for seven months. For seven months we did not speak, text, email, or see each other. All I wanted was to have him back. I did not care about anything else. I cried myself to sleep at least four nights a week toward the end of the seven months, which was an improvement from crying multiple times a day. On April 15, 2010, the most unexpected and amazing thing happened to me. We met again, at his request, and at the end of the night, he kissed me and told me he still loved me and missed me. It was what I wanted to hear for so long. It was literally unreal to me. I still can’t believe it, now, almost a year later. We are back together and more in love than we have ever been. Praise God. He blessed me, yet again.
And now, it has been over a decade since I realized what I wanted to do with my life and who I wanted to be when I “grew up.” At age 10, my dream formed in my mind–me, a magazine writer. After a series of failed attempts, which eventually became fear of rejection, I decided to put my dream in the back of my mind yet again so I could pursue something that was perhaps seemingly more attainable. Turns out, I truly believe that though there are things that are more attainable, which I have acquired (ex: my receptionist job now), but it is painful to come to work every day knowing without a doubt what I want to do and what I need to do, but can’t do because of fear. Last summer, I let the fear guard down, big time. I took a huge leap of faith and applied to the #2 and #3 ranked journalism graduate schools in this nation, fully aware of my odds of getting accepted. But I believed in myself. I believed in my writing. I believed in my passion. I believed in my utter love for the industry. And I believed that would get me admitted, greater than any GPA, GRE, or undergraduate degree from a “big name” school. I started out pining for Berkeley, but the more I found out about Columbia, the more I realized that IT was the program for me. I met with the Dean of Student Affairs who was visiting Orlando on a whim. I peppered him with questions over breakfast. I left that meeting feeling more confident in myself than I ever have in my life. And I felt really, really good. Not because he gave me false hope, but because he described what they wanted and I believed that was me in every way. I wrote countless drafts of both essays, keeping in mind what the Dean had told me about what they look for in applicants. I had Notre Dame graduates, writers, friends, family, co-workers–so many people read these essays and I tweaked them to the best of my ability. I listened to nothing but NPR in my car at all times for two months before my writing test. I studied the news like a person obsessed. I blanked and forgot everything I had heard and studied for so long when I took the test, but I still left confident. I do not use or need spell check or grammar check, believe it or not. I didn’t care that they disabled it for the test. I sat in Starbucks for two and a half hours with my alumni proctor, who I referred to on Twitter and this blog as truly, “wonder woman,” in my eyes. I drenched her with questions. I poured out my heart to her. And she believed that I was the perfect candidate for the program. She believed in me, my passion, and my abilities so much that she called the admissions office and told them. Most of all, I believed in myself. I believed that if I wanted it bad enough, it could happen. Because that’s been the outcome in my life so far. God knows the desires of my heart and I tried so, so hard to trust Him and lean on Him during this time.
Last night, every dream, every wish, every desire within me to attend Columbia University shattered before my eyes. Denied. The university DENIED my application. After everything I had done, after all of my effort, all of my belief in myself, all of the time I put into it all. Literally, utterly, completely denied. I don’t think I will ever understand God’s reason for denying me my heart’s desire, but I have to trust that He has a plan. And maybe, just maybe, I can try again. I don’t want anything else. I don’t want to settle for less than I know that I want, what I deserve, and what I believe in my heart that I am truly capable of having. I want Columbia. I need Columbia.
Though you’ve denied me, Columbia, this is not the end of me. You will be hearing from me again.