It's the first day of the quarter and we are supposed to go around the class and introduce ourselves. This isn't something new to me as I've done this dozens of times in various class over the last few years. Many times, professors ask the students to mention something interesting about themselves or their hobby - which I've always mentioned drifting as my "cool hobby".
Today was different. We were asked what we do for a living and what we hope to achieve vocationally, in the future. I experienced a moment of pretty bad anxiety awaiting my turn. I introduced myself and explained that I was working towards becoming a professional driver and I hope to manage my racing program and start by own non-profit organization (Not A Kitchen). I know this may not seem like a big deal to everyone on here, because I post about drifting 24/7. But I've always minimized it in my mind - as something I just do on the side in addition to my job or my everyday life. Yes, I've always said that I've wanted to earn my FD license, but I've always had other career goals. This is something I've unconsciously done out of fear of failure and fear of rejection.
Fear of failure because this isn't something I'm familiar with - I know I can do well in school. I know I can go get a "professional" degree in law or medicine. I'm confident in my abilities to accomplish those things. But drifting has always been a challenge - and that's part of the reason why I love it so much. I've never been the best at it and I put in quadruple the work in drifting than I have in other things, and get the same result. There is no "guarantee" that I will become a professional driver and that I will excel at it.
Fear of rejection comes from my surroundings - I'm surrounded by MANY successful people. Also over 90% of the people I grew up with, went to school with, my family, etc. have gone into the healthcare industry. That's all I really know. I've always been embarrassed by saying that I wanted to pursue drifting as a career. It's not as reputable as being a doctor. It's not relatable. I almost feel like people perceive me as some delusional kid that's not living in reality. My parents often tell relatives and friends that drifting is my hobby. Drifting is NOT my hobby. My hobbies are going on foodie adventures and playing video games. Drifting IS what I am pursuing! This is what I am working on every single day – hundreds and thousands of hours dedicated to achieving my goals – yet here I am making it seem like something I “just do” on the side when I have free time. I’ve been guilty of doing this on multiple occasions. Many relatives or old friends ask, “What are you up to nowadays?” I seem to always revert to my standard answer, “I doing my Master’s program full-time and working in marketing full-time.” Am I lying? No, that’s all true. But I’m definitely intentionally leaving out drifting and the roll it plays in my life. Yes, school is important to me. Yes my job is important to me. But when it comes down to my ultimate goal – it’s driving and making my racing program a success. It’s making Not A Kitchen a success.
Today was different. I don't want to not be myself. I don't want to let fear dictate my life. Fear of failure, fear or rejection, fear of whatever - I can't let that get in the way anymore. I want people to know that this is what I'm doing today and this is what I want to do tomorrow. This is what I plan on doing with my career. Why should I be ashamed of that? I’ve been doing myself a disservice this entire time by minimizing my passion as a hobby. I’ve been robbing myself of the joy of being myself. Hiding, what I consider a large part of my identify, has been undoubtedly adding to my daily stress.
And sure, my goals may actually change along the way. I might, along the way, find something else I enjoy more than drifting (not likely). However, if I decide to change paths, I would never forgive myself if that decision was rooted in fear.
I no longer want to hide in my own skin – it’s truly been an imprisoning experience. Time to cut the chains and be me. It actually is a little terrifying writing it down so publicly, but it’s freeing. Maybe a few of you will be inspired to do the same and own what makes you, you.