Am I the only one who gets that question? Because seriously, I get it ALL the time.
DISCLAIMER: I am not saying there is anything wrong with being an English teacher! I simply wish people wouldn't always assume that's the only thing you can do with a degree in English.
No, I do not want to be an English teacher!
When people find out what my major is, that's always the question. "So, do you want to be an English teacher?" Why do so many people assume that the only thing English majors ever want to do is teach?
But, just to be polite, I always laugh and reply, "No, I don't want to be an English teacher." I've learned the question is invariably, "Well, why not?" so before they have to trouble themselves with posing the question, I hastily interject, "I wouldn't have the patience." Which is completely untrue, because there are few things that require as much patience as staring at a blank screen and knowing that within an hour, several thousand words will have to magically appear.
Do you want to know what I want to do? What I really, really, really, indescribably, uncontrollably want to do? I want to write novels. I want to write spoken word. I want to write poetry and lyrics and prose and essays and journal entries. I want to live my life for that 3:00 a.m. moment, where by all accounts I should be asleep, but every fiber of my being is alive with the knowledge that tomorrow, Sir Edumnd and Lady Liria are going to be dueling across the pages of my newest novel. I want to live for that moment when I'm shaking violently and have to lean against the wall, because I know beyond any shadow of any doubt what I have to write, and that I have to write it now. I want to live for that moment when I accidentally write my current main character's name at the top of a homework sheet, because I'm so caught up in her mind.
To say I am an "English" major is so misleading. My passion for writing isn't structured. It doesn't need citations. I don't use outlines, and nothing I write is ever a complete draft, because there's always something that can be changed, someplace that needs alliteration or metaphor or onomotopaeia. Do you know what my major ought to be called? Not just Creative Writing, but Passionate Writing. Writing that convinced my friend to keep from self-harm. Writing that caused a girl with an eating disorder to reevaluate her eating habits. Writing that kept another friend from losing faith. Writing that tears out my heart, chunk by chunk, writing that bleeds words and splatters parts of my soul all over the page. Writing that comes from a place deep within I never even used to know existed. Writing that is my all, my everything, so much so that going without writing one day gives me withdrawal symptoms and makes me want to tear my hair out because everything that's coming from my fingers onto the paper is so personal and so real and so vulnerable that I just want to weep and cry out "Mercy! Mercy!" and sometimes even makes me want to shout "Make it go away, make the writing go away! I can't handle it anymore!"
I still go back to it, every single hour of every single day.
I know this sounds melodramatic, but it's true. The world is melodramatic, you see. We cower in fear of our potential; we tremor in the face of redemption. We retch from our own wickedness and bear such heavy burdens upon such fragile shoulders. We wrap our arms around love, we fall in love with the wrong people, we realize that who we fall in love with often says something about ourselves.
And I want to write it. With everything I am, I want to write it.
I don't want to be an English teacher.