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I belong to a cult. Not just any t-shirt-wearing, bridge-jumping cult, but the scariest cult of all: National Charity League, or an organization of mothers and daughters dedicating their time to philanthropy and shoes that match their teatime dresses. The organization is composed of some of the worst and best women I have ever met. For one of the meetings, where they were blindly hoping to mold us into productive young women, we were required to write a speech on our “goals and aspirations.” My stomach sank. The girl sitting next to me was accepted early admission at the beginning of junior year to Columbia University for soccer. Soccer. Columbia. Oh no. What could I account for? My goal to be a completely different person in ten years?  How could I explain that to a group of successful women and their daughters bound to be equally successful? This is my speech, written in a scared fury:

“I wish I had set goals and aspirations. Things would be easier for me and I could be efficient like I see everyone else being. But I am not quite sure that life is for me because my goals are much more abstract than a certain college or job. I want to know as much as a person can know. I want to read thousands of books and say, “Yes, I read War and Peace three times.” with the confidence of a person other people roll their eyes at. I immensely admire people who know where they are going and aspire to something noble, like being a doctor or attaining an Ivy League education. I think I gave both those up once I discovered naps and music and writing. I get so lost in my head that I think that this is how I’ll be my entire life and I know I have to learn to live with that. So my goal is to make friends with my head. Stuff as much knowledge in there as will fit, and talk to other people who love just knowing as much as I do. I know this comes with a higher-level education, so I’m just praying some college will look at me and say “Hey. This girl isn’t really that stupid, we should let her study literature at our school!” Who knows what kind of job I can get when all I write on a job application is ‘worked as a hostess for a couple weeks before quitting and has a room with at least $500 worth of books in it.’ Goals and aspirations: still pending.”

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Ella-mentary Thought