When I told my parents that I was going to study poetry in college, they didn’t flinch. It wasn’t a curve ball. They weren’t keeping their fingers crossed that I’d go to medical school. Their dreams of having a financially stable daughter were not shattered. That’s because my parents never had that dream for me. For as long as I can remember, I wrote poetry. I was the intense kid in sixth grade English class who used too many adjectives and shared too much personal information whenever given the opportunity. I had no shame getting up in front of the class and reading aloud my three page poem about the monotonous despair of being a trite snowflake.

For most students, library was a time to nap or feel each other up in-between the bookshelves. For me, it was my time to sneak off and hole up with a book of poetry that used fancy words for private parts and made cuss words sound beautiful. (e.e. cummings was particularly good at only thinly disguising obscene sex acts.) And so by the time I was old enough to be applying for college, my parents knew what to expect. I wouldn’t be raking in the big bucks and sending them off on birthday vacations to Florence. Instead I’d have student loans weighing me down for the next 30 years, I’d incur fees for late rent and call often to cry about rejection letters. But that was OK with them. They knew that poetry was a tool and a vessel for me. And though majoring in poetry might not make my post college life easy, it would enrich my life boundlessly.

Leaving the bubble of parental encouragement and in-school affirmation, I quickly learned that the rest of the world straight up doesn’t get it. Here are 10 questions I’m most sick of answering…

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