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Legions of people wait in abeyance, idly toeing the threshold of their dreams. They kneel with their truest hat in hand, looking for another to weigh its worth and only wear it with their blessing. This validation is usually sought from someone they wish to prove worthy of their respect, but often the nod of anyone admirable will do, whether that reverence is based on true merit or false exaltation.

While awaiting someone else’s affirmative to duck out of the thraldom of tradition, they prospect for success in fields of unquestionable propriety, legitimate careers with worthwhile returns. A clamor of internal and external naysayers refute their innate passion as monomania, arguing if one’s ideal vocation isn’t financially profitable, it ranks no higher than a hobby or diversion, no matter how good their intentions.

And so a skill is mastered, and a paycheck acquired. A little bell of accomplishment sounds in their ear. The reward suppresses their old hunger, and they may go on to expand their repertoire to new proficiencies, generating larger paychecks and louder bells. In time, they might be competent enough to wear a millinery of hats, yet still fail to don the one that suits them best as it doesn’t evoke the accolades the stack of others have received.

A decade passes. Some at last are bestowed with the third-party confirmation to answer the call within, while many still wait. Others stashed their hatbox under the bed to gather dust, and a good portion sunk it off the nearest pier. But a few could no longer bear the discord between their interior life and the one they lived, and did the only thing left to be done. They opened the box, and with their own hands, crowned themselves.

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