Today is a new day and my hope is that you give yourself permission to do what inspires you.
I can’t begin to tell you just how empowering it is to give yourself permission to do something that you love…to shut off that voice of doubt that masks itself as “common sense” and just run with what your heart desires most.
In the past, I have pursued nearly every creative career you could imagine. I designed tattoo flash art when I was sixteen, drew portraits when I was in my twenties, painted folk art on saw blades, took up painting murals right before college, obtained a BFA in interior architecture and design, worked for a few years in a sign shop, spent a summer doing product design, self-educated myself in screenprinting and letterpress, grew a business in wedding and portrait photography, branched out further into graphic design, began working as a branding consultant, and most recently have dabbled in website design. The one thing I knew without a doubt was that I was a creative visionary…but I never seemed to be able to put my finger on that ONE thing that I was most passionate about.
Over the last 9 months, I have been really trying to do just that, and I have come to realize that there was one constant that has followed me through each and every exploration: my writing. Sometimes I wake at 3am to put my pen to paper, sometimes I stay up past midnight to finish capturing a thought or reflection. When my children were little and I had to drive a school bus to supplement our income, I would pull over on the side of road in between routes and write 2-3 pages while they were napping. I loved writing in high school…and regularly took all of the AP classes. Essays come easily, analysis feels like second nature. Observation is my strongest asset. My college humanities classes awakened a deeper passion when one of my most favorite teachers gave me the gift of realizing that what I am most drawn to is exploring and reflecting on the human experience. How is it that we choose to live? Why do we behave the way we do? What is it that we are living for? What does a life of meaning and purpose consist of? How do we survive? How do we overcome pain and hardship? These are the questions that I constantly find myself exploring among others…
I’ve recently been purging my studio–which is not an easy feat considering that it was bursting with 22 years worth of artistic supplies that I had collected during each of my previous explorations into the creative world of self-expression. This process was my way of slowly taking the steps that were necessary in order to align my life with what I am meant to do. I was intuitively letting go of all of the things that no longer served me in an effort to make room for growth. I sold one of my cameras. I sold my letterpress and many of its accessories. I’ve sold half cooked projects that I no longer saw a need to finish. What I kept and put front and center were all of my books (well over 200+) in my newly designated resource library, and all of my journals, essays, and free writings (which have accumulated to an unbelievable large stack that includes 30 + journals and numerous ideas). Looking over this vast amount of work that I have been doing all of these years without the intention of “working” is simply astounding. How much I have accomplished without even meaning too!
When I sold my letterpress last month…I told myself that if it went I was going to use a portion of the money to do something I had always wanted to do: attend a writers workshop.
Well, it sold within a week of posting it to Briar Press and I immediately signed up for a workshop that was coming up the following week in Madison, WI. The ironic thing was that it turns out they had gotten some unexpected scholarship money, and it just so happened that when I called to inquire about signing up…my inquiry came right after the announcement that there was extra money available. I was fortunate enough to be the recipient of that scholarship and the week I spent immersing myself in my writing was one of the most stimulating experiences I have ever had. It felt like freedom, like happiness…like pure joy! My mind exploded with what I had been progressively working on over the past 7 years.
Suddenly I remembered what a random stranger had told me a couple of years ago when I was trying to describe to him what it is I do for a living. After stating my various talents and my current focus of photography he said: It sounds to me like you have a message that you are intent on getting out into the world. It sounds like you are in the communication business and that you just have various means by which to communicate that message. Keep it up, and you will find the right medium in which to convey it.
I’ve begun to notice that if you listen closely and develop an awareness of the world around you, it will openly give you answers that lead you towards what it is you are seeking…even if that destination seems like just a vague notion at first.
And now, after all of these years…I believe I have found my best medium in which to share my message. I am in love with words and the power of language. I am in awe of its ability to lift people up and I am respectful of its ability to just as easily tear us down. Words are our history. Stories are our greatest source of wisdom. And the more I focus simply on my writing…the more I come alive.
I am just so incredibly excited to see where my words may take me.
I am ready. I am giving myself permission to pursue what I love. I am no longer going to allow myself to listen to that voice of doubt that has previously told me writing is not a profession in which I can succeed financially. It is not something you do when you are raising a family. If anything, these last nine months (3 of which were spent on bed-rest unable to work) have taught me that regardless of what I am doing for “work”, we will be okay. That somehow, the universe will provide for us just what we need when we need it. And more importantly, this time of healing and soul-searching has showed me that the closer I come to what it is I am meant to do by aligning my life in preparation, the more opportunities the universe will present.
My week in Madison was unbelievable. I tried to go without expectations…but I still carried with me hope. And what I received was exactly what I had hoped…validation that my ideas were timely and well received, encouragement that my voice was strong and that my talent was growing, and support in my current endeavor to write a very intimate and controversial memoir. I came home truly inspired. In three weeks I have completed over half of my book proposal, drafted a query letter, began researching 30+books , news articles, and films that are relevant to my story, and I have completed six full chapters, as well as a solid outline and chapter summary…all of this while working on setting up my new author website, twitter page and facebook page.
It feels as if it comes “easy” because it is what I am meant to do. It has been in my heart and my mind for years. I have been writing this story in my journals, as my previous attempt at fiction, in my former efforts of writing about my mother, in my latest efforts of healing. It’s what I think about when I do the dishes, when I go for a walk, when I wake in the middle of the night. It is a story that rises up from within, so pwerful that I can no longer suppress it.
I truly believe that one of the most important things you can do for yourself…especially if you are in a state of extreme discontent, depression, or in need of healing…is to give yourself permission to do what sets you on fire. Allow yourself to simply come alive.
I’m curious to know…what is it you have not allowed yourself to do because you always told yourself it wasn’t practical? And what are you going to tell yourself now?
Small steps in that direction are all you need to set amazing opportunities into motion.
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|Be Still. Have Faith.||Believe That You Are Powerful Beyond Measure|
|Be Still. Have Faith.|
|Believe That You Are Powerful Beyond Measure|