I just watched The Big Sick, a movie based on a true story. It’s a romantic comedy, and it’s enjoyable, and my eyeballs did this thing where they started sweating (but, due to my odd inability to cry in public, my body absorbed the eye water), and after I left I felt content and inspired and oddly somber.
Seeing the story of another artist’s journey (in this case, a stand-up comedian–and the artist aspect is just one part of a big, beautiful story) felt… Hm.
I don’t want to just spit up words, so let me feel into it. . . . . It felt both inspiring and exhausting. Exhausting because fuck he had to work his ass off in order to get to where he is… and he had to sacrifice a lot, and take lots of leaps of faith. And seeing that reminds me of my last few years… And is likely a glimpse into my future, too.
I don’t wanna’ sit here saying, “IT IS HARD TO MAKE IT AS AN ARTIST,” because I’ve decided to release the belief that, in order to pursue one’s passion, someone has to be broke and struggling.
I don’t think that’s true.
I think it’s true if we THINK it’s true.
See… Here’s the limiting belief that I’m releasing and retraining. “The only way to make a real living is with a corporate job.*”
*UNIVERSE. I AM NOT SAYING THIS IS TRUE. I’m saying I used to believe it to be true, and am still dealing with the ripple effect of those beliefs.
So… Guess what? Getting corporate gigs is easy for me. It’s easy for me because I believe it to be easy for me. Same as getting kickass parking spots. I always do. Because I just decided it was true one day. With my education, experience, and talents, I could get a job in the city making… Y’know… A lot of dollars.
But at what cost?
It’s a weird place to be… 30 years old, single by choice, no children, living in my parents’ basement and writing every day in lieu of a social life in hopes that it’ll positively impact someone and in faith that somehow I’ll, like, be found or something.
But maybe that being-found image is a result of all the Disney movies I watched as a kid*.
*and as an adult; let’s be real.**
**totally gonna’ watch one tonight.
I spend 1-10 hours a day writing, and that’s not including my office job. (I’ve got a great part time gig 3 miles from my home. They call me their word sorceress.) I meditate, I go for walks, I do yoga, I drink filtered water and vegetable juice, and I am constantly reading books reminding me to believe in myself, to believe in God/Miracles/Chance/The Universe…
Because I’m dedicated to the point of borderline obsession.
I’m dedicated to fulfilling the dreams of sweet little 8-year-old Jen, and of 15-year-old Jen, and 20 and 25 and now-year-old Jen. The inner drive has remained steady, and the more I focus on it, the clearer and more convincing it gets. It’s impossible to ignore. Well… It is possible, because I did it for years, but it took a copious amount of drugs and alcohol and suppression to make that happen… which I don’t recommend.
There isn’t a linear progression with an artist’s life as there is with many corporate jobs. There’s no clear hierarchical structure or 90 day evaluations + raises. There’s no boss assigning projects and following up on past assignments.
It’s a shit pile of determination, dedication, discipline, and other d words to continue the alliteration. And there’s so much unknown.
Like… I KNOW in my heart that my dreams want me as much as I want them. I know in my heart that I’m closer to those coming true than ever. I know in my heart that the future I desire will come true. But do I know that in my brain?
No. But I gotta’ eat least try. And then try again. And again. And again ^ infinity.
It’s like choosing to get good parking spots. I settle into the heart-fact that it’s gonna’ happen, and as soon as I do that my brain is like “MAYDAY MAYDAY THERE IS A POSSIBILITY OF FAILURE”, and I have to quiet that voice by focusing harder on my heart, and on my feelings.
My brain just wants to help me… To prevent me from looking stupid or failing or whatever else.
But guess what? I have looked stupid and I have failed. I’ve been rejected. I’ve had days where it’s hard to get out of bed, and I think that maybe I should just pursue a future with the company I currently work for, because that’d ensure a great income.
And I’ve survived all of it. The pain, the worry, the heartache, the uncertainty. I will gladly take it all for the privilege to continue chasing my dream.
It’s weird to be 30… An age where people are now like, “You’re not married?” and reminding me that my biological clock is ticking… And I’m over here waiting for myself to suddenly sprout an interest in those paths, because that seems like the normal thing to do.
I’ve met people who are so thrilled to be parents. It’s their biggest goal in life and they can’t wait for it to happen. And once it does, they’re beyond thrilled.
And it’s beautiful to see.
But the only way I can relate to that… To that yearning… Is to compare it to my career. My vocation. My writing. I’ve always imagined myself traveling, learning about new cultures, doing public speaking and book signings, and writing all along.
When I try to think of a white picket fence with kids playing in the background, I instead see the sand… The backyard of a beach house. There are seagulls and crabs, and a couple walking with their young kids. And there’s a group of tipsy kids in their early 20’s renting the condo a few doors down.
And I’m sipping my tea, overlooking the ocean. Once my skin feels the right amount of tacky from the saltwater, I turn around, go inside, turn on opera music, and write.
I used to really struggle with decisions. With choosing only one path. I like having options. And right now, in this very moment, I’m ready to release this other path. This parenthood and family path. It’s not to say that I’m denouncing it. Rather, I’m embracing the path my heart desires, which is to dedicate my life in this way, rather than with a beautiful family.
I feel sad to say this, like I need to grieve some. And it’s not to say that I won’t one day change my mind. But… Right now… I’m publicly saying it:
I am 100% committed to experiencing my dreams coming true. I am 100% committed to helping others, and to doing what I love.
And I’m no longer ashamed of my preferences.
This is me.