I don’t need to tell you what a year this has been. As we sit with quarantine, face a family-less holiday season, twiddle our thumbs as we wait for the U.S. to make a decision, witness countless atrocities all over the world and worry about climate change, a question I ask myself is: Can I dream anymore?
When I started this blog, it was a different world. I felt that if I took a leap, I had a suspicion, or an inner knowing that it could pay off. I told myself that if I wanted to change my life, I had to change how I was spending my time. I wanted to investigate a new career, meet new people and explore my creative voice. I saw countless women starting their own businesses. I witnessed a boom in female-led creativity. The technology available made me feel like I could publish my own magazine, reach out to anyone, and say what I wanted. I listened to my inner compass and made friends with discomfort.
Now, as I feel physically grounded by mean parents (or so my inner teenager feels), I also feel creatively grounded. I cannot find my inner compass for the life of me! My judges are STRONG. “You want to write a book? You don’t know how to do that. You want to start a podcast? What’s the point, you aren’t a celebrity, no-one will listen. You want to make a documentary? Dude – you need to find a job! Get paid! You are a parent now – get serious! Get practical! Get a real job.”
I have been listening to inspiring podcasts, but they don’t help me because those people have already made it. They are getting 100% of their incomes from their creativity (and an Oprah endorsement). They have teams of people working for them. Where does that leave me? Is it too late to even consider what I want to do? As I said here, I am in a period of questioning who I am, and I’m asking what really matters anymore.
When we published this article on Jane Fonda and Patrisse Cullors after I watched them speak at C2, I was on the edge of my seat witnessing these strong women speak about changing the world. But man, the frustration I felt from not having an army of viewers made me feel even more hopeless. I have never spent time trying to monetize or market myself on social media. I always felt that if it grows authentically, great! But I never really cared to get an advertising deal based on my followers. I preferred to spend my energy on writing, either for this blog or for other sites. Now, I find myself wondering – how do you grow your audience of like-minded and motivated-to-act people? Even though these two (important to my heart) stories were published by a fabulous influencer and received hundreds of likes, I was still feeling frustrated. It’s not enough of an audience to create real change. Again, I felt hopeless and tried to make myself focus on the practical. Job boards sure do the trick to cheer you up don’t they? I mean – Ugh.
Then I tried calling my therapist. We went over my typical blocks and it seemed that what I was seeking was a doctor’s permission to create. To do it because it’s who I am, because it’s fun. (Can we even have fun anymore?) She also reiterated what the podcasters say – The world needs creativity now MORE THAN EVER. We not only need the inspiration, we not only need creative content to fill each groundhog day as the impending winter whirls around us, but we also need brave people to step forward as leaders and tell the truth, stand for something or as Patrisse said – “JOIN SOMETHING, DO SOMETHING!”
Even my appointment with my therapist held no real lasting change. I still couldn’t find my compass. She relaxed me, yes. But she could not lift my self-doubt, or improve my world view. (She’s not a magician!) It still felt like we lack an atmosphere that fosters creativity.
Being creative means taking risks, and who is in the necessary state of abundance right now when stock piling hand sanitizer and lamenting the tequila scent is slowly driving us mad?
Then I spoke to my husband on the weekend. He supports my creative journey. He encourages me to keep pursuing my creative dreams. But, his words were not enough to convince me. Excuses mounted. Until he pulled a trick on me. He said “What would you say to yourself if she was sitting over here?” I responded fast! I said “You are a unicorn! You are full of energy! You can do anything you set your mind to! Look at what you’ve already accomplished!” Woooaaaahhhhhh dude – where did that come from? How did my couch potato, Halloween candy devouring, hopeless self come out with those words? That felt good, but come Monday morning, the gloom set back in, again. (Why are we so comfortable sitting in a gloomy state? Is it just easier? Or do we have to go deeper than that?)
Cut to – More inspiring podcasts! More comfort tv! And then this *bleeping* U.S. election took over my Tuesday. I simply could. not. take. it. so I reached out to a fellow creative crystal loving friend for help.
I caught her on a good day where she was working on a project that matters to her. And BOOM. She said everything right. Our conversation took place after some dancing to this song. The music had started working on my icy heart, and I could feel the tension start melting. She said 1) of my judges – Tell them to %$# off. They do not serve you. 2) Lean in to what serves you. You are a beautiful writer. You have an audience. If community is what you need, find one, or make one! 3) Stop being mean to my friend, because I like her. 4) Don’t pursue your creativity for the money, do it because your soul told you to and coming off seeing these powerful women speak, use that to give yourself permission to follow your passion. Focus on it every week, even if it’s only for an hour. And most importantly 5) The world needs kindness right now, so start with yourself. (She also said if you want to talk about nail polish, do your nails and watch Sex and the City – do that! So, stay tuned for some stories on nail polish and holiday décor. We are going to have some fun whether you like it or not!)
And honey – after I got off the phone, my stomach relaxed into a summery still lake. I wrote down the beginning of a structure for my documentary. I danced some more. I went to bed at 8:30. I skipped the vote counting and slept like a mofo.
So, how does this apply to you? I can’t answer that, but I hope that it gives you hope, that it opens your heart to possibility and at the very least, reminds you to dance.
Thank you my husband for supporting me. Thank you my friend for saying what I needed to hear. And thank you for sharing this post and passing hope along. Let’s do this!