“Everyone thinks they are special. They are fools. This ‘American Dream’ belief is a cultural ideal and not realistic in the slightest.”
“Anyone can be successful if they follow their passions!”
Sometimes I feel like I am swimming in a sea of contradictions.
What frustrates me is that BOTH of these sentiments have goaded me before. I want to be successful and happy just like anyone else. I want to follow my passions. Do I really think I can make a living blogging? No. But there is a teeny tiny chance that I might be able to.
Yet, I have no idea how I can possibly make this happen. There are billions of blogs out there that are far more sophisticated with more pictures and posts and followers. My chance of reaching an audience of more than 20 is very slim.
So why do I keep doing it?
Because there came a moment in my life when I wanted to be free.
I was stuck in an 8-5 job, lonely for adventure, and positively ITCHING to do something. I was already crafting and baking and reading and writing outside of work, but I felt a nagging discomfort. Something was missing. An invisible blog kept poking at me. Day in and day out I would fantasize about it. My escape from my stupid, boring, cookie-cutter life. A chance to make my dreams come true. Blogging for a living? Heck yeah!
So I created one. I quickly realized how involved blogging really is. How frustrating it can be. Not to mention the actual writing part. I would find myself staring at my drafts, unable to finish them. I kept asking myself how this post and that post actually fit into my blog’s purpose, which was…what…exactly?
If I let myself forget that I was blogging, my fingers would fly across the keys as I purged my brain of its swirling musings. But then it would hit me. People are going to read this. And I’d just stop. Right there. Stuck in time by my own stupid insecurities.
I sunk lower and lower into a pit of self-doubt, returning again and again to my blog just to bolt minutes later. My posts gathered dust in the draft bin. The 8-5 job droned on. I started to forget why I even wanted to start a blog.
I was reading something online one day about how to strengthen the intimacy in your relationship and it hit me. I remembered why I wanted to start a blog! Because I had my OWN ideas about how to enhance intimacy in your relationship. And because I wanted to be free of having just one thing – a life-draining job. I wanted to plant a seed in my life and in the world that I could water and grow into whatever I wanted it to be.
I jumped back on my blog that night. When I felt that familiar, prickly cloud of self-doubt creep up behind me, I told myself one thing. It worked so well that I say it all the time, now. Especially when I need to resuscitate my courage for a post-publishing (you, dear reader, are invisible and thus terrifying).
This is MY blog.
All the time, I remind myself that this is my blog. My posts are not dictated by anyone other than me. I can post about something entirely irrelevant, if I want, because it’s my blog. Myblogmyrules.
And it is MY blog that frees me from living a life I hate. This is my silent megaphone, my triumphant declaration that I am alive and doing something that is nothing other than exactly what I want to do.
I have life lessons to share and an overflowing question cup. Curiosities abound within me and I’m constantly exploring them. Since the day I learned how to read/use the internet, it has been my duty to figure the world out.
I’ll be doing a LOT of that here.
One thing I’ve figured out is that new things are intimidating. Blog = cripplingly intimidating. It’s my everything! My hopes, my deepest desires, my faults and my frustrations. My blog is authentically me. Yet, it is not me at all. That’s why I want to set it on fire and protect it with my life all at once.
Another thing I’ve figured out is that following my passions makes me want to throw up. I think every dream-chaser experiences this. Fear of failure is like fear of death, but more approachable. Do I really think I’m going to die tomorrow? No. Do I really think people might potentially hate everything I blog about?y YES!
Fear of failure kept me from starting this blog. I waited WAY TOO LONG to be this happy. Being afraid of the unknown (failing) is what keeps each of us from living our dream life.
Well, not anymore, people! Here are a few things that we all desperately need to hear. Remember them and spread them around. Scream them at mirrors every day.
Do whatever the hell you want!
You know what I think? I think you can do anything you want to do. I think attitude = mindset and mindset is everything. You might not be successful in your goal, but you sure as heck are successful in pursuing your dream. Most people don’t!
I know you have a dream. It’s in you. It smiles coyly in your heart, glancing around to make sure no one sees it plotting your destiny. However ridiculous, far-reaching, or impossible it may be, you have a dream. An ideal life.
I LOVE people with dreams, because dreams are sourced by passion. And passion is life buzzing inside you. Take this little slice of brilliance, for example. Tell me this doesn’t get your bones dancing.
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” – Jack Kerouac, author of On the Road
God that quote gets me going. I would stop writing this post right now and go live a mad, passionate life driven by my deepest desires, if I wasn’t already doing that right this second. *coy smile*
If they aren’t you, they don’t matter!
Don’t let stupid people influence you. Stupid people = people who try to tell you what your own limits are. They aren’t going to make your dreams come true for you, so who cares what they think? Many things I’ve achieved were partly fueled by someone’s comment about my inability to do them. Obviously.
Most people are ordinary because that is what most people are. In order to fit in, we must fit in. If you try to be extraordinary, all the ordinarys around you will question you, poke you with a stick, do anything to convince you to be ordinary.
If my BFF and I are both waitresses, and then she decides she wants to go to college, that creates a problem for me. I can either decide to go to college or decide to keep serving. I would much rather keep serving, because the money is decent and college is just intimidating. And wait a minute – I thought she thought college was intimidating? What, now she’s changing her mind? WTF? Why? I thought we agreed that we wanted to be waitresses forever. I thought we had the same goals. I thought we had the same thoughts.
I either have to change my thoughts to match hers or keep my thoughts. But if I am the only one with my thoughts, how do I know I’m right? Well, I don’t want to go to college because it’s just too much for me. And I know she thinks it’s too much for her. I just have to remind her.
I will “reassure” her that we both love the life of a waitress. I will warn her that college is “too difficult” and “only brings you debt.” I will “encourage” her to keep living the ideal life of “no homework.” Because I want her to stay. Because if she stays that means she agrees with me and we never have to change.
If she leaves, I will have to find another friend who doesn’t want to go to college, either. That sounds impossible, so no, thanks. Current BFF must stay.
Meanwhile, my poor BFF who just wants to try something new feels like she can’t because of me. Me! What a terrible friend I am. I am “stupid people.” Hopefully she is strong enough to realize that it is my own insecurities trying to stop her from following her dreams.
The point is this: when people tell you it can’t be done, they are just wishing it aloud.
If you go and do it, they might be left in the dust, forced to scramble for other dusty people to confirm their choices.
When someone tells you that you shouldn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t dare do it, you better use that as the solid-gold motivation it is and DO IT.
If they are you, they don’t matter!
When you find yourself in a mental corner with a crowd of yous explaining all the reasons why you mustn’t explore your dreams, remember that all those yous have good intentions.
They do! The truth is that you will tell yourself just about anything to avoid risk. Risk = exposing yourself to disappointment. Those dream-deterring yous are just trying to protect you from risk.
Stay where you are, they whisper, it’s safe here.
When you think about it, you’re actually content with your life, they coo.
You might die…or worse, you might realize you suck, they babble.
Though they are tiny, those voices are powerful. And if you have so much as a stirring of desire to see if you can earn money doing what you love, you must learn to recognize those voices so you can sass them.
Stay where you are, they whisper, it’s safe here. Exactly. Safe = bored and unhappy.
When you think about it, you’re actually content with your life, they coo. So, the stars I’m reaching for are the “content” stars? Awesome.
You might die…or worse, you might realize you suck, they babble. If I’m not taking risks and getting my priorities straight, I might as well abandon my dreams entirely.
Sass = one of life’s muted joys. If you don’t have a strong sass muscle, you’d better start exercising it. Passionate people are inherently good at sassing themselves.
Live the life you want.
If you explore your passions and ignore anyone who tells you not to (including yourself), you will find that which you seek. It’s not easy to tune everyone out, and it is not easy to try something that makes you uncomfortable. Because it’s uncomfortable. Remember the last time you forced yourself to smile, say hello, ask that question, pick up someone’s pen? Remember how awesome you felt when you did it? Remember telling yourself that you felt awesome because it wasn’t really that scary? Remember feeling brave? Remember the high it gave you? That’s living! That’s life buzzing inside you.
So ask yourself…what kind of life do you want? Do you want an artsy life, filled with canvasses, sketch pads, homemade glue, and paint-stained clothing? Do you want an intellectual life, filled with poignant vocabulary words and stimulating writings about communication theory? Do you want a wholesome-goodness life, filled with mixing bowls, cookie scoops, and sugar crunching under your shoes while sprinkles fall from your hair?
I want all three.
You know what kind of life you want. Now weave it into the one you have now. One teeny tiny choice makes all the difference. Buy whatever you need and go for it. Explain yourself to no one.
Except me. Gush about your dreams in the comments, please! Tell me and everyone else about your passions! Type them out and make them real. And then tell us how you are going to make (or how you already are making!) them happen. Ask questions, answer questions, speak your truth. Do it.
Share your perks of interest!