You call me “flaky.”
Well, Flake You.
What you’ve labeled my “inability to commit to a path” is, in fact, a single-minded perseverance of integrity to the only path that matters- finding the true purpose of my soul.
Julia Cameron has been my kindred spirit lately, comforting me:
“When we yearn to be different, it is not just our restless ego. It is our accurate response to the creative energy within us that is seeking a new venue for expression.”
It’s been an adventure so far in finding what does not work.
I’ve driven from manure smelling green pastures across Texas, blaring Dixie Chicks out of my gloriously rolled down windows at 70mph on expansive back roads to the dry, dusty mountains and orange sunsets of New Mexico to cover for a preschool photographer with the flu. I learned to simultaneously wipe boogers and coax giggles from two year olds, while maneuvering the camera artistically before the age of digital. This included showing up with 200 pounds of studio equipment at 5:30 am daily.
When teaching positions were scarce, I spent a summer driving an ice cream truck. Best job ever, right? Surprisingly, parents now recoiled and glared, acting as though I were pedaling drugs and not delicious summer relief.
I spent many years in the corporate world, learning the perfect thing to say in the most diplomatic manner, constantly second guessing myself at every word.
“Did I do that right?” “Am I doing okay?”
I drove myself crazy in a sea of anxiety, putting out “fires” that distantly supported the dreams and income of others.
Note: Nothing was ever “on fire” though we totally acted like it.
My heart sympathized with the learning joys and woes of second graders as I poured my every moment, every thought into being the best I could for those kids. When I had squeezed out every ounce of energy, emptied my very soul to the point of daily tears, and then been asked for more, I experienced the selfless sacrifice of a teacher.
My deepest self said, This is closer. But still not it.
I was an intern/copy wench at a non-profit theater company, a concierge to the rich as they enjoyed lofty views of baseball, the right-hand person to the leader of a corporation.
I was the janitor, accountant, mastermind, and CEO all at once when I started my own business.
Family members rolled their eyes, commenting “I hope you can actually stick to this.”
I tried listening, doing what I was supposed to, picking responsible choices and chaining myself to them.
They always imploded.
I always burned up, burned out, left in a blaze of glory, stoked fires of anger until finally I had even learned the graceful way to leave, with warm hugs and well wishes. Every single time, the voice inside of me was screaming “this is not it! Try again!”
I wanted to push my insistent, inner voice down. When I did, I found myself on anti-depressants and anxiety medication. So that didn’t really work for me.
“We may pray about it only to discover that prayer is no help: God himself seems to be forging our new identity. The more we pray for it to go away, the stronger it actually becomes.”
There are those of you muttering, “wow, she is flaky.” May I direct you to my earlier sentiment. This piece is obviously not for you and I’m not sure why you’re still reading.
P.S. You are a robot.
According to Julia Cameron,
“As artists, when a shoe doesn’t fit us, we may try to walk in it anyway. If we are told that it fits, we may start to use our excellent creative imaginations to imagine that it fits. We may further tell ourselves that our own discomfort at the pinching and the pain of a wrong shoe- and a wrong personal and creative identity- is just our ‘ego.’”
When I learned about A. Maslow’s theory of Self-Actualization, where you are so passionate about your work that there is no line between work and joy because you are bringing out your deepest inner gifts and shining as you were always meant to, I made up my mind that there could be no other way.
I was told, “Work is supposed to suck. Just go make money.” But…
I need to live for more than the weekend, more than two weeks’ vacation, more than a house payment.
I will live my best life, the one I journeyed to this earth to live. The only way to do this well is to keep asking:
Is this the true me?
Is this the best I can offer the world?
Am I sharing my talents and my gifts in a way that only I can offer?
Do I wake up excited?
Or is there more?
“If a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies; and so a man.” –Henry David Thoreau
Perhaps others are asking these questions, too.
Please know that I stand with you. However you choose to find the answers to the questions, however you show up for yourself by feeding your dreams in any way possible, I support you. I respect you, salute you, and see you. I believe in you.
We are needed. There is nothing wrong with us- in fact, something is right. No, it doesn’t jive with the commercials, with how we were raised, with what we see.
But what if what has been projected as “real life” is simply a small factor in the universal drama? What if there is so much more- a whole other world- inside?
“Something larger and finer than we know calls us to be larger and finer than we dare.”
Let’s dare. Let’s do.
I’ll be me and you be you.
“At our craziest- looking, we are sometimes our most sane. Michaelangelo looked pretty strange, flat on his back, near the ceiling. With sweat, plaster, and paint stinging his eyes, not even he may always have enjoyed the comfortable certitude that he was painting a masterpiece. Strapped to a plank, with an arm tired from painting at a contortionist’s angle, he, too, may have wondered, What am I doing?”*
*all unmarked quotes are by Julia Cameron, from Walking in this World