Doing it. It’s something that I could never, well, do. I mean of course: actually writing. I’ve always ‘written,’ and mused about life on a park bench or in a coffee shop. It’s true that since age 10, I’ve always had ‘a poem,’ or ‘a novel’ or a ‘story,’ that I’ve been ‘working on.’ In fact, I even had a little special playschool desk with a secret compartment and old vintage crate in which a little mermaid pillow hid my writing, books and Zoobooks (for which I had a strange fondness), but did I ever call myself a Writer? Did I ever pursue a career in writing? NO.
And thus, my entire career has been a disservice to myself. In fact, last night my boyfriend made the statement, “I hope you don’t hate every job you have.” This comment made me think (and feel as if I’m a miserable complaining hag). I disliked many jobs I’ve had (except the actual act of teaching) and it’s entirely my own fault that I’ve disliked them. I’ve disliked the jobs because they weren’t, “doing it.”
I’ve mentioned before that as an art teacher, I told my students that they really COULD be artists if they made it a career, if they worked very hard at it and practiced through their creative frustrations and that this was never messaged to me in any of my art or writing classes. Sometimes, I think it is because the artistic world is scared that the fact that it’s still a job, the fact that it takes effort and practice, will take away from the mystique of it all and make it seem to real, too commonplace. So a bunch of kids grow up all angsty thinking they can’t really do what they want to do in life and end up unhappy in a career they don’t want to pursue, but are anyway. Thus, I began my career on a path to becoming a lawyer, and then a politician.
Before I made that giant leap to Law School though, I luckily had the epiphany that, HEY, I DON’T LIKE POLITICS and it hit me over the head just like that in block letters. I got off the train quickly after graduation and thought, teaching Art or English, I can do that, I like that. Then of course I realized, HEY, THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM IS A MESS and if I ever wanted to just teach the way teaching should be done, I would have to get back into politics to fix it, and I had already figured out that that didn’t work for me. Then I moved back home and realized HEY, I HAVE TO MAKE MONEY AND PROVIDE FOR MYSELF STILL. So I got a job in Marketing and I thought, ok, design+writing+creativity, I can do that, but now I realize that marketing really isn’t about creativity at all, instead it’s all actually very analytic and I never have time on top of all the administrative stuff I do being the low-woman on the totem pole to actually ever design and think creatively.
So I have decided to JUST DO IT. I’m applying to grad school, I’ve entered a poetry contest and a flash fiction contest, and I’ve started a graphic novel. If I have to work in the early/late hours of the day through sleepy eyes to do it, then I will do it. The main driving force at this point is that I don’t want to be a miserable complainer for the rest of my life. I don’t think I’m perpetually unhappy because when I’m toiling away on a poem, story or my novel, I feel happy. I’ve never complained about the actual process of writing.
If I ever have kids, which is unlikely, I will not tell them, “You can do anything you want,” or what I got which was, “Even though you’re a girl, you can still do whatever you want as long as you work harder than the men who you compete with for a job.” I will say, “Think about what you love doing, now do that all the time, practice it, blog about it, take classes in it, dream about it, form support groups on it, love it, believe you can do it, and REALLY DO IT.”
I can’t sum it up better than Bukowski:
“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery — isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”
Join me on my OriginalJourney and share your own OriginalJourney. If it relates to you or if you simply want to share a journey, this is the place to do it! We’re all Originals in our own OriginalLife.