You may be wincing as you read this. One eyeing the screen, readying yourself for the moment that I go full on graphic and gory with my birth story. I will relieve you (or possibly disappoint you) in saying, easy there, tiger, this ain’t that kind of story. This is a different birth story altogether. This is a moral of the story kinda tale that everybody needs to hear because, to be honest, you’ll probably (hopefully) see yourself in here. Somewhere. At some point. Even a glimmer…Like it or not. After all, that’s the first step: To face it all, sleeves rolled up, ready to really see who we are – like it or not. Or as a friend perfectly states it: with warts and all.
Just showing our razzmatazz side to the world is the death of creativity. We can all smell inauthenticity like bloodhounds. It’s false advertising that keeps the stakes high in the least productive way possible. The energy that is raising the stakes to scrape the social sky needs to be redirected pronto to whatever your creative jam may be. It doesn’t need to be screamed from the rooftops, posted with a gazillion emojis or said out loud at all. It just needs to be put into motion. Hey, if you want to have a “Muse or Lose” housewarming party with your nearest and dearest because that will drop the hammer for you, then do it. Whatever we need to do (and we all know what we need to do, sorry to break it to you) has to be set in motion.
I need accountability. So do you. We all do. No matter what shape it comes in. In my 20’s I dabbled with what I thought was accountability. From the outside it looked like I was diving right into the deep end, but in reality I barely stuck my toes in the water. The minute I would feel the creative push raring to go inside of me, I would redirect myself straight into a bar stool. I was so terrified of the lurking rejection sharks, that I consistently stayed in the shallow end teeming with stories, ideas and characters in one hand and an overflowing vodka in the other. Not only did my self-discipline muscle begin to atrophy at record speed, but my anxiety and envy of others’ successes ballooned to the point of bursting.
What to do? What to do? (Cue: finger drum, finger drum) Well, duh? More vodka, please! Fortunately for me, the self-sabotaging ways did not stick for too long. We all know the self-applied victim label doesn’t look pretty on anyone. (Nope, not even her.)
I’ve tried it all on for size: I’ve blamed. I’ve procrastinated. I’ve bobble-headed the hell out of storylines, inciting incidents, character arcs and the best endings OF ALL TIME without writing anything. Not.One.Damn.Word. I’ve done it. Not proud of it, but there it is.
You know what got my ass in the chair? Not therapy. Not money. Not even heartbreak.
One word: Kids.
You may be deflated with that response. You may have been expecting a magical, novel tip. You may be thinking I’m saying that everyone who wants to push themselves needs to go run and pop out babies (or help pop out babies). Not at all. Wrong message completely.
Hear me out: When I was free as a bird, with no cares in the world and all the damn time I wanted, I wrote in thick doses in random moments. No consistency. No perseverance. For me, no accountability equaled no drive. Little did I know that was all about to change when I fortuitously went ahead and fell in love with another creative. Next thing I knew, I was advising, informing and spewing out witty false confident statements. When in reality, I was projecting my own fear in spades. It would cause fights, frustrations and major angst. Until finally, I realized that I needed to a) stop talking and b) heed my own advice.
Fast forward to now: two kids and one marriage later…I’ve come to practice what I preach. There’s a good chance that one of our kids will be drawn into the arts (pun intended). And you know what? Even if that isn’t their path, rejection is inevitable, no matter what the future holds for them. This is especially true when you find the strength to push yourself towards reaching your highest potential. I want our kids to reach their highest potential. I want them to brave it on through their fear and moments of self-doubt. To come out on the other side, possibly wounded, but in one piece feeling even stronger and more resilient than ever. Don’t we all want that for the people we love? Of course! So why then, am I rooting for my kids to be that way when I was having such trouble doing it myself? How can I be the role model I strive to be: showing strength through fear and growing resilience through rejection, when I’m lounging on the sidelines cheering them on? Don’t I love myself as much? Don’t I deserve to be rooted for and dusted off just the same? HELL YEAH! We ALL do!
Our children, nieces, nephews, neighbors, and future leaders are looking up to us and soaking in our behavior on a much deeper level than our words will ever permeate. If it’s not for a child in your life, then who? Yourself? Your community? Your ancestry? The greater good? Find your “who” and don’t get fooled again! Just get on it!
I don’t want to be a hypocrite. I want to be a warts and all human being who steps up to the plate even when I’m out of balls, having solid faith that if I keep practicing my swing, balls will emerge and a home run will be in my future. Batter up!