Pimpin Your Craft
I spent a long time trying to fit all’a this (me) into a nine-to-five gig and let me tell you, that created an enormous amount of fear. I also had this notion that it was only me, that I was the only one struggling to simply follow the rules. In fact, I’ve always felt that I was a bit of an outsider. I think what’s most comical is that I also thought I was the only one who wasn’t normal. Ha! Did you laugh? If not, I’m laughing for you because that is a complete joke. Today, I’d ask you what the hell is normal anyway, but at the time I just wanted stability.
I wanted so badly to be “successful” and “approvable” that as I was making my decision to go back to school for my master’s, I constructed this whole concept of what would be an admirable life based on a field that I took interest in. Thing is, just because you are capable, just because you don’t mind delving into a thing doesn’t mean you should build a life on top of it. It’s kind of similar to how you really shouldn’t date some of the people you did because you based it off a part, not a whole or possibly a concept and not the actual product. Really, it should have been a glittery moment in time instead of becoming a diabolical nightmare… I digress.
So, I earned a master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology. Yep, and I used it for one year sorta; kinda; maybe. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed that content, but don’t ask me about the return on my investment. Nevertheless, I’m thankful for the experience because during that time, I found the courage to invest in myself, to actually stop and listen to what the little wild thing on the inside wanted. Now she didn’t fork over a manual, but I was able to sum it up into a word: free. She said, "I want to be free".
This new direction I’d decided to embark upon took some brainstorming, web surfing, and wine drinking, but I decided to start a grant writing and organizational development company. I figured it correlated with what I was doing currently, the degree I’d just acquired, it allowed me to write, and, most importantly, it allowed me to be free because I could do it from wherever I was at. I also got a regular freelance gig and I started to see the light. Once I got ballsy enough, I left my nine-to-five and took up a part time teaching gig since I was nervous about walking away from a W2.
Simultaneously, I worked shifts at a local fitness studio for fun and jumped in on a youth leadership program. Funny enough, I really thought I’d have time to develop my creative pieces that would give me complete freedom… What are you thinking? And no, I’m not asking myself this aloud in dismay, I’m asking you. You’re probably thinking, what in the world is she thinking?!
Others may be seeing the big picture, realizing how I went from one box with high walls presented as a very adult-like job to one that I created for myself. Errrrybody was getting bits and pieces of me. Furthermore, we all know that our personal lives do not spare us at all as we’re fumbling about trying to understand ourselves. Needless to say, that plan was also short lived.
I finally figured out what I wanted to do, what could afford me peace and freedom, but I had effectively pimped it out. I’d just heard, maybe a month before experiencing this revelation, that you can’t take advantage of your talents or push yourself forward prematurely, but I had done just that. What’s more, in creating such a monster of a schedule, I removed myself further from where I wanted to be and I even stripped myself of the freedoms I had with the nine-to-five.
The flame that resides in you is irreplicable. Whether you’re a creative like myself or the next savvy politician, you’ve got to own your truth and then cater to it. Many of us have spent so much time allowing our inner voice to go on alone in complete silence. We’ve consumed examples of what others are doing that remind us of our own capabilities and that inner being sits by and watches this, while she starves. It’s a cruel thing and yet, metaphor aside, we do it to ourselves.
So, I challenge you to hear her, your inner voice and passions. And even further, I challenge you to enter a relationship with what ignites you. However, fair warning be known, you’ve got to remain patient, reasonable, and kind with yourself. You didn’t reach for liberation only to become indebted to a prison of your own making.