“You don’t know what you are.”
From The Iron Trail by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare.
Finding my realm hasn’t been easy.
For one thing, I was born into the wrong tribe. Folks who told me that singing and acting were fine as hobbies, but in order to survive, I had to get a real job. BTW, the ‘real job’ was first female President of the United States. (Oh I wish I were kidding about this.)
In addition, my family’s insistence that I’d never make it as a pop star or actress fueled my already strong stubbornness. There was no doubt in my mind that they were wrong. (I’d even planned my Grammy speech. In it I told parents to support their kids’ dreams, instead of imposing their own dreams upon their children.)
So I moved to LA, expecting success to come in short order.
Singing Gonna Get Mine, a ditty I wrote about capital punishment. Just your typical pop song fare. 🙂
I was so busy fighting to make my dream a reality that I refused to see the red flags all around me.
My band told me to stop telling stories on stage, stop trying to provoke conversations or take listeners on an emotional journey and “just sing.” I never felt comfortable with any of the industry types I met, and don’t get me started on the hideousness of acting auditions.
Sure, I’d traded flat land for mountains, and pines for palm trees, but instead of swimming with birds of a different feather, now I was swimming with sharks. (Great Kevin Spacey flick about the movie biz by the way.)
Ironically, it was failure that allowed me to really see myself for the first time. (Purple swan that I am.) To realize that I had to pick up my bed and leave again. So I did.
It took a ‘dark night of the soul’ that lasted two years before I accepted that I was a writer. Then a few more years before I found my realm: kidlit.
I’m still stunned at how much I enjoy myself at industry events, or see myself in my fellow writers! Shocked at the encouragement I get to tell intelligent stories with a message. No one wants me to be younger, or dumber. I can just be me!
I learned the hard way that intention works as long as it’s not accompanied by rigid expectation, that you can point your ship towards the shore, but you have to be flexible about how you get there.
Sometimes failing is the best thing that can happen to you.
Purple Passion of the Fortnight:
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