“Be patient with yourself, for we are all on this journey of life together.” -Jay D’Cee
“Do not let arrogance go to your head and despair to your heart; do not let compliments go to your head and criticisms to your heart; do not let success go to your head and failure to your heart.” ―Roy T. Bennett
I’ve always wondered what motivates people to be judgmental about things and/or people they’ve never attempted to understand. Character trait, flaw, or simply their nature? I’m never certain, but it grates on my nerves.
The majority of my family looks down upon me with much disdain because I’m “a writer”. I’ve never understood, nor will I ever, why having an actual talent marks me as “not good enough”, especially considering 99% of them have never read my work or heard me speak in public. If you think reading my work is interesting, it’s an entirely different experience hearing me express myself in a public setting.
Here are some facts about how I arrived here, as “a writer”: After realizing I’d never be an Olympic gymnast because my parents refused to let me move to Colorado Springs and train on my own, I set out to be a police officer. I studied forensic science. My goal was to be an FBI agent at some point. I was then stricken with an illness that started taking small dreams away from me, until it took the larger ones with it, as well.
I’m a trained singer, but never pursued it professionally on any level. I love it, but it’s not my passion. It’s an interest, a talent, but it’s not my life.
My writing, though? It has always stood out, from day one. Anyone can put words on a page, but it takes talent to tell a story and convey emotion. I wouldn’t do it if it didn’t give something back to me.
I don’t judge the person who decides to become an accountant, even though I’d personally die a slow, painful death to use that word in conjunction with my own name, so why does “writer” sound a whole hell of a lot like “street beggar” when it comes out of the mouth of so many people? Why is it so incredibly disrespected?
I never set out to be a reporter or a journalist, but I did study journalism. I took a plethora of creative writing classes, for which I was eventually banned. I refused to adhere to what the professors determined “proper writing”. I wanted to write the truth and I wanted to write what I believed in. I did not want to write nonsensical bullshit I had no interest in or no opinion on. In their minds, I was disrupting the entire program by refusing to conform. It’s hysterical when I think about it now, but at the time, it was incredibly frustrating. There were so many mixed messages everywhere I turned. To this day, there still are.
Last year someone told me I should, and I quote, “Get a real job.” Having been nothing but a writer and editor for so long, no normal 9-5 job will hire me. When you can’t get a job at a grocery store part-time and not a single store in the mall will hire you due to a lack of previous retail experience, it’s downright insulting. When Walmart and fast food places take a pass on you, you almost question yourself. “What have I done? Did I do something wrong? Why aren’t I ENOUGH?!”
It took a few months of unadulterated shock, but I realize now that it simply isn’t my path. It never was, or it would have fallen into place. If that’s a disappointment to someone, then that’s their problem. That anyone would encourage me to be less than who I am is a testament to how they perceive me, as opposed to how I perceive myself.
I’m not perfect. I make an exerted effort to be who I was raised to be; strong, smart, independent, sassy, honest, loyal, and real. I’ve been through a LOT. The past ten years or so have greatly challenged me and greatly harmed me, and while that is no excuse, I do feel it takes some people a little longer to get back on their feet when they’ve walked through hell-fire barefoot. If you’re 100% healthy and able-bodied to do just about anything, that’s great. When you’re throwing up 70% of your week due to excruciating migraine pain, are barely able to complete simple tasks like cleaning and laundry without feeling weak and drained of your life force, and have to fight off taking a nap at 10:00 in the morning, then you might very well be capable of holding down what some people consider to be a “real job” or a “normal job”, whatever that may mean to most people. However, I respectfully disagree that writing is any less a “job” or any less “real”.
Does writing always pay my bills? No. Does editing always pay my bills? No. Do they help me make ends meet and provide me with a strong sense of self? Yes, if I’m careful with every penny. Will I continue to struggle? At times, all good writers have struggled. There are times I will make decent five figures in a year and other times when I’m barely able to eat.
I’m motivated to write because it’s part of who I am. I’m good at it. I try very hard not to judge what other people do to pay their bills, get an education, etc. And yet, I’m judged because being “a writer” is apparently something others deem unworthy of respect. It may not always be glamorous, but at least I have strong command of the English language and know precisely how to hold someone’s attention.
I’m not motivated to hurt others or disrespect their lines of work. I don’t care if you work at a gas station or an insurance company. I don’t care if you’re a lawyer, a nurse, or a locksmith. I do, however, care if being “a writer” is something you believe is beneath you.
It’s so much more important to be a good person, to be honest, real, and loyal to those you love. I believe your health is your true wealth. I believe all of these things are far more important than the number of zeros in your bank account. Life is short, and while money can make you comfortable, it can also make you complacent. If someone had handed me a black American Express card instead of notebooks, pens, and computers, I’d probably be a very selfish, shallow, ignorant, vapid human-being, with no real understanding of the world around me or the immense value of those I hold dear.
So, I have two words to say to those who simply do not understand what it’s like to have genuine talent and follow through on it, regardless of where the path takes them. Yeah, those are the words.
copyright © 2017 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
“When you’re trying to motivate yourself, appreciate the fact that you’re even thinking about making a change. And as you move forward, allow yourself to be good enough.” —Alice Domar
“How would your life be different if…You stopped focusing on what you didn’t want and started focusing on what you do want? Let today be the day…You establish a clear intent, make a plan, and take actions towards your intent.” -Steve Maraboli
This is such an incredible message to share. I hope it means as much to everyone else as it does to me.
I do not know when I’ll be able to write a new post, unfortunately, but I will do my best. I fractured a couple of bones in my right hand and due to that injury, discovered exactly how hard I type and how much I use the first three fingers on this hand, which is where the injury is centered. It hurts ten times more today than it did Sunday night when it first happened, and the pain travels into my wrist, which makes it worse. I will be fine, so long as I don’t overtax it too much. I can’t really adhere to “resting it” or “keeping it wrapped” because I have to work, among other things, but as I said, I will do my best and be back to all of you ASAP.