Last week, I ran into a friend that brought up my writing… in a negative way. We had fallen out of touch and when the subject came to up in conversation, she explained that she didn’t even know me anymore. She went on to claim that nothing I have been writing sounds like it came from me and that she has discussed it with my friends behind my back.
As you can imagine, I was a little speechless… I mean, I knew that there would be gossip floating around once I began this journey but hearing it from one of my “best friends” really cut me to the core.
She also mentioned that if anyone else had taken this path, I would have ripped them to shreds by now. I have to admit, this statement was probably the most hurtful. Yes, back in the day, I was a judgmental bitch. The younger me would have read this blog with fire in her eyes and “this is fucking bullshit” on her lips. But, a few years ago I was also immature, insecure, and dreadfully unhappy.
After learning a LOT about myself, I now understand why other people’s happiness bothered me so intensely. I was jealous. I used to watch my peers as they pursued their dreams and it would piss me off like no other. “Who do they think they are?”, I would ask myself. I was stuck doing things I hated with a fake smile on my face just to get by. It infuriated me that someone else could break free from society’s chains and live a life THEY wanted to live. But it’s clear now that I was too afraid to take that leap. I couldn’t stand the thought of being judged or laughed at. I cared way too much about what people thought and I wanted to make everyone happy. Vulnerability wasn’t in my vocabulary.
It’s taken quite a bit to get to this stage in my life. Once I started putting myself out there, bare and all alone, it dawned on me that it takes someone really fucking brave to be different. No matter what you do, if you try anything “off the beaten path”, you’re going to get ridiculed. It’s just a given. It’s something I didn’t prepare for in advance but I’m here now and there’s no going back. I’m going to get pushed down and I don’t know if it will ever stop. But what I do know is, I can’t stop. I can’t stop doing what I love. I can’t stop being myself and pursuing my dreams. Living with the regret of “what if” is a death wish for my creativity.
What I can do, however, is stop beating myself up over not being perfect.. I can stop trying to please everyone. I can stop worrying about who will say what when I publish every blog post.
I have lost friends over this “awakening” of sorts. Not everyone can handle this sort of vulnerability and openness which I am learning to cope with. It comes with the territory. But I’m not going to stop because, the truth is, I can’t. Now that I’m on this path, I’m not looking back. As Brene Brown says,
You can choose courage or you can choose comfort. You cannot have both.
Here are some things I’ve learned from this experience:
- Don’t take criticism from people who are not in the trenches, busting their ass to achieve their dreams.
- You can’t make everyone happy so stop trying to be everyone’s best friend.
- Talent comes with practice. You won’t be the next Elizabeth Gilbert at age 25.
- Progression is better than stagnancy.
With all of that being said, I will continue to grow, create, move, shine, and dive no matter what others will say. Because in the end there is only one person that can truly judge me (I’m looking at you Big Guy). This life is temporary and I’m going to live it with honesty, integrity, and however the fuck I want.