Today as I was cleaning and organizing I came across a lot of books, notes, lists, etc., that I’ve saved over the years. Some of the things I read couldn’t have come at a better time. I believe in getting out there, living, and experiencing all that you can, but setting aside time for reflection is always, always necessary from time to time.
I came across a journal a relative of mine gave me for my graduation from college 5 years ago. I read the first entry I made about writing, why it was my passion, and goals I had for myself. 5 years later I am happy to say I accomplished some of what I set out to do. I wrote that I needed to work on self-love, gaining confidence, and developing my art by teaching, performing, and publishing.
While I can ‘check’ those things off of my to do list, I must say they were not achieved without heartache and hard work (perhaps the two go hand and hand as surviving heartache is hard work itself), and tough lessons learned. A lot of things in my life (particularly these past five to ten years) have not gone according to my plan. A control freak to the core, the more I plan the more the universe reminds me, you can’t control a lot of the things that makes life interesting.
But you’re only able to fly by using the resistance, right? I’ve lost so I’ve tried harder to hold on sometimes so tightly, knuckles turn white, and I inevitably lose because I was holding on too tightly. On my journey to find love, self-love, love for others, and what does love really mean anyway, I’ve learned a lot. Love is nothing like I thought it was…since high school and college many of my friends have gotten married or have children and there are others who continually have dating disasters, become attached too soon, or seem to attract people who don’t appreciate their worth. Listening to the stories and empathizing with people’s pain in their own learning about life makes me question things even more. Sometimes their relationships make perfect sense and sometimes they make absolutely no sense at all. This inconsistency makes me all the more hopeful because you can’t plan, love. Granted it isn’t something you ‘fall’ into as people say “I fell in love” but keeping love and staying in it, takes work. You have to find who is worth fighting for and who sees you as someone worth holding onto no matter the differences in opinions, beliefs, appearances, and all of the above.
Maybe the first step in all of this is believing that you are someone worth fighting for, worth keeping, and that you are exactly what somebody needs. From my conversations with you dear Reader I know you are confused as to why it is taking you such a long time to find the dream job, the perfect home, or to find the love you’ve been searching for. Do not be in a rush. Your time is coming, not when you least expect it (as the saying goes) but when you’re ready. You may feel ready now, but more ‘work’ that you don’t always readily see, needs to be done. I’ve never been in love so maybe take my words with a grain of salt, but (as usual) I relate my thinking about this to my passion, writing.
As I sit here looking at some of the journals my poems have been published in, I remember the work it took to get to the end goal. I remember the inspiration or occasion of the poem, the spark that brought about the idea. I remember the emotion, the joy, the sorrow, or the longing in each. I remember the hours, days, months, (and sometimes years) it took to get the poem to completion. I remember the frustration but the importance of the patience it took in seeing something through to a stage of completion. Although sometimes the writing, editing, throwing away, rewriting, and revising, sending out, rejection, rejection, revise, fix, send out again entire process drives me nuts and can be discouraging, I find it is always always always absolutely worth it. I can’t help but be thankful for “the struggle” when it comes and I am pushed to a new level of being. Even though I don’t always appreciate it in the moment (because we know struggling is difficult) I feel blessed to be tested. The struggles will always keep coming with each new goal or ambition. I don’t have a book yet, but the big thick binded papers to the left is my manuscript. I am afraid no one will want to read it or that no one will publish it (and perhaps you can relate this to your fear of no one wanting to read all the lines and stories of your life and be invested in you enough to want to read (love) you for the rest of your days) but I keep the faith. It’s going to take work. It’s going to take putting yourself (and in my case, my book) out there into the world without fear of the rejection that will inevitably come. Someday my book will find a home with a good press. Someday you will find the love / job / passion / place you have spent your entire existence looking for.
It may be in one package or it may be in many, but whatever the case do not let others opinions influence your mindset. Everyone’s narrative is different. I know my friends call me crazy for trying to take on and do too much, but that’s what makes me happiest. When I can use all the parts of myself that need to be fed – my writing self, my teacher self, my working with youth self – then I feel like I am living my purpose. I believe in using the gifts we’ve been given. When you’ve been given gifts, you give them away, and in doing so, something will come back when you least expect it.
Whatever it is you are looking for Dear Reader, I hope you find it or him or her, the job, the person, the place, that feeds your spirit and ignites your passion, that challenges and tests you… you’ll find it in the most unexpected places and once you do, don’t be afraid to hold on.