Leaders, role models, mentors, and friends come and go, just like students and music venues. To me, they are all on roads that I may be following, even for a short amount of time. What about me? Where am I headed and who do I follow? Perhaps those answers have been in my reach and I am only, now, mature enough to recognize them. Recently, one of my most successful friends posted a message on my Facebook wall. “Your posts are some of the only ones on Facebook that I enjoy reading. I feel like a jackass using the word “inspirational,” but… they really are. Love you, so proud of you, and thankful that we’ve stayed in touch all these years!” She has no idea how much she has inspired me to follow my dream of being a successful educator and musician, a creative professional. I need to call her. The truth is, I search for positive and inspirational quotes to share because lately it seems, life is presenting me with some difficult challenges. I’m torn between grabbing a “real” job and chasing my dreams. I used to jump for every opportunity that came my way. I’m learning to ask the right questions and learn when something is worth my time and if I and my services are valued by an employer, client, or student. I have made some great connections.
My heart is so focused on my goal, and I’m learning enough to know that I’m not too far from finding what I’m looking for. What does distance look like? I’ve been job and gig searching for a long time, for QueenEarth and my “real” self, not in cartoon form. Jobs seem to come and go. Sometimes, enrollment at schools is low. Venues close. Promoters change their focus. I’m committed to finding a dependable job that respects my professional approach to my music and is clearly on my intended route. For me, these aren’t just gigs anymore. My career path lies in a field of education, music, and creativity. I want to teach in a classroom. I want to design classes and events that encourage lifelong learning and collaboration. I care about social justice. I want to support the local leaders, artists, and educators in my community. I want to build a stronger personal and professional network. I also dream that one day, with all of my connections and relationships, hard work and experiences, I won’t have to work for anyone else. I’m not unmotivated, lazy, or stupid. I’m smarter about my own worth. Like anyone else, there are times I have to do “stuff” that I don’t want to do. That “stuff” happens less and less.
“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” –
― Thomas Jefferson
Four years ago, I didn’t know myself or where I was headed to even have the nerve to add other people to my fantasies, to imagine life outside of my apartment. The monotony in my days was depressing and I found myself refreshing Facebook every five minutes out of boredom, and I wasn’t being inspirational to anyone. I was uninspired. I had no direction. Now, I can see into my future. I see music, education, and creativity being the means by which I feed myself and my family. I see a wedding and kids and traveling, in no particular order. For the first time in my life, I can see those things. Every morning that I wake up walking the right path, I am a step closer to those visions. Reality means never giving up on the future I’ve envisioned, always being present to my earthly responsibilities, and learning to evolve and adapt.
I recognize that I’m being unconventional and making huge sacrifices. What if I’m wrong? What if this doesn’t happen? What if it does? For me, this sacrifice is short term. Life will not be like this “forever”, but I’m also doing a lot more than praying that it will all work out the way it does in my head. I still work. I will never stop this search. I believe in this dream and I want to watch it manifest into reality. My friend who loves my Facebook posts, she sees that I am growing. I know I am. I feel brave and powerful and I’m preparing for my future now, making smart decisions and building a foundation for a life brighter than I could ever imagine. One day soon, I may work for, or with, someone else, but they will understand my call and see me as an asset to their vision and a valuable member of their team. I was not destined to be a “worker bee” and fill my day with tasks that someone else doesn’t want to do. May we all have purpose. My call is greater and my decision has never been, only, about me.
In my future, I don’t see myself struggling and missing opportunities. More and more, I’m taking more chances and my options are bountiful. The road is widening. In my future, I see prosperity. I see happiness. I’ve spent much of my life having to say “no” to things because of money or lack thereof. Instead of saying no, I’d rather ask “when?” , and put it in my calendar. I should have told my friend, “I’m proud of you too.” I will. Jessica is a writer and she is “living the dream.” This woman is an author or several successful novels, a mother, a wife, a dedicated runner, and she lives in a beautiful home. To me, it looks like she “has it all” and she seems to balance her career, a happy relationship, family, and a lifelong love affair with her art. She has no idea how she inspires me. I think about how happy she seems, how much she is surrounded by people, myself included, who support her art (http://jessicawarman.com/) . She reciprocates. I’ve been watching her grow. There are so many like us. I am proud to know us. I know it is hard to find our path when we are blazing our own trail, but we are not alone. This is a movement for many. People are watching. Who do you follow?