It’s a bit overcast today. There is a nice breeze that keeps the bugs away. I am sitting here soaking in the intermittent sun while I watch my boys play in the backyard. I am lucky. This is what I do for a living. I write and you read it. (hopefully) I am lucky to have a supportive partner and a safe place for my children to play. I thrive on days like today. I need the sun and I need to feel its warmth on my face.
I am outside. I have never been one to spend too much time indoors. I get bored. I loose creativity confined within four walls. I need to hear the birds sing and the smell the flowers blooming. That’s what gets my mind working.
I write because it is a feeling that burns inside me. I need to get it out of my mind and out of my life. Once it’s on paper or in my computer, it’s gone from me. It becomes its own being. I am grateful that this is how my brain chooses to work. I am not an artist, nor am I a mathematician. I am a writer. I always have been and I will always be one. I read and I write. Then I read some more. And when the story pops into my mind at 3am, I write.
It’s not something a lot of people understand. The people who know me, beyond the sarcastic humor and the backstory, they know. They get me. They are my tribe. I have written about my tribe before. They are the people, places and things that make me feel safe in an unsafe world. A world full of rejection, nay-sayers and angry people. Those people are the four walls that kept me confined for so long.
I made the decision to free myself and my words. When I made that decision, I knew that people were going to have opinions. That’s what people do. But I was sure in time, they would see the happiness within me, and my family. But I forgot, some people can’t see happiness in others if they can’t find happiness within themselves. Unhappy people make terrible friends. They suck the life right out from your body. There are times, when I swear, I can feel it happening.
I was unhappy once. More than once. Actually, I was unhappy quite a bit during my adult life. I was working a dead-end job and bills were stacking up. There was no creativity, just a routine. The stories that came to me at 3am, left me by 8am and I mourned each one of them. I worked hard and then I worked harder. I thought this is what grown-ups did. They worked until their fingers bled and their minds turned to mush. Wasn’t this the American dream? The idea that if you work just a little bit harder, you too, can have it all. As the years wore on, the dream seemed to be just out of reach. Not poor, but not comfortable either. I snapped. I quit the thing that was making me miserable. And in turn, I quit the people that helped suck the happiness from my pump body.
I announced it over Facebook, because well, why not? The onslaught of advice, job offers, and well wishes were overwhelming. After much thought and discussion, together as a family, we decided that writing was my only option to live. To live in the present for our children, to live happily for myself and my husband, to become something I always was. (Side note: making money writing is another art form that I am working on). It’s been thrilling to see my name on a byline, but more importantly, I am writing and you are reading it. It’s no longer a fire inside me, it’s the happiness I searched for. I found my happiness. My family found their happiness, so why can’t some other people be happy for our happiness?
I suppose that is a loaded question. First, the people that can’t find their own happiness, often try to project that unhappiness onto you. These people can’t be happy for you. They may want to be happy but their own sadness, anger, or feelings of mediocrity get in the way. Maybe they don’t think they are brave enough, or strong enough, or smart enough to do what will make them happy. So they live like I lived for so many years — still. Unable to move from the very thing that is confining them. Like a rock sinking to the bottom of the ocean. I was there; that rock was attached to my ankle and I was sinking. I know what it feels like to watch happiness and think I could have it if only… there are no” if onlys” in life. There is only do it or don’t do it. These people have a chance in life, they just have to walk away. Walk quickly, with their heads held high and a smile on their face. You will see the weight being lifted from their shoulders.
Of course there is the other kind of person. The person who thinks they know better; their opinion is smarter, more truthful, and it is usually louder. This person spends their days gossiping, spreading rumors and giving advice no one ever asked for. Do not mistake their volume for confidence. It’s not. In fact, this person usually lacks the confidence to do the very thing, they are gossiping about. They spend countless hours tearing you down, in effort to build you up the way they think you should be. They ignore your attempts to forgive and forget, they never do either one. These are the people that suck the joy from your life. The constant feeling of having to defend your decision to someone or some people that clearly don’t have your best interests at heart is exhausting.
The only way to rid yourself of those people is to leave. Leave their space. Remember everyone in your tribe should be supporting you. They don’t have to agree with you, but they need to support you. Making a life changing decision is often met with skepticism and worry. Your tribe loves you and it is natural for them to be concerned. That should never stop them from supporting you. Supporting you takes nothing but a few words of encouragement and a non-judgmental ear to listen. I spent too much time trying to defend myself to people who were never going to change. My happiness doesn’t cost them anything. Their unhappiness however, seeps into every relationship they have and can cost them everything.
I am in love with the life I am making and because of that, the people most important to me are happy. If you take anything from this, take this; Do what makes you happy. Fill your heart and fill your mind. Take the leap, and trust your gut. It’s easy to keep the status-quo. Challenge yourself to walk out of that comfort zone. Even if you fail, at least you were brave enough to have tried. Walk away from the people hurt your soul and hurt your confidence. They aren’t worth your energy.