Until my rather public meltdown on the steps of the Saint Kilda Library a few hours ago, I really did believe that I lived my life fairly fearlessly. I’ve made difficult choices in order to live in alignment with my beliefs and values. I’ve stepped into the unknown and muddled my way through as best I can. I’ve learned to be my authentic self regardless of the consequences. Yet the framework, that in my mind, was the foundation of my fearlessness, turns out to be my most self sabotaging area of limitation.
My tutor and mentor asked me today, “What do you do?” My response required a countdown of duties listed off on the fingers of my right hand.
“I write operations manuals and training programs for the franchise industry.”
“I take freelance professional writing jobs… Reports and stuff.”
“I work a sales and client services job… To mix it up from all the cerebral work.”
“I do volunteer work for animal activist organisations.”
“And I study a double degree in writing and literature.”
My mentor nodded and tried again, “Yes, but what are you?”
“Well, I’m a writer”, I replied.
She pushed further, “But what kind of writer?”
I could feel my frame droop. “I’m a creative non fiction writer”.
The realisation that nothing in my life is prioritised around what I most wanted to do is soul crushing. I’ve quit a stable corporate job, sold a house, lived with meager funds, given up living alone and asked for help when I didn’t want to, in order to study what I love most. And here I was with that very dream buried, at the bottom of the pile, of my manic and fragmented life.
I’ve been hedging my bets. I have my finger in any pie that passes my way. I have a foot firmly in the two worlds of my old life and the life that I dream of. I am living in fear that I can not make a living as a creative writer. And perhaps I won’t. But I will never find out unless I let go completely and boldly follow my path into the life that I want. Back into the unknown, where I thought I had already earned my stripes.
I am at yet another crisis of crossroads. And I already know that there is only one way for me to go. I already know that from the greatest leaps come the greatest rewards. I already know that whatever i do, i’ll be alright. I already know that I have the courage of my convictions.
So with puffy eyes and a soggy tissue I pick myself up from the steps of the library, walk past the curious glances and begin plotting out my next steps.