Don’t ever forget to be happy with your life. It’s better to live in the skin you have been given than to spend your life wishing you were someone or something else.
We all have our proud moments. Whether it's watching the first steps of our baby walk across the room, supporting someone walk across the stage with that degree they worked hard for, or watching the hard work of others be celebrated. We all stand, arm in arm, with one another in celebration of their accomplishments, and this moment is one of those experiences.
Coming from a place of brokenness and having my previous life crumble to pieces, I have emerged stronger and more focused on the possibilities of what has been placed before me. This song embraces how the expectations of others that try to chain us down can help bring clarity and vision to your life. Don't give up.
My girlfriend asked my girl crew to go away with her. She needed some time out of her normal space and I knew the perfect place. The Round House. So three of us decided to rent this space for the weekend. With my home life in flux and deadlines quickly approaching, you would think it would have been a good time to stay at home and get things done. On the contrary. I needed this as much as my girlfriend.
In November of 2017, I was commissioned to do a wonderful audiobook for a self-published author of a Young Adult Fantasy Romance. I had just gotten back into short form voice acting and this was my first time doing long form narration. I explained upon taking the assignment that I could not work on the piece until my Winter Break due to my work schedule and other voiceover projects. She agreed and I planned to have the book done within the month I was off.
That is not how things went. Not even the slightest.
Once off, I was barraged with repair requests from the house owner in which the first week and a half we had four to five contractors come through and fix and inspect various things in the house. Then there were the holidays. Then my winter break was suddenly over.
WAH WAH WAH
No problem. I still had three months to get this 10 hour book done. However, I realized within recording the first chapter that I had to severely edit my narration to make it sound smooth and professional. This was because of the road noise next to my house. This took alot more time than expected and pushed my project back to April 1st.
Then suddenly, I found myself having to move on top of getting a summer job out of town. Needless to say I am now facing having to do this project within a short period of time and all in time before I pack up my home, and recording booth, for the summer.
This does not come off as very professional. However, I found something strangely wonderful about this whole experience. The author ended up liking the fact that the project was going slowly because of her own schedule in reviewing the audio chapters. This symbiotic relationship has turned into a unique, creative partnership for not only this project but voicing her other books in the future. It has opened up ideas and ways to edit future volumes that might not have been considered before. We both are growing in an instrumental and creative way.
So when life interrupts your projects, especially professional endeavors, look at why it's happening and how everyone can benefit from the way things are going. Do your best to work around it, don't judge yourself for not meeting your own expectations and embrace the growth process embedded within the experience.
You will be a much better creative in the long run.
That would be the one word that describes a part of my personality. Not that I come to each moment in robust pride and over exaggerated self-confidence, but something in me stays true to who I am deep within, regardless of the expectations of others. Especially when it comes to my creative nature.
My father had a hard time accepting my creativity because, of course, all artists are starving...right? And the last thing a parent wants is a dependent child who puts their art above being a self sufficient contributor of society. My mother was the compassionate supporter and did her best to balance the frustration of my paternal caretaker. Almost to the point of codependency. While I faced one challenge after another, I stayed true to the creative person inside of me all the while trying to be a responsible adult for everyone around me.
Creativity became my outlet of self-discovery. No matter the emotion or issue, I would write, sing, dance, act, film or compose music to process my emotions. It was a way for me to take my thoughts and feelings outside of myself and work my way logically around the situation before putting it back in my head. The amazing thing about this process of using creativity to sort out the mysteries of life is how many people relate to the piece created.
Being a creative person facing tragedy and severe loss can propel you into turning around your own circumstances through that creativity. According to an article written in the Huffington Post:
"An emerging field of psychology called post-traumatic growth is suggesting that many people are able to use their hardships and early-life trauma for substantial creative growth. Specifically, researchers have found that trauma can help people to grow in the areas of interpersonal relationships, spirituality, appreciation of life, personal strength, and — most importantly for creativity — seeing new possibilities in life."
Some people have not understood this creative process of figuring out life. I had a grief counselor tell me that I had exacerbated the grief process by writing and filming A Bit of Forever. On the contrary. I prepared myself mentally, emotionally and physically for the journey I had perceived was coming. And when that time and moment came, my mind was set that tomorrow would be a better day than today. That film has touched many lives both through the making and viewing of it.
Tenacity was the beginning of my journey into writing, design, music and filmmaking.
So I encourage you, continue in your creative efforts of self discovery and expression. It may just change your perspective all the while touching lives of all those around you.
It has now been a year and a half since my life drastically changed by the passing of Mark after a five year battle with Colon Cancer. Since then, life has been busy. I fell in love too soon, moved, started a new company, became an empty nester, did a few shows, directed a short film, got my heart broken, started a new job, took on new work as a voiceover artist/narrator, got through my second set of holidays without my normal family unit, and started Griefshare. To say this year and a half was filled with just as many challenges as the five year prior battle is an understatement, but through the difficulties of this time I have grown in ways that I didn’t think possible.
The first being that I am learning to take care of myself emotionally. I know this should sound like a given, but for 16 years I had a love that had intertwined itself around my psyche. I shared everything with him. Every thought. Every emotion. Every dream. Every fear. Every passion. All of who I was. With two words of “I do”, the foundation of trust and love was laid. It is what I had prayed for and what I had received. However, in my new life the relationship I found myself in was filled with periods of loneliness and such emotional distance that I realized that I could not be the same way with this person as I was in my prior life. I had to start hiding more of myself because as I shared who I was, the more they separated themselves. This caused me to go internal, went quiet and start finding other ways to care for my own emotional needs.
So what does it look like to go from a partnering relationship to a self dependant relationship? Well, at first it was very lonely. Even in the middle of a relationship, loneliness was my constant partner. I had become so used to having my heart rest in the nest of someone else’s hands that I forgot what it was like to hold it in my own. And as the people in my life around me failed to be there over and over, I got stronger and learned to stand on my own again. But the biggest factor that helped me was my faith.
I was getting into some pretty strange things that really contradicted the promises I made to myself as a Child of God. It was out of fear, running from the trauma of losing Mark, yet anxiously searching for the same spiritual and emotional connection that I had before that drove me to worldly spiritualism. But all of those other things made me feel like I was running after the wind when I needed roots grown deep into the earth to ground me. And as I sat in bed alone, crying, shaking, feeling numb, that my spirit started to cry out.
As I had written before in a previous blog post, it only took one spark to get the fire going. I’m so grateful for my friend to have spent the time with me and asked me the deep questions that was part of turning my eyes back to God. In the past month, I have found my footing on firm ground again as my conversations with God grows stronger and stronger. I talk with Him on a daily basis through worship and prayer. Knowing He is constantly by me and loves me with such a deep love cures the loneliness that I have been suffering with. And regardless of my emotions or decisions I have made based upon them, His love is always there to surround me, to fill me.
Being a true romantic, connection, affection, beauty and love are at the core of who I am. It is the river that flows deep within my soul. And God’s love is the only thing that is high, deep and wide enough to fill this seekers heart. Mark and I got along so well because we both reflected that same love. So it is best for me to strengthen myself in that Love on a daily basis. It is my sanity. It is life to these dry bones.
Now, I find myself enjoying time alone and taking care of myself. I still have so many thoughts and dreams I want to share with someone, and I do. I share them with God. With friends and family. With writing in my journal and through social media. I find the connections and validations when sitting alone in a movie theater and a story jumps out a certain truth to me.
I may never find that type of understanding again in a human being here on earth, but my heart is open should that be God’s will for me. In the meantime, I am learning, growing, thankful for every moment and enjoying this journey. I am finding the fingerprints of God through every person I encourage and inspire. I hear God through the laughter of friends and family. I am feeling His love during the quiet times when spending time in nature or laying in my bed alone. I am surrounding myself with quality people who are kind, courageous, generous, loving, patient, inspirational and encouraging themselves. I realize that God has given me everything I need for an abundant life so I am purposefully seeking to live that abundant life.