You Need Something To “Fall Back On”
Published on November 1, 2010
A couple weeks ago, when I was in Austin, Texas at the Joyfully Jobless Jamboree, I had to speak to a group of people twice about how painting made me quit my job–and my FEARLESS Painting Process!
Speaking about the FEARLESS Painting Process was going to be easy. I was packing a suitcase of paint and brushes for that!!! But the other part….. I had no idea really what I was going to say. I mean, seriously–people who are “real” entrepreneurs were going to be there listening.
People who write books about the thing.
People who’ve been doing it most of their lives.
People who make mucho money even.
What could I actually have to say that might interest them?
In this cloud of worry, my dear Hansel (who happens to be the best honey in the whole entire Universe) simply said–
“Just be yourself and tell one of your stories. You’ll be fine–they’ll love ya.”
Sure, I could do that. I like to talk. But for me, it was important for everyone to leave with a message–not just spend their time getting to know my life’s history.
Because seriously, it’s not all that interesting.
So, before I went to Austin I had to do some major reflecting on my journey and how I got where I am now. I’m only 34, but I realized that I’ve had quite a lot of living and working experience in my life that led me to where I am.
But I kept wondering what has been the common thread of my search that has led me to this day?
Because, honestly, I feel that I have always been searching for something that now I feel I have finally found.
And it hit me–I have always been searching for that thing to fall back on.
I never owned a Barbie doll. When I was little, for Christmas and birthdays all I wanted was Art supplies, books, and music. That was it. Oh, and the occasional board game too. And of course a horse. But I’d take a box of markers over the new Barbie Dream House in a second.
The lucky thing for me is that I had a family that supported my creativity. All I ever remember as a kid growing up is that people would say I was good at Art and call me the Artist in the family. But as I got older, those comments were always attached to the line “but you better find something to fall back on.”
In reflecting on my life before the conference, I realized something BIG—up until now I have spent my entire adult life desperately searching for that something to fall back on as I try to somehow work on the thing I absolutely LOVE on the side.
What I mean is—it took me 8 years just to get through under grad. I had a plethora of Artist jobs from teaching, working in galleries, doing assistantships, working on Art history research, costume design, interior designer assistant, and even mural painting. I have been constantly searching for that ONE thing that I can fall back on–that ONE thing I could be happy doing for the rest of my life and that if I’m real lucky would give me a few ounces of energy and moments of time left that maybe–I could still do the things I absolutely LOVE on the side.
My whole entire 20s was spent looking for that something to fall back on while spending the rest of my time and energy I had left doing what I LOVE and always felt I was meant to do but I couldn’t–because I was afraid that who I was and what I LOVED wouldn’t ever be enough.
Do you know how that feels?
Unfortunately, I bet you do. I bet a lot of us do.
You see, this is all new to me. Even calling myself an entrepreneur makes me chuckle. Because how I see it–I’m doing a little experiment. The way I’ve been doing things for the last fifteen years hasn’t been working for me. I haven’t found that thing I want to fall back on–and I finally realized that the search was becoming exhausting to who I really am as a creative person in this world.
So, the truth is, I’m trying a different approach.
I’ve decided full heartedly to do the thing I’ve been doing on the side all these years–the same thing I did all growing up. I am making Art, being creative, and sharing my passion with others as my main gig.
And yes…I still want to find that thing to fall back on…but now I know for sure exactly what it is…and that is a hammock that is waiting for me in Costa Rica!