Whenever I say “Fuck your 9-5. Fuck the system. Break free” there is always backlash in the form of “Not everyone can. I’m already in the system, I can’t get out (I’m trapped). I have kids. You’re just a unicorn. You’re just a success because you’re white, beautiful, blonde. I can’t do that.”
Here’s what I know about my journey (and not what I know about you).
I used to live in the system.
I lived in cold ass Edmonton, Alberta and sold condos for a developer in a suit with straightened hair and high heels and I slang dranks and shots at night clubs and poured whisky to men in suits.
I was a non conformist, conforming.
I hated the system but I lived in it and I felt trapped.
I didn’t have degree debt (I traveled the world for 7 years before starting my business), I didn’t have a mortgage (I rented) and I didn’t have kids relying on me (I’m still trying to balance how to feed myself most days).
I moved west, and started working under Dianne Whelan as an intern, she’s my piece of paper and then I gave everything I could into my business.
I wrote 14-17 articles and poems a month for Elephant Journal and other blogs and websites for about a year and a half.
After my first year, I decided I was sick of pouring coffees and serving oysters to men on yachts when I wanted to pour words.
I quit all my jobs and went “all in.”
Note: I had no savings, and am not a trust fund baby.
I landed a little on my ass shortly after as I was only making $500-$1000 a month off my writing.
I wrote a poem called “I Should Get A Job” and “Fuck Pensions” in this time frame, they’re funny and you should read them.
So, I was at a crossroads.
Go back, starve, or get creative as fuck on how to sustain my business as it grew.
I rented my cabin out on the Sunshine Coast and volunteered for 6 months at a butterfly garden and B&B in Costa Rica. I cleaned up caterpillar poop in exchange for room and board and was able to survive off what I was making.
I then continued to write, create and grow my audience over the next 6-8 months where I was approached with paid gigs as a writer, and speaker.
It helps to have savings, or a partner who can support us when we leap from the system into the arms of our business.
Yes, of course.
Is it harder with children and people dependent on you? Yes, I’m sure.
I’m also sure that there are many single mothers and fathers out there who did successfully walk away from the system even with that.
My point is, I don’t believe you.
I don’t believe you are trapped.
I don’t believe you have no choice.
I don’t believe there’s no way.
I don’t believe I’m special.
I do believe I am a great writer, although at times I didn’t have knees or legs to my confidence as an artist and I don’t know if you are great at that thing you want to pursue and go all in for.
Great is subjective.
As my man said today, “Some people will pick up Bukowski and think it’s horse shit. Other people deemed him one of the greats of our time.”
And when I say I am a great writer–my success as a writer is that I love writing.
I’ve been writing since I was in grade 3. If you’re at the cliff and too afraid to jump into your craft, try. Try because if you don’t, you will never know.
I know so many closet innovators, musicians, writers and artists.
And I look at them and wonder what would happen if they too went “all in”.
If I am “special” or if I was just brave enough to try.
I would have tried even if no one caught me–because to try at what makes us feel alive is my definition of living.
It’s the reason we are here.
We aren’t here to pump out kids, buy houses and make money.
That’s all more lies.
We are here to find what lights our spirit on fire and to burn alive in it.
So, are you really trapped? Or are you afraid?
Are you ‘special’ and a ‘unicorn’?
I don’t know, I truly don’t.
But when I woke up today I didn’t have a piece of white bone sticking out of my forehead.
All we have is our choices in this world.
And we get to choose to live on this blue and green dot in whatever way we see fit.
What if Jane Goodall thought that someone else was better suited to study chimpanzees, because she was just a secretary with no degree?
What if Klimt went, fuck, Picasso and Van Gough already spoke to all that paint needs to know?
What if Ellen went, “Oprah is already slaying”.
Everyone you admire and see as a success started their journey with a choice.
To say “yes” and choose themselves.
It comes down to courage.
Being courageous enough to leap into the arms of what you don’t know–and you’re right, maybe some people just can’t hack it.
Some months I don’t know where my rent money’s coming from. I just pray.
Pay cheques are awesome.
But, if you’re sitting on the sidelines of my life and art and telling me I have some super power that allowed me to create a life I love living–I don’t have ears for you.
I could have walked away a million times the last 3.5 years when things got tough.
I stayed because my system is what makes me alive, and what makes me happy and I can’t imagine marching to the beat of any other drum than my spirits cry.
I don’t know what the fuck you have to do to create your life.
Cleaning caterpillar poo in Costa Rica might not be your game plan, but you have to be willing to admit to yourself that you are choosing every step of your life and you positively have to be brave enough to roar and walk away from everything that sucks your spirit dry.
It’s all unwritten anyway.
You could walk into work tomorrow and get fired, or, you could realize you don’t feel alive because you’re pouring your life force into something out of alignment and walk away, walk forward and try.
Or, maybe I am a unicorn.
Guess you’ll never know if you keep bitching about how special I am, rather than look at what you’re special at and love, too.