Reminder to Self and Reminder to You

Be brave. Do it scared. Refer to the sections “Scary, Scary, Scary” (page 12), “Defending Your Weakness” (page 16), “Fear Is Boring” (page 19), “The Fear You Need and the Fear You Don’t Need” (page 22), and “The Road Trip” (page 24) in Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Be Your Own Hero

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok from Pexels

This isn’t your typical “save yourself” sort of be-your-own-hero post. In fact, what might be more appropriate for this post is You are already your own hero. Right? I can’t be the only one who does this: Take anyone I even remotely admire and turn them into this untouchable hero-like, god-like figure—my mom, my dad, people I went to school with who I admired something about them, celebrities whether I like them or not, my favorite people on social media, anyone who appears more successful/got-their-sh*t-together more than me, and anyone who is related to or friends with any of these people, and on and on and on. I bought Own Your Everyday by Sparkles Lee Dooley—just kidding, Jordan Lee Dooley (that’s a reference to the book itself)—probably back in July of last year (?) (Oh my God), and yes, I’m just reading it now. I tend to get really excited for alllll sorts of books I hear about or see those people I like reading (Or writing—ugh, a dream!), and I buy a whole bunch at once, start reading it, get distracted/busy, get excited for another book, start reading that, get distracted/busy, repeat. In fact, I discovered Own Your Everyday from Brianna Traynor on YouTube. I can’t remember which vlog, and if I’m being honest, I don’t want to sit through all her videos again to look for it. NOT that I don’t love her videos (She’s my favorite YouTuber!), just that that takes a lot of time, and I already don’t feel like I have enough time to do everything I want to do. ANYWAY—I mentioned Own Your Everyday because Jordan Lee Dooley talks about people in general making celebrities and other successful people to be superhuman when in reality, they’re not. As she says, we put on our pants the same way. I read 70 pages of the book so far in one sitting. I’m a slow reader and have a short attention span, so that is a lot for me. Her book gave me a push so far to work toward my dreams—the things that give me life and joy and feel like my purpose in life—and a big part of that is writing, blogging specifically, and YouTube eventually and a podcast and books!!! So to start that, I need to continue writing at the very least—baby steps that add up to big steps. And after that, I need to post what I write! I have so many things written for the purpose of blogging and still haven’t posted probably 60% or more of them! Because my dream is blogging and YouTube and a podcast and books, I tend to seek people who do these things, and unfortunately for me, it makes me feel like my dreams are insignificant or unoriginal or a copycat/wannabe, and on and on and on. So these people are many if not most of my heroes. They seem superhuman to me—a lucky few who can work from home and make a living doing these things, which they seem to love and which seemingly gives them time to do other things they enjoy. I think I want to be a stay at home mom until at least all my kids start school. I say I think because I don’t have kids yet to know for sure what it will be like and if it will be something I like, and my mom has warned me several times that it’s not as great as it seems because you’re stuck at home all day with people you can’t socialize with and you can’t afford to go out and do anything anyway. So if I can do a career from home, I could make money and be at home with my kids, and hopefully, I would enjoy that job, and the style of blogging and YouTube, etc., I tend to like is just life—navigating the mundane every day and the feelings that come with it and commiserate with others and inspire others and make others feel less alone and get pointers from one another on things that can make various aspects of our lives easier. Something that is known (as far as I’ve ever seen in the people I follow who post these things) as “lifestyle” blogging/vlogging. And I love it. But going back to feeling unoriginal/a copycat/wannabe—my favorite YouTuber Brianna Traynor has said in her videos before that she enjoys doing YouTube and being able to work at home full time because she always wanted to be a stay at home mom, and that’s what I want, and on one hand it feels like I don’t really want this—that I’m just saying it because I see someone else saying it and it seems easier than the work I’ve been doing for careers out of the house that I think I’ll enjoy or easier than the stories and struggles of just about everyone around me—but on the other hand, perhaps I’ve sought and kept following Brianna Traynor and others like her because I want to be like them—because they are models of what I want to do—like mentors but one-sided. So all that so far to say maybe I and you and all of us are our heroes. Maybe the things we see in them that we love resonates with us because part of us feels seen. And especially when we blow up these traits/skills/etc to seem superhuman, maybe that’s those parts of ourselves begging to be seen and shown. What Jordan Lee Dooley said about us treating people like they’re superhuman also reminds me of something Elizabeth Gilbert said in Big Magic (the book I also bought when I bought Own Your Everyday—still never finished it, probably started it two or three times despite actually really enjoying it). She talked about how in her experience, meeting your heroes is disappointing because you’ve imagined them to be so much, and when you finally meet them, they’re human and flawed, just like you, and there are parts of them you might really not like. And I felt so seen and relieved and not alone and like some weird, creepy, fangirl weirdo when I read that. I seriously thought I was the only person who did this—at least to the extent I did it. It felt like such a big deal to me—like me and anyone who does or has anything I like is literally untouchable and light-years away from me and that while I’m trying to get the things and do the things they have that I want, that they’ll still have and do more than me. And that, my friends, is keeping up with the Joneses. Y’all probably knew that, though. I didn’t realize that that was what I was doing because I don’t want most of the usual “American Dream” things and what most people think women want (We could get into a whole other issue about gender stereotypes.). I don’t want designer clothes or handbags or luxury cars or dumb big houses. I want comfy T-shirts and leggings and sweaters and maybe a couple pairs of jeans even though I really hate jeans and a few shoes here and there but still nothing outlandish. I don’t mind clothes from Walmart or Target although the quality is crappy and causes you to spend more in the long run but I digress. I want a minivan or an SUV, a Range Rover at most, and even still, as of right now, I can’t fathom spending that much on a car when I know I can spend it on other things. I want a big house, yes, but not like we’re used to seeing millionaires and celebrities having. I want maybe seven bedrooms, maaaybe two living areas, a kitchen, two, three, four bathrooms, a laundry room, a walk-in pantry, a linen closet outside every bathroom, an acre or more of land, blah, blah, blah. I still want a lot, but I don’t want the house with the in-home theater or the home gym or the tennis court or the basketball court or the indoor and outdoor pool, blah, blah, blah. I want expensive baby things like Love Sakura Bloom ring slings or Uppa Baby stroller and car seats on and on and on. I want high-quality flea medicine and regular vet visits for my pets. See? I want a lot but weird, PRACTICAL things. So it doesn’t feel like keeping up with the Joneses. But it is. My own Joneses. Keeping up with the Traynors. The problem is all rooted in me comparing myself to others. Something many, many, many of us struggle with, and it’s really hard. So freaking hard. I don’t know if it’s more now with social media and such easy access to everybody’s highlight reels or if it’s more of a culture difference of generations—that we share more openly about our struggles. I don’t know what it is, but it’s hard, and I hope—but I don’t know if—typing all this out will magically make me believe in myself and go after all the things I want and have the confidence to tweak my path as needed and be okay with finding out I might not like what I thought I would and the confidence to not care what people will think of me changing my mind so often or putting myself out there and being vulnerable and doing all the things and talking about all the things you shouldn’t and then it does not work out for me like I want and those people possibly sitting on the sidelines thinking, “I told you so,” “I knew it couldn’t be done.” Maybe they would, but maybe they wouldn’t because they’re worried about themselves as they should be. And even if they would be worried about me and judge-y, no matter who they are and how much I love or like them, it really doesn’t matter, which depending on who it would be, could be soooo hard to accept. Who is it, Dr. Seuss, that said, “Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter”? It’s true. Hard to put into action but true. And the quote that what other people think of you is none of your business—I was so shocked by that quote the first time I saw it. Of course, it’s my business! It’s about me! But that’s just it; usually, people’s opinions of you, especially the negative ones, are about them not you. And to come full circle back to this post’s thesis, even people’s positive opinions of you aren’t about you; they’re about them. The good things you think of others whether right or wrong are a reflection of you. You are the good you see in others. How empowering?


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