What’s the longest dream you’ve ever had? I don’t mean a long rambling dream in your sleep about that place that was your house but wasn’t your house, a celebrity you’ve never met and a classmate you haven’t seen in years. I mean having a dream for your life. A goal, aspiration, a wish.
Mine is to be a writer.
It still is. I think.
This may sound strange, but, there are other things in my life right now that appeal to me about as much as being a writer does. Finding my husband. Finding my place in my community. Dancing.
To be honest, it scares me.
I’ve wanted to be a writer my entire life. Aside from a small stint where I wanted to be a CIA agent because of Alias, it’s pretty much been my one goal. Get published by 15, world-renowned by 20, never have a job except to make things up.
So much has changed with time. Not only do I still not have a book published by nearly 25 (to say nothing of my attitude regarding writing as “making things up”), I’m not even sure I want to be world-renowned at all. I want to be successful, yes. I want to be able to have enough money to support myself and to do the things I would like to do, yes. But I also want to dance while I’m young. To abandon money and sell out for Jesus. I want to travel and meet people and not be afraid of what will happen to my job if I’m not there to do it. To be a confident person who can build something without a man’s help, or live alone or go on dates.
I have done extraordinary things with my life, but there is still so much to do.
Before dance, I don’t think I ever loved an activity as much as I have writing. Now, I find myself wildly in love with something, and it isn’t what I’d expect, and it scares the heck out of me. I’m a writer. Writers are loners. Sure, they have their little ring of friends, but they don’t go out and kick it on the dance floor, they don’t party every week, and they certainly aren’t good at it.
But I am, and I do, and I have no idea what to do with this. How do you have something come into your life that is just as good as a dream you have been pursuing your entire life? Especially something that on the surface seems so frivolous? How do people cope with that kind of thing, and, more frightening, what if the shine wears off? I’ve been dancing for about a year and three quarters now, and I still adore it. It’s been rocky at times, yes, but it’s also been something I’ve fought for when I didn’t even know I could fight that hard. I mean, I’ve fought for Machine too, given up time with friends and family, countless hours, the disappointments of rejection and toil of editing.
But it’s not like it was ever something where I had to overcome anything for it. Laziness, maybe, a thin skin, but never horrible anxiety, not like I’ve had with dance. And I’ve always wanted writing. It’s never been something I’ve had to discover or fight for in a “I’m not even sure if I want to be fighting for this” kind of way. I mean, when I fought for dance, it was all in, all or nothing fighting. In the midst of half the time thinking I didn’t even want to do it.
So on the one hand, writing is safe. It’s always been there for me, and in that sense, has validity, if only through stability.
But dance has helped me to grow by leaps and incredible bounds, and sometimes I’m not sure just why I’m writing at all. To entertain people? To reach them? Teach them? I joined Twitter recently as part of my taking steps to build an author platform (which is not nearly as fun as the other parts of writing), and sometimes it feels like I’m just making noise, amidst a sea of noise. Like me, think I’m charming, I’m an authority, too. If this is what I’m writing for, to have people like me on the internet, then I’m not sure this is what I want.
On the other hand, I believe in Rick’s story. I’ll likely have spent a decade on it before it reaches readers, at soonest. So how do I justify spending that much time on something just for it to fade away? To have nobody read it but me and a few other people? Has this whole thing been just for my benefit? To develop things in me for just myself or a few other people to enjoy? There’s a part of me that screams this can’t be true. That my story is important, and deserves to be read.
But every writer thinks that.
To struggle so much to get a foot in the door when you feel this way is the fastest way to start feeling down.
To have nobody else but you think that your story matters.
And I know that that’s not really true. That my family or friends think it’s a valid dream and that somewhere out there is my right fit. But they don’t live it every day. They don’t bleed it like I do.
Like I do when I struggle with dance.
There’s so much I want to do.
The choice is the hardest part.
Sometimes I just want to build a birdhouse. A birdhouse called Machine.