Originally written Dec. 2013
I met a couple today whom I would never had met had I not been working where I do. I would never had sought them out, since we probably would have never run in the same circles in life. In fact, I feel guilty for having pre-judged them. They seemed like they might have been stuck in the sixties, and those of you who know me, know that I am just a wee bit hesitant about anything sounding or looking like the sixties. God, forgive me.
These two people, however, I realized after speaking with them for a brief period of time, were kindred spirits, and I am sure that their words will remain in my thoughts for years to come. In a way they will haunt me. You see, he was a sculptor and I found the fact that he was the creative type intriguing. So I asked if he ever got in a slump – thinking of my own “slumpy-conundrum.” Instead of answering, he asked me a question. “What do you do?” I told him that I wrote, but I have been having trouble putting something down on paper.
He handed me his card which read, “Don’t become famous for something you don’t like.” I think I wept inwardly for several things: the wasted hours not writing, the wasted hours writing for a faceless audience, for the stories in my head that have waited so long to be told, and for the the stories that I had wanted to tell but didn’t and so now they have vanished. What a revelation. I smiled and explained that I think I had been so concerned about what everyone thought of my work and it frightened me to the point where I didn’t do what I truly wanted.
His wife interjected for a brief moment and explained that her husband was a writer AND a sculptor and that he actually sculpted what he wrote. He beamed as he explained that he loved what he did and he never allowed people to dictate to him what he should either write or sculpt. He challenged me to not be concerned with validation from everyone. That there would eventually be someone who liked what I did.
Now all of this said, neither of them told me something that I didn’t already know. I just needed to be reminded, yet again, that my unique voice can stay just that – unique. And I don’t need to constantly seek approval, guidance, or even validation for my work. I can be myself and even incorporate everything I love into what I do and make a difference – even if it is just within my own soul. So, thank you, my new hippie friends who I will likely never see again. What a blessing you are and what a difference you have made in my life. (Hmmmm….sounds like a song I once heard…) Who knows, maybe there is enough of that hippie attitude buried in me to get me to break free of the inhibitions that are keeping those words from being written.
I finally have SOME things written, but I need constant encouragement and pushing to keep me going . I’ll eventually get where I need to be.