**This is an edited version of a previous post that I thought was worth revisting.**
How do you express yourself...express your joy? What are your passions? Perhaps you don't even know. Does your joy speak through music, painting, with the written word, or through the lens of a camera? Maybe it's through dance or programming, fashion or animation. Could it be that the real you is yet to be discovered? Or do you know EXACTLY who you are, or who you want to be? And if you do, do you allow yourself to express that deepest truth?
I have spent most of my life "doing the right thing". I have grown up, been schooled, gotten married, had children, and maintained a thriving career. I have bought a house and brought home the bacon, been a good and loving wife, a nurturing mother and a caring and giving daughter. I have been the life of the party, the witty and loyal friend. I have paid my taxes, paid the piper...paid my dues. I work hard and I play hard. I have a beautiful life, enviable even. I have no regrets.
Well...maybe just a couple.
Aside from the unthinking, through-the-daze-of-youth-and-inexperience type of rash decisions that always lead to unpleasant consequences, I have two regrets. First and most important, I regret that through it all...through the joy and heartache that a full life promises to deliver, that I did not love myself enough. I did love myself...more or less. But not enough. And because I didn't love myself enough, regret number two was born. I regret, with every fiber of my being, that I did not follow my heart's desire sooner. I did not honor the little voice inside my head (as well as what every teacher I ever had told me)...to write. Write my truth. Write my feelings, my thoughts, my story. Give voice to the images behind my eyes and the sounds tucked beyond my ears...to the beating of my heart and to the earthen soil of my soul....give voice to the little girl who sat alone for hours in the dusty aisles of her neighborhood bookstore, breathing in the secret scent of the stories contained within.
I've tried. God knows I've tried. I have started and stopped, started and stopped...a dozen worthy projects. I have schemed and dreamed and set up space. But I have never seen any of my ideas into full creation. I stand in my own way. My life, the one I created, keeps stopping me. But really, it's just fear.
I've told myself I am not qualified. I'm not good enough. I've convinced myself that it is too scary to expose the real me. What if people don't like the real me? Well...what if? Will I wither away and die? Will I be abandoned and alone? Judged? Criticized? Ridiculed? Will I be told to stop dreaming and join the "Real World"? What if I fail? What if my best efforts are a flop? What if my artistic endeavors of self expression take away from my responsibilities?
Isn't it also my responsibility to be true to myself? To love myself enough? Isn't it yours as well? And isn't it...time?
Whatever brings you joy, whatever lights a fire within you, your passion....should at the very least, be of equal if not greater importance to anything, anyone, and everything that your life consists of. Your joy is your essence. Your joy is what makes the world a better place. And there is no-one else on the face of this planet who is more qualified to express your personal sense of joy better than you! So what is it? How do you express your joy?
Give yourself the gift of getting out of your own way...you'll be amazed at what you can become.
I welcome all comments and contributions. I want us to create this page together and give breathe to the voices within. Here I will take the journey from dreamer to doer, from writer to author. I invite you to walk beside me and I would be honored to do the same with you...wherever you may find your joy.
***UPDATE***I wrote this blog post in 2013...since then, I have indeed followed my own joy, my own voice and loved myself enough to walk forward holding the hand of fear...I wrote and finished my debut novel. I'll keep you posted on its progress.