Hey y’all, today I wanted to write about something a little more personal. Lately, I’ve been feeling kinda stressed out and I finally took an extra day off work to chill out and find my zen again. There’s a lot going on in life and sometimes anxiety gets the best of me. Anyway, I guess I’ll jump right into this.
So for those of you that don’t know, my better half, i.e. Cameron Lambright, is a writer/author/poet/word wizard and is currently pursuing his career by working at home. Additionally, we run a small publishing company together called Incandescence Press. I do the business stuff and he manages the literature we publish. It’s pretty awesome. As of right now, (August 2016) we have released two books by Cameron – a sci-fi novel called Blazing the Sun and a literary fiction novel, The Young Garden Manifesto. We have also remastered the book The Witchery of Archery by Maurice Thompson, which was originally published in the late 1800’s about traditional archery. Cameron wrote a biography and an introduction to the book and completely remastered the text. This means instead of a junky scanned version of this book, you can get a shiny, new book in paperback or hardcover where the text and images are clear and readable. He’s well on his way to finishing the sequel to his book Blazing the Sun by the end of this year and has his own blog, “The Granite Notebook“, (which is a far more sophisticated blog than this one) where Cameron publishes articles about a variety of topics.
In order to pull something like this off, it requires a lot of hard work, perseverance, and ability to stick to our goals despite what anyone else has to say. These reasons are why I am writing this post today. Cameron and I have enormous goals, and frankly, it’s not a walk in the park. (But worth every step.) Have you ever seen those carpe diemesque motivational quotes out there on the internets that are like “follow your dreams despite what people say” (example below) which, when you read them, gives you a slight emotional high and you’re like “heck yeah! follow your dreams!”, and you proceed to pin the image to your “quotes” board on Pinterest? Cameron and I live our life like that, we’re chasing our dreams. What these quotes don’t reveal is the hardship that one has to go through to actually follow your dreams.
If you actually look at what your dreams are and are completely honest with yourself, chasing them might not feel like such a great idea. Dreams are amazing, but they’re also downright scary sometimes. For example, a lot of folks want to drop everything and travel, yet why isn’t there a giant surge of folks (normal, everyday folks, not fancy rich people) dropping everything to go out and explore the world? Well, for a lot of good reasons. Money, time, logistics, family, and a variety of other things may be holding them back. In fact, I find that lots of people have really wonderful dreams, but don’t take any action to follow them because it may be risky, scary, or not what other people think is a good idea to do. The quote in the image above is like, “oh look at the small stuff in life, isn’t it great? let’s just tack on ‘fight for your dreams’ on the end of this, it’ll be lovely”. Honestly, fighting for your dreams shouldn’t have a pleasant nature image with some cutesy imagery like bumble bees and rain smells associated with it. I think fighting for your dreams imagery should be more… intense. Vicious even.
Yet despite how scary it can be, Cameron and I have chosen to fight for our dreams. In doing so we have taken quite a few risks and made decisions that were hard to make. For example, I quit my stable job with a decent income a few years ago to get Incandescence Press set up. Soon after, Cameron quit his job so he could focus on writing. I had a short gig at a grocery store and went back to school despite not having an income. I took out student loans to pay for my education and our life during this time. We moved into a cheaper place. We have spent a fair amount of money on printing books and hosting websites and going to conventions. We have spent hours and hours researching how to run a business. Cameron has been working years now on his art without having a “normal job”. We’ve postponed goals like purchasing a new home, having kids, and traveling the world (Although we do pretty good about getting out and doing what we can in our car.) just to follow this dream. We live a very frugal lifestyle too – because the dream that Cameron will be successful with his art takes precedence over a lot of things. In fact, I think we’d go straight up balls-to-the-walls dream chasing crazies living-hobo style under a nasty bridge somewhere (if it had decent wifi) except that we’re slightly reasonable people and we have a few severe environmental/food allergies that hold us back from doing so. Literally, what holds us back is life-threatening health problems. (Divine intervention anyone? haha!)
Anyway, we get judged by other people for making these choices. This is hard to deal with sometimes. I understand that it’s not “logical” in the normal trajectory of the average American citizen’s quest for the perfect career for us to have Cameron stay home and write novels while I work. On top of that, my job isn’t making a ton of money, so we’re paying our bills (mostly), but that’s it. (My job is great, though, so not complaining.) I can’t tell you how many times my own family members have asked, “Why doesn’t Cameron just get a job?”. All they can see is that we don’t have a lot of money right now, which makes me super mad. We’re working really hard, and what we’re doing is a long term investment. I know that we don’t have the traditional American measure of success, i.e. money (yay capitalism!), to show for the work we do yet. YET.
I guess that’s what has gotten to me lately. Dream chasing requires a lot of guts, a lot of determination, and a lot of not giving a f*%@ what other people think. A lot of things in life are like that, really. As I get older I am slowly, oh so slowly, learning how to just not care so bloody much about what everyone thinks. Now, I’m not saying one should just start shouting “YOLO” and being crazy. I care about my reputation, both personally and professionally. I care about my relationships with my friends, family, and coworkers. I care a lot about what they think, but I often care too much. Life is about seeking out some sort of balance. I am naturally a people pleaser. Been that way ever since I was a kid. But just because I want everyone to be happy doesn’t mean I need to somehow not be happy myself. And that’s where the dream chasing comes in. Before I met Cameron, I always imagined that I’d have some sort of side gig in addition to whatever career I was pursuing. Some sort of independent business where I didn’t have to worry about having a schedule or a boss, where the results of my time and effort would all circle back around to my family, not anyone else.
Kinda cool that I got to marry an amazing writer eh?
Chasing this dream is amazing! I couldn’t be more lucky. Not only do I get to actually have a chance to follow a dream I’ve had for ages, I get to do it with this incredible person that married me and we’re in this crazy love whirlwind together. It’s literally a fairy tale. Yet somehow I let other people’s opinions seep into my brain space, and it feels bad. I’m sure a lot of you are like this, but do you feel like you have this extremely logical, rational side of your brain and then a wild, unpredictable emotional side of your brain? I know I’m definitely that way. My brain fights with itself a lot. Logically, I know that Cameron and I’s pursuits are worth the time, effort, energy, and tears. If you’ve read his work you’d agree. It’s solid stuff. It’s not gimmicky or shallow. It’s legit, intellectual work that deserves a few hours in a person’s hands as they read the soul that’s in it. Emotionally, I’m all over the bloody place. Some days I’m crazy excited. Some days I’m super worried. Some days I am totally freaking out. Some days I’m so content and full of bliss that we’re doing what we want to do. It’s a roller coaster. One of the reasons why my emotions are like this is due to the fact that not only do I have all of my own worries and fears, but that I allow for other people’s opinions and ideas to invade my already roller-coastery brain and cast more shadows of doubt and fear.
It’s pretty important that I learn how to stop giving an eff every time someone poops on our parade. For a long time, I thought that this would be a skill that I’d somehow pick up as an adult. It seems like a lot of adulty adults doing adult things know how to do this, but now that I’m an adulty adult doing my adult things every day I think that there are very few people out there that actually know how to stop giving a f*$%. I honestly think that what you have to do in these situations is fake it till ya make it. Maybe over time I’ll get to a point where people’s judgements don’t get to me so much, but for now, I’m just going to pretend they don’t. Trick my brain. We’ll see how it goes. Because it’s not that my whole brain needs being tricked. My logical brain knows we’re good to go. It’s this silly emotional brain that keeps tripping me up.
I think this post is starting to get out of hand so I’m going to wrap it up. For Cameron and I, chasing our dreams is incredibly important to us. It hasn’t been easy, but we believe whole-heartedly that the efforts we’re putting into Cameron’s writing are worth it. If you haven’t read his work, I want you to click right here and change that. Not because I’m trying to trick you, but because I believe that art is important, and one of the things that makes art work is for it to have an audience. For someone to enjoy the magic of what humans can do with their brains. Art helps us learn, discuss, and experience the crazy world we live in. Don’t forget to take some time each day to enjoy that magic in your life.
Here’s some magical options for you:
Until next time folks!