Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
So easy to just fall down when life picks up the fierce winds. But the familiar credo “One Day at a Time” applies to not just addiction, but life. We can only go through one battle at a time.
When I sit down and think about how far I have to climb to even get close to where I want to go, I feel like having a tantrum.
When I think of everything broken down into little steps, one day at a time, I don’t get as overwhelmed.
Did I practice my craft today? Yes.
Will I practice it tomorrow? Yes.
I remember a moment when I’d impulsively taken off for a week up north with my ex-boyfriend who had called me up on visiting the Bay Area, knowing full well I shouldn’t, that we were horrible for each other. In the five days we spent together, I got a DUI, lost my job and got kicked out of the place I was living. I came back home to nothing.
In a moment everyone with a mom they can still talk to has, I called mine, sobbing. She said to me, “Pick yourself up. Brush yourself off. Keep going.” And in spite of all my self-pity and the whirlwind of drama still whipping around me, as I stood outside of the job I had been fired from moments earlier because of taking off for those days without their permission, I heard her loud and clear.
Have I picked myself back up every time someone knocked me down? Hell yes I have. I’ve been bullied, I’ve been manipulated, cheated, lied to…
I’m still coming back for more. I haven’t given up.
It’s so easy to compare myself to everyone else out there, to be jealous, to wish I had started earlier, that I had been more confident in my youth, hadn’t gotten sidetracked, didn’t get lost on the path. That I was here (18, signed to Interscope, smokin’ hot):
It’s where I saw myself at 20. Then 21 came. Then 25. Now I’m almost 31…
Did I drop the bar? I don’t know. Life is full of choices.
I can’t go back. Neither can you. Regret is a way of staying stuck in the past.
I have No Regrets tattooed in a conspicuous place on my wrist. I thought about it for maybe a week before I got it. It’s the ugliest tattoo I have.
Why did I get it? Because I was beating myself up for all sorts of stuff, from getting the previous tattoo I got, which, last time I checked, is permanent, to whatever the hell else I was tripping on at the moment. I got it where I can see it, to remind myself that I don’t want to have any more regrets. I am not going to hide from my talents. I am not going to be afraid to put myself out there. I will get rejected, I will be made fun of, there will always be people younger and prettier and more successful than I am. But the only thing that separates those who succeed and those who don’t is determination to keep going, maybe a built in acknowledgement that getting anywhere is hard and many people are like crabs in a bucket. If they see you pulling ahead they are going to tell you that you can’t do it, they will attempt to pull you down to their level–even your own friends.
Don’t listen. Many people want you to throw in the towel and check in and check out like they do.
Wake up. Don’t let your life pass you by.
I remember being stuck in juvy for a week, when I was a runaway, in the middle of nowhere Ohio. The song that kept coming on the radio in the pink hallway, was Jewel’s “Who Will Save Your Soul.”
I used to believe that moments like that were cosmic, serendipitous, trying to tell me something, that there are no accidents. And this was simply, a “ha” moment. Great, I thought. God’s found me in the middle of nowhere. The Gideons or some similar religious sect came and gave me a bible, handed it between the bars, told me if I signed my name on the line I would be saved.
I’m not sure if I did or not. I only remember the book was green, and I wanted to believe in something, but I knew they couldn’t save my soul with a simple signature. Nothing is that easy.
I like to believe I’m not here for no reason. That I have a purpose. And I’m beginning to think that creating things mostly acts as a method of revealing myself to myself. And I remember growing up in the Mormon religion, they were always talking about a scripture, I think it was in Matthew, about how if you can save but one soul, great will be your reward in heaven. And I always wondered if that meant that if I’d saved my own soul, I would have won this battle.
I don’t know.
But the way to salvation for me is art. It’s something I have, and I’m afraid of not having.
And I won’t let the world take that away from me.