Six months ago, I would not have believed that the life I am living now was possible.
I was working at a job that had become deeply toxic, burning myself out to write about topics I didn't care about, feeling guilty about taking time off, and cursing myself for everything I didn't have the energy to do.
Now, I am working as a freelancer, writing within my interests, and substitute teaching on the side. I have started a blog and gotten two-thirds of the way through writing a novel I'm really proud of.
Every day, I try to find a flow and follow it, and I actually spend most of my time *not* miserable.
Since quitting my job, I have also taken two vacations (to Mexico and the East Coast), fostered my passion for cooking (and eating), explored acting, published one of my short stories, and been selected as an Artist-in-Residence at Chateau d’Orquevaux.
My life is filled with opportunities that I am excited about.
For example, before I go to the Chateau in February, I will spend the holidays with my partner's family in London and take a solo trip to Naples, Italy to explore the work of Elena Ferrante more deeply. I am most looking forward to sharing my experiences with you, right here on my blog.
Every one of the events on my calendar were distant dreams before, things I never imagined I would accomplish, things I didn't allow myself to do -- or even work toward.
Sometimes, I don't understand how I accomplished all these things or how I got to this point in my life at all.
I didn't come into a massive amount of money, and aside from quitting my job (and deciding not to get a new one right away), I didn't do anything terribly drastic.
I'm still the same person who worries, obsesses, gets into silly arguments with my loved ones, and procrastinates by staring at the wall, binge-watching bad TV, and taking long afternoon naps.
I often ask myself, "what changed?"
Challenging Limiting Beliefs and Rediscovering Spirituality
So, what did change? The answer seems to be: my beliefs about what was possible.
Although I have not fully stopped believing that time and money are limited resources, I have rediscovered the magic of free time and flexibility.
I have also realized that resources really aren't as limited as I might have imagined. At least, they aren't if you believe they aren't.
Really, I have just stopped believing that the world is out to get me and started to trust that the universe (or whatever you want to call it) might just be looking out for me. I have also (cautiously) started to accept that people might actually be interested in what I have to offer.
I know this all seems a bit spiritual, and maybe it is, but I think spirituality was something I was missing for a really long time, and it feels good to get it back.
Giving Myself Permission
When I was going through the worst breakup of my life, I was sad and crying all the time. I was constantly trying to fight the feelings, clean myself up, and get on with life.
Then, I saw a therapist who told me that the solution to my problem was giving myself permission to feel those feelings. And oh boy, did I feel them.
I felt those feelings, and sometimes I still feel them today, but the permission was the key.
Once I gave myself permission to grieve, I eventually got to feel really amazing, happy feelings, too (throwback to the first real smile after that breakup pictured above).
Giving myself permission was equally important when I started living a more creative life.
I realized (and am still realizing) that maybe I can be more useful to society outside of the rules that society itself has prescribed to me. Maybe I can be more "productive" outside of a 9 to 5 job. Maybe my life can be richer without a regular paycheck.
So, What Is Audacity?
Ultimately, the biggest challenge I have faced -- and am still facing -- is finding the audacity to do all of this.
That sneaky voice still comes up, like, "who are you to work on your art instead of doing something responsible," and I have to say to it, "I am Logan Rose, and working on my art is the responsible choice for me right now. Thank you for your concern."
If you've been following my blog, you know by now that I was deeply moved by The Artist's Way, and found it to be an extremely valuable tool for mending the feeling of loss that I think most (creative) adults carry around every day.
One of the concepts that spoke to me was Julia Cameron's concept of audacity.
Audacity is defined as, "a willingness to take bold risks," but Cameron describes it as shaking off shame and recovering a sense of hope and courage, both of which are crucial to a creative -- and happy -- life.
To do embrace audacity, we must challenge what we have been told, reassess our beliefs, and mourn our losses (i.e, give ourselves permission to feel).
Audacity, says Cameron, makes all the difference.She's not the only one, either.
Sophia Amoruso, the original and controversial Girlboss writes:
"The only difference between you and the people who are doing what you want to be doing - is they're doing it. You just have to start."
While I've dismissed this sentiment for its simplicity before, Amoruso is right.
Of course, finding the courage to "start" and "do it" is a complicated -- and it's an ongoing endeavor.
Also, I have found that you just have to do whatever "it" is for the pleasure "doing it" itself.
I don't write because I expect anything in return. I write because it's the only thing I want to be doing with an unexpected afternoon off, and I acknowledge that the unexpected afternoon off is the universe's way of supporting me and my art.
Writing this blog is a treat. There are millions of other things I should be doing, but "should" is not a useful word when it comes to audacity or art.
"Should" is not a useful word when it comes to living the life I have imagined or living a life I am proud of.
In my opinion, audacity is eliminating the concept of "should," accepting the gifts I have been offered, and trusting that I deserve them.
It also helps me to believe that the universe has my back (even if it sounds hippy dippy) and to remember that I can get through anything.
After all, I've made it this far, haven't I?
Maybe, I'm audacious enough to say that I am Logan Rose, and I am an artist, and I can be happy, too.
Thank you for being on my journey with me.