#14 in a series of wild and precious things that help you commit.
This week I learned about commitment. Commitment is a nuanced word: on the one hand, blind commitment to a goal that is never re-evaluated leads to rigidity and often poor outcomes.
On the other hand, there are moments (the most poignant are inverted tricks) where early and irrevocable commitment are necessary or you will end up injured.
This week, I recommitted to myself. I went running for the first time in three years. I allowed myself to daydream for a few hours in the middle of the day. I joyfully wore slightly mismatched outfits. I stayed resolutely focused on appropriate emotional expression because it’s an essential for me to put more emotional maturity in the world. I made art — without caring whether it was “good” art.
Pregaming for a craft night, I threw a bunch of disconnected scraps in an old canvas bag: a blank sketchbook, some origami paper, a few things of embroidery floss, and a couple old half-finished cross-stitch projects —and two needles, neither of which were cross-stitch needles. At the craft table that night, I poured my things out and stared at them. Tactile cross-stitch, a witnessed Braille-infused dress, white floss, and a recent epiphany that we are blind to love and love is blind combined to create a white-on-white cross-stich with the words “I love you” stitched in Braille. Then I stitched in hearts of different shapes and colours to seal the effect.
When you’re tired and the threads of commitment are shredding, you need to ask yourself: “Is this still a goal I want to pursue?” If the answer is “Yes” the next question is: “Is this worth the effort?” If the answer is still yes, then you recommit. This week I asked those questions about my relationship to myself and I have to say that I am still a little tired but the commitment is real.
“It literally took me fourteen years to “make it” in any real, bill-paying way in show business. And in the meantime, my job choice was constantly being questioned by my parents, my friends, their parents, my parents’ friends, just about anyone who wandered by our house and heard what I did for a living. I was told it was impossible. I was told to be realistic. I was told I needed a safety net and that nobody made it in show business without connections. None of these people who were talking had ever worked in show business. Many of them had never been to LA for more than a weekend. But they sure knew how it all worked. And how it wasn’t going to work out for me. This is when I learned a valuable lesson: anyone trying to give you career advice is full of shit, especially if it’s a family member. People hear about you trying to do something they were never brave enough or lucky enough to try. You making a go of trying to make your dreams come true makes them feel bad. Maybe because they had the same dream. Maybe because they had a mean dad who made them become a stock analyst. Now they see those small decisions dictated the shape of their lives, and it makes them feel disappointed somehow. Whatever the details are, they’re projecting all their old shit on you. Step away from these people gingerly. Do not engage. Because it doesn’t matter if you fail. Your trying is what sets the tone for your whole life story."
"Your “career” is just another word to help you categorize the journey you will take through life. Why not start brave and bold and believing in yourself? And if you fail in the thing you want to do, that’s fine. You can start your career-having life in one career, and then if you need to, you can switch to another. I did." — Karen Kilgariff, Stay Sexy And Don’t Get Murdered
“I don’t know, if I have to give some sort of advice here to all you sweet baby angels who want more than how you’re currently living, I’ll say, just remember that as long as you’re attempting to not be a dick and doing your best to do good things, you’re worthy of a good life, one that you’re proud of and that when you wake up every morning makes you stoked to be yourself. And if you don’t wake up stoked to be you, figure out the first step you can take toward that life you want. Once you’ve taken that first step, then figure out the next step, and so on. It might feel like a long journey (it is), but for me, that was the most important part, because once I got to where I wanted to be, I was confident in my ability to grab that opportunity by the balls and make it my bitch." — Georgia Hardstark, Stay Sexy And Don’t Get Murdered
Whose voice are you still listening to? Is it yours? And is that voice your kindest, most compassionate you? Try writing a letter to little-you. To your 5-year-old self. Tell yourself all the things you (and maybe only you) love about yourself.
A nutritionist at school was the first person to help me reparent myself (NB: we should all learn to reparent ourselves. This is not a reflection on our parents. It’s just an adult skill we all need) When you talk to yourself, picture yourself as “little you” — as small, vulnerable, adorable, 5-year-old you. And then speak to yourself as you would to that version of you. With pure, unadulterated love and compassion.
Try this: Try taking your 5-year-old self on a date this week. To the arts and crafts section of a store, for example. Or out to eat — dessert (or whatever 5-year-old you would love to eat) Bubble bath! Finger painting! Baking cookies! Staring at your bellybutton! We can’t and shouldn’t stay 5-years-old for long in our adult bodies, but dang — it feels luxurious to visit for awhile every so often.
(and yes, this idea comes with a generous h/t to The Artist’s Way, a lovely book by Julia Cameron)
March 9, 1959: Barbie made her debut.
7. Song (Commitment. 5 songs. Literally starts in an almost saccharine way and builds to a song that has me ready to commit to the journey.)
8. Video. (Funny 42 second TikTok of 2 Vietnamese young people having fun with the official Vietnamese PSA to help spread the word about the corona virus.)
9. Hero: Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, Podcasters
Why? Truth: they were both reading Daring Greatly (Brene Brown) when they got the idea for their podcast “My Favorite Murder”. I am hooked, and not so much by the murder as by their unapologetic, vulnerable selves. They are heroes of emotional availability, authenticity that looks sincere, likable and raw all at once.
10. Take Care of Yourself This Week and Share if you know someone who might like this.
podcast episode on track for Wednesday this week — God willing and the creeks don’t rise.