Another Week, Another Lesson to Learn

Photo by Deanna Lewis on Unsplash

Welcome back to another Friday!!

This week was long, but even more so, it was HOT. It’s been in the 90’s for the past few days here in SLO and my wardrobe is as confused as I am. Even so, we keep on keeping on. 

Because with long weeks comes more time for good moments, and let me tell ya, there were a few.

First of all, I’m a fourth year here but I’ve only just started going downtown on weekends this year (shoutout to my roommate) and I have to say, dancing can do so much good for you. Almost nothing compares to taking a few hours to shut off your brain and turn on your rhythm instead—it’s not about always thinking about life so much as it’s about feeling it too.

Some people do yoga, IM teams, biking, etc. and some of those take skills, equipment, or teams.

All dancing requires is a body and a solid beat to move to. That’s it. If you’ve seen what Grey’s Anatomy used to be, you might remember Meredith and Yang solving problems by “dancing it out.”

Photo by Drew Graham on Unsplash

I get it now. Sometimes life necessitates taking a step back from everything and I am beginning to find that dancing is one incredible way to do it.

I’m just saying. Try it, you won’t regret it.

Beyond that, I also realized that I register for the second to last time of my undergraduate career in under two weeks. My senior project forms are officially turned in, my fiction writing workshop is (almost) set for next quarter, and this quarter is forcing me into creative limits I haven’t pushed before.

I’m running out of time but I am also growing, a lot. It’s incredible.

My digital projects have been taking a lot of time with software I have never used before, but they’re also turning out quite well. These days, I have projects that I lose sleep over just to make it something I can be proud of—I’m lucky for that.

Even regarding things that I love too much not to be insecure about.

Here’s what I mean:

Three weeks ago, the first six pages of my novel were handed out in class, read aloud, and picked apart. Brutally. After feeling as if I’d found my groove again and a voice that I was consistently proud of, I was honestly really discouraged. These were stories and characters that I’ve been thinking about for the past year of my life, that I’ve fallen for, constructed, and molded into people I can almost touch. 

I have never been so passionate about and dedicated to a story and its characters—they’re real to me in a way I can’t explain.

Leaving class that day, though, I felt like it wasn’t enough.

That feeling is never something easy to move through. Whether it’s feeling like your work can’t meet expectations, you don’t quite measure up, or something about what you’re doing just isn’t enough… It’s hard. Even when you move past it, it’s hard.

Sitting on those pages for days, thinking and overthinking just what I needed to do to make it work, I was unhappy with the writing I defined myself by. All of it. 

I couldn’t touch any of it for fear that it would only get worse from there. With a deadline yesterday, I knew I had work to do and still put it off until the last minute when I truly had no other options but to do what needed to be done. 

Photo by Angelina Litvin on Unsplash

So in the hours before it was due, I took the boundaries of what I set for my story and I pushed every single one of them, again and again, before printing my copies and bringing them with open hands to class. 

And they loved it. My two workshop partners, both writers I highly appreciate and respect, loved my story. They want me to keep going.

So do I.

At some point, in doing my work and chasing my passions, I forgot that I needed to be my own advocate along the way. I forgot that no matter what anyone else says, we need to be the ones pushing ourselves to keep going or to go out dancing and shut off our brains when we need to or believe in what we do, otherwise sometimes no one else will.

That, and sometimes on the other side of that, if you ever need someone to be your hype person, all you need to do is ask. Trust me, there is always someone out there who believes in everything you are.

What else are the people you love for if not to remind you of that love when you need it?

Because if you had a week like mine, it was filled with ups & downs, lefts & rights, and maybe a little too much heat.

Photo by Ryan Tauss on Unsplash

But it was also filled with moments that could have lasted forever and reassurance that you just might have needed.

Some weeks are like that. The good, the bad, and everything in between. These days, I think I’m learning to be okay with that. If you’re not, I dare you to do something about it.

I know I am.

Happy Friday, see you next week. 

How to “Do Good Work”

Almost two weeks back home now and I’ve been catching up on my reading lists little by little. By now, I’ve read at least 2,500 pages between about 5 books, added far too many quotes to my quote wall, and found one book that I am discovering so much in that I just had to share it with you all.morgan-harper-nichols-157838.jpg

In 1999, Stephen King wrote a book called On Writing, a memoir on the craft of writing itself. Though I like it for its specificity to what I want to do for the rest of my life, I have found that a lot of it applies to anything else in this world too. There are a few quotes I could pull from it that really stand out to me, but there is one that I think I like just a little more than the others— you’ll see why in a second.

Keep in mind that mind that we live in a world where the work never stops, people are always moving, multitasking (no, not orange) is the new black, and the sky isn’t quite the limit anymore. The limit seems to be wherever we decide to put it; we’re the only one’s who have that power when it comes to our own work. Take my writing for example, I’m only as good as I put in the work to be— if I don’t have time to read then I will never have time to write. That’s the limit. For other people, it could be a mental block, holding themselves back when they could do more and be more if that was something they truly wanted. It’s not always about the time, but the work we put in towards whatever goal we are trying to reach.

Like Stephen King said, “Sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”

Ever felt like that?

james-padolsey-152010

I know we’ve all been there, almost like trying to make yourself go to the gym but all you can seem to do take a short walk on your lunch break  instead. Or every time you try to create something new and better than the last thing you did, it turns out to be so much less than you had hoped it would be…

It’s called trying. The key phrase in King’s quote is that still, you’re doing good work.

Have you ever taken a video and then watched it, only to cringe at the sound of your own voice in the background? I know I really don’t like hearing myself on video, most people don’t. But if you ask anyone else if it sounds as annoying as you think, they’ll probably say no. It’s all in your head.

Now take this idea and extend it to the work you do or the effort you put into different aspects of your life— just because it doesn’t quite turn out the way you want it to or falls short of your expectation doesn’t mean it isn’t just as important as all of your successes., even if you can’t see that. The big idea behind it all is perseverance, I don’t know where any of us would be without it.

I am nineteen years old, the last time I can still claim the title of teenager, and quite possibly the final year I can keep my grip on the chunk of adolescence I know I’m going to lose hold of within the next year. My friends are all growing up, getting engaged, moving away, tanner-larson-297481and pursuing a future for themselves. My parents and my friends parents are all gearing up to finish what they started with us, sending the last of us to college, taking vacations without us, and finding their way to the hopeful retirement that seems to keep upping the age every year.

Yet it seems that no matter where we’re at in this moment or where we’re headed in the near future, we’re probably going to hit a few roadblocks and end up “shoveling shit” in the process. That doesn’t mean we should quit, and that definitely doesn’t mean we’re not good at what we do. I think it just means we’re human.  And as humans, whether we know it or not, we will always find our way back to doing good work when we’re ready to.