So. What does it take to put oneself out there in the world?
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s a handful, nay a fuck ton of advice out there on just about anything and everything you can think of. When we’re being cynical we point out that Google can show us how to make pipe bombs and when we’re desperate we’ll click on just about anything to show us how to attract the right mate. Or if you’re in my industry and you’ll have to check a few different boxes depending on the day to figure out which of “my industries” I’m talking about here; there are a lot of resources out there that promise a formula to success.
But I’ve gotta point out, as far as I can tell, I’m the only one living my life and I’m pretty much the only one that’s ever going to live my life. The good news and the bad news is no matter the advice out there by anyone who’s ever done anything worthy of mention, no person alive or dead will be a better me than me, ever. And for that matter no one will ever get to live your life or be a better you than you can be, ever.
Drop the mic, hang up entire career.
Oh. But there is this one thing. Or maybe, many several "one" things. One of the things is the fun monkey experiment that taught a bunch of sciency people about the power or usefulness of empathy in our brains. Sciency people are quite fond of and do a lot of experiments with monkeys. Anyway, there was this one time with sciency people and monkeys where they discovered that when a monkey is watching another monkey do an activity that its brain lights up in all of the same monkey brain areas as if it was doing the action. Now I know what you’re thinking, you’re having a hard time keeping track of the monkeys, I get it. But we’re the monkeys. Does that help? Sure, sure, some people don’t want to be monkeys. But, um for this instance, just go with we're the monkeys, it will be easier.
We learned to walk and we learned to talk and we didn’t know that we were able to do that, we just thought that we might be able to and we figured it out by watching and listening to all the other monkeys around us. It’s how we work. So the deal is, even though no one else will have our resources, our experiences, or our lives, when we share our experience it allows the other monkeys to find the resources and experiences with in themselves to figure out their own way to walk and their own way to tell their story.
So again, what does it take to put oneself out there in the world? I’m not sure what it’s going to take for you, but watch what other people are doing. Perhaps you will get a few ideas that will feel just YOU enough that you’ll be willing to try them yourself.
I’ve received a lot of positive feedback on the blogs I’ve written. My last piece about the dog park especially made more than a few people really happy. I’m so delighted to bring smiles to the hearts of others and I'm thrilled that people liked my work. This also kind of stopped me in my tracks a little. Like many of my creative endeavors, I don’t really know how that blog happened, it just kind of appeared on my computer. I was beginning to flesh out an idea and suddenly there it was. Dog park, butt sniffing, leg humping….it just wrote itself.
And people liked it, which is great and yet, well….okay, I didn’t panic exactly, but I was reminded of the “Sophomore Album Syndrome.” I wondered “Do I have anything else interesting to say?” I mean how do you follow up success? I thought that blog was funny, I think a lot of things I say are funny, but I also thought that I was a little crazy for posting it. Sure we all are encouraged to be authentically ourselves, but often we’re swatted on the nose for our impulses. I’ve certainly had my nose swatted more than a few times.
And when I think of it, failure is something I have a good deal of experience managing. What to do with actually being appreciated for who I am and how I think…. I don’t know that I have a lot of practice with that. I mean, sure I do, kinda….except, not really. Recently I’ve been feeling incredibly appreciated. It’s pretty amazing actually. I’ve felt like I’m exactly where I need to be. I’ve been meeting amazing people and doing the things I’ve wanted to do for so long. I’m feeling how I've wanted to feel in life and it’s absolutely amazing and joy filled and completely terrifying. Just, …. yeah, terrifying.
Have you felt this before?
Have you gotten exactly what you’ve asked for and then not known what the heck to do with it?
I’ve been rereading Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly and she talks about Joy as one of the most vulnerable things a person can experience. She shares the concept "foreboding joy" which is when people experience joy and then feel an immediate sense of doom, the other shoe falling, ‘too good to be true,’ and 'when are the hidden camera actors going to jump out and reveal themselves...?'
And it turns out, yes I’ll go ahead and ruin the punchline, that gratitude is the way to deal with that simultaneous sense of impending doom while experiencing joy. But for me, the joy itself is frightening enough without even getting to the thoughts of “how long will this last?”
I have a high tolerance for pain. I find it fascinating. It’s really easy to endure things that I find fascinating. I kind of understand pain as feeling so many sensations all at once and your brain can't quite distinguish one from the other so it generalizes all of it into pain. One of my old strategies for overwhelming pain, was to just leap right the heck out of my body. My yoga practice has helped me get more present with life in general and pain specifically, breathing through and saying yes. Sometimes, I get just as overwhelmed by good feelings and I can feel myself beginning to drift away. And those are the times when I'm pretty sure it would be really great to stay the heck in my body. I don’t want an auto release on my awesome. I want to stay the bleep in my awesome and experience it fully.
I've had a lot of awesome lately. Which is exactly what I'd wanted because I'd been feeling horrible for 8 months. Just the worst. I've had so much joy lately I've actually had to remind myself and coax myself into staying right in my body. “Stick around Adrianne you don't want to miss this. You're going to want to be here and experience this, because you'll want to remember this later, I promise.“
I just found out a dear friend and mentor of mine, someone who is great a feeling things deeply and appreciating the world around her, moved out of her charming country cottage where she’d lived 23 years surrounded by giant trees and coyotes. I’d had the pleasure of house sitting for her in years past and I assure you that this land is amazing. When I’ve thought of her out there I'd think of a tiller, a chainsaw, a bunch of love, memories and decades of songs sung in the cathedral of pines. She has one of those big voices that carries for miles. Although she's leaving, I know her voice will continue to echo there in the trees as she moves forward, holding the land in her heart.
She sent me poems that she’d written during her last night on her land. She wanted to stay awake and capture it all one last time. These are the moments you want to remember. To keep with you for always. So often there are moments that are too full, too powerful, you can’t capture them with a camera you have to just take them in and keep them with you. As I read her poems, I was reminded that as an artist there often isn’t a line between our lives are our work.
I remember back when I hosted Karaoke maybe 10 years ago I was blessed to meet and old cat named Iceman. He was one of those guys that had been around. He had one of those voices that would lubricate the women and keep the fellas drinking. Everyone knew Iceman. He was one of those guys. He gave me some really great advice that I’m still working on today. He was complimenting me on my voice and performance, giving me a real work over and then he grabbed my hand and looked me straight in the eye and he said “You’ve got it. You know what I’m talking about, that IT people are looking for, but you remember this; never mind people throwing roses.”
Never mind people throwing roses.
Today I remind myself that as artist, when I put myself and my work into the world it’s important to keep in mind why I’m doing it, even if most days I have no idea why I’m doing it. It’s just how I breathe into life. It’s how I breathe into the joy. How I breathe into the pain. And if gratitude is the way to experience it fully, then I want you to know that I am grateful. I know I’m not alone. I know there are others of you out there. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by brave and creative people willing to open themselves to life, willing to live it fully. I promise that I’ll keep writing, and I’ll keep singing, and I’ll keep finding ways to make art of this life whether people like it or not. Oh, but if you do enjoy what I’m putting out there and you want to let me know, feel free to do so.
And I like dahlias. Dahlias make me happy.
So it turns out I’m open to suggestions for new blogs posts.
Today someone suggested that I could go to a dog park because I might be inspired to write a blog about dog park etiquette. This got me wondering how life would be different if we all introduced ourselves by spinning in circles smelling each other's butts.
Imagine how this would change networking.
Just yesterday I was at an event and I joked that if I were to encounter one of those germ phobic non hand shakers it would be funny to just grab them and kiss them on the mouth. Just like that.
What would they do then? Huh? Huh?
I probably wouldn't actually do that.
But I am fairly certain that I’ll bring up the dog butt sniffing thing the next time I’m meeting someone new….
Meeting new people can be challenging.
They say it's best to just be yourself....
You know, I might have the guts when encountering a germ phobic person to just say “oh, you know, that’s cool, that’s alright” and then just hump their leg a little bit instead.
Just a little bit.
Because that’s less intimate...
So, yeah, I’m open to suggestions about new blog posts.
(Catalyst, Breakthrough Specialist, Baggage Assassin, Quit Smoking Specialist, Idea Consultant, Force of Nature)