Why am I doing this? It all comes back to the people we encounter.
A friend of mine once told me that her days are successful when she enjoyed them. She’s an artist.
That’s an interesting perspective of success, I thought.
So. After two years of working solely as a writer on a novel, far-off from the world, in a little town where I had hardly any friends, I asked myself these questions: Am I successful by her standard? Do I enjoy my days? Do I enjoy writing for several hours every day and then go foraging, rummaging, tinkering, painting, drawing by myself? Do I enjoy going for walks, by myself? Going to the pool, by myself? Going to see movies, by myself? Doing everything by myself?
(I have to admit that I actually prefer to see a film without anyone next to me in the movie theatre.)
Anyway. In a quiet moment, I had to admit to myself that I missed the world. Sorely.
I missed conversations with like-minded people, I missed collaborating creatively with other artists. I missed floating through a day, meeting up for coffee with someone, going on a photo-trip with someone else. I missed the vibrating, fulfilling, exciting pulse of life. Writing can be a lonely job, if it is your only job.
So I tried to change my situation. I quit town, left the country to travel around, got back, offered my talents.
I wanted to serve. With my talents. Wherever I had been, at Uni or when I got a prize, people always told me:
You are so talented. You will make it. Your future is bright and successful.
But why didn’t it feel bright and successful, which equals, joyful? What was I doing wrong?
I thought about the people in my environment. How they do it. About other artists. And then, another friend came to my mind.
My friend G. is a director, filmmaker, social-media-genius. He is hugely successful (i.e. joyfully) handling a dozen projects at a time, managing facebook, websites, studying at UCLA, and for what it’s worth, writing and directing crowdfunded shortfilms. He seemed perfectly happy. Delighted. Passionate about himself and his job. Going and growing step by step, making his way. So I asked myself: What is his secret? What does he understand, what I cannot?
I believe that we are all here to contribute to each others happiness and growth and to learn from each other.
It came to me quickly. He had converted that, what made him suffer, into strength. He had converted what made him sad into something that gave him joy. And from this strength, success, happiness and creative projects emanated.
He processed his suffering from society’s reaction towards his sexual orientation, in an open, honest and creative way. He writes films about it. He talks about it. He gives interviews about it. He became a role model. A part of a community, which embraces him for all that he his, for being a single strong voice in a world that often has little sympathy for that which is different. And if that wasn’t enough, he is a stellar networker, constantly conveying something on twitter, facebook, goole+ or whatever. So G. became my role model.
Turn your weakness into your strength, I thought, and share your specials features, your talents, your uniqueness with the world.
Everyone of us has something unique to offer. Let’s share and appreciate it.