Will You Stay in Your Lane?
Updated: Oct 3, 2019
I just saw an instagram post from Idris Elba. It was an interesting post because he was recommending people to stay away from the types of people that like to remind you of what lane you are in, in your life. He said to keep away from these people.
I know the type of people he is talking about. They are the type of people that would say to you…but you’re not a singer/musician/painter/writer/dancer etc, you’re a (insert profession here).
That crushes you immediately because you start to feel inadequate. On top of that, you feel that you are being arrogant in calling yourself something, in which you are not ‘qualified’. Even if it is something you have always dreamed of calling yourself. In my case, I’ve dreamed of becoming a writer. I’ve told myself for years, I can’t call myself a writer because I have never published anything. I’ve always been afraid of the naysayers dropping that line and ‘putting me back in my lane’ as Idris so rightfully put it.
As I was writing this post, I came across a page of writing that I wrote on the 23rd of June, 2017, which discusses this very topic (was that the universe pointing me in the right direction...maybe??). So, I have decided to include it here as it reflects feelings I’ve had for some time, as I've struggled with this very notion of becoming a writer.
Read this...from 2017...
So, I just watched the movie Sing Street. It was so inspirational. That young boy, Conor, who was the main character was brave in his conviction and determination to follow his dream. The movie was based on a true story, which I think is great! Someone was actually that strong in real life!
All through my life, I’ve dreamed of writing, but I always found a reason not to write. Wracked with self-doubt and fear, I’ve led a safe life. I chose the route of education, got a job and lived in the safety of consistent money coming in every month. The security of that way of life makes it almost impossible to break out of it. Before you know it, it’s a way of life, you’re middle aged and you’re stuck in this image of yourself. Being a mother, wife, friend, employee – it’s safe being in those roles, what’s scary is thinking of breaking out of what everyone thinks you are and doing something different. It’s scary because you could fail. It’s not like I haven’t failed in my life, but I’ve failed small. I’ve always had the security of my education and being able to get another middle class job and move on from the memory of failure, safe in my identity of being educated, of being employable.
This midlife crisis that I seem to be going though is stirring all sorts of desires and needs in me. I want to write. Maybe, no one will ever read these ramblings but whenever I write, it’s like a relief. I feel lighter, happier afterwards. I’m fighting through my fear and getting the words down. I’m pushing through my procrastination and it feels good.
Do you ever get that feeling of needing to create something beautiful? Painters paint masterpieces, sculptors sculpt amazing pieces of art and songwriters write songs and people acknowledge their gifts. Writing is creative. I may not be creative yet but I plan to be. I want to write something beautiful. Something that when people read it, it makes them laugh and cry and it stays with them after they have read it. I want to write something that makes the people who know me proud to know me. Something that makes my kids proud to be my kids. Something that will encourage them to follow their dreams. So they know that this life rewards you for being brave and not for just following the crowd or doing whatever Joe Soap does.
This world is full of beauty and diversity. There is a place for office workers, for technologists that create amazingly functional code and for researchers that write profound papers with interesting scientific contributions. But there is also a world where you can be free to explore who you are and discover yourself even at the age of 43. I got an 'A' grade in my English exam in my final school exams and my teachers used to read out my essays in class because I was good. Somewhere along the way though, I convinced myself I didn’t have what it takes.
I’ve had an amazing life. It has been a life where, early on, I did not have the luxury of following my creative dreams. I could have, of course, but I chose to delay them. I needed to prove myself first. I was from the back-end of nowhere and when you come from somewhere like that, there’s a temptation to feel like you’re not good enough for city life. So, I needed to prove myself pretty quickly. (Who I was trying to prove myself to is still a mystery – I’m guessing it’s me or my parents.) If I hadn’t done this quickly, I’d probably still be working in fast food joints and I’d be too exhausted to be creative anyway.
So, my life has been a constant uphill journey and I don’t regret anything. I had energy and enthusiasm and drive back then and the uphill journey was fun. I wanted a profession so I could say I’d achieved something. So, I became a software engineer for IBM. But I got bored of that pretty quickly. Soon after that I met Fabio. He was just like me. On the way up and loving every minute. A bit broken, like me, but who isn’t? He was and still is the most perfectly suited individual for me. Thankfully that has not changed over the years, even though we both have changed a lot, we seem to have changed together. Now we have two boys, who are simply wonderful – messy but wonderful. Of course, we can't forget Charlie, our cat!
Having that said I’m at a point in my life where my passion for writing has been buried for so long that it seems to be bursting out of me at the seams. In the past, I’ve written stories. I started to write them in my twenties. I would write them and reread them after the first draft and cringe. I started to believe that I wasn’t that good. The crippling self-doubt came flooding in and I stopped writing.
Over the years, I decided that I was better at writing academic texts, so throughout my thirties I wrote my PhD and research papers and book chapters. This helped. I was doing what I loved…almost. I also learned that the first draft of something is ALWAYS terrible. So, I spent a lot more time on my writing. I had a wonderful PhD supervisor who wrote like an angel. So, I learned a lot from him. However, since turning forty, creative writing is constantly in my head. So, I’ve come to the conclusion that I just need to write these monologs of my thoughts. For the time being until maybe I get better at writing! My heart sings afterwards and I love the world again!
End of post from 2017...
So, there you have it. Even 18 months ago, I was feeling the urge to write. It’s only now I am getting around to my blog. I am also writing a book too, let’s see how that goes!! But you know something? It's ok if it never gets published!
Thank you people for reading my posts. I love you all!