How Do You Know?

I have a secret to tell you: living your dream isn’t everything you think it will be. It isn’t, necessarily, the final or the whole answer. This fact hit me like a ton of bricks shortly after leaving my day job. I was stunned. I think I thought the leap into the dream, living every day as a working artist, was it. But, in fact, it was just the beginning. I didn’t understand this back then.

I read somewhere long ago that we never get to escape ourselves. No matter where we go, we always take us with us. I thought they were just talking about geography but I understand, now, they weren’t. We take ourselves into the lives of our dreams, too. What this means is the same issues that dogged me in my corporate life, other than a boss and my clients, still nip at my heals now. The sorrows that kept me awake nights then, still hold me sleepless. If anything, being an artist has brought them to the fore. It is harder to hide when my work is everyday, always, below the surface. The fact is, even though I am living a life I truly love, it is still hard, because I carry that hardness in me. THIS, folks, is what living our dreams does: it shows ourselves to us.

A reader named Sue sent this quote by Katherine Mansfield to me: “The mind I love must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody’s fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind.” I love it, in part, because it describes me—the me I have denied in lieu of some better sister, some perfect girl.

I look at Finn and I don’t know where this dog finds his joy but he is filled with it. Shaggy from starvation, no telling the state of his organs, old injuries causing him pain, he is happy—simply happy. And I think it’s why I love him so much because, given everything, all my blessings, I haven’t found that for myself yet. But it is just there at the tip of my fingers now. It is within reach. It is there in the dark damson of my mind, in the overgrown wood of my heart, in the snake or two of my laughter, in the unfathomed depths of my soul. It is there for me when I can love these things that were born into me—that have waited a lifetime to be recognized; that have wanted, more than anything, to be seen—first by me.

And it is there I will find my joy and nowhere else but.

All photos in today’s post were shot by Kevin Hulett.

Love to you all,

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