The Beauty In Uncertainty
First thing’s first, shoutout to all the people struggling with depression and anxiety due to uncertainty. You don’t know what you’re in college for. You don’t know what your passion or purpose is in life. You don’t know where your next dollar or meal will come from. You don’t know if your artwork will sell. This is for you.
If you put me in a store full of clothes and said “don’t leave here until you create a fashion masterpiece,” I’d probably cry some real thug tears. One, because I don’t like being forced to shop without a purpose; and two, because it is petrifying to create for the sake of criticism and consumption. I recently moved back to Texas from Oklahoma for a new start after spending twelve years there. As much as I love being back home where I was born and partially raised, I hate drastic change. This chapter in life is now a blank template of new life lessons, goals, and possible misadventures, and I’m not ashamed to admit I am scared out of my mind. I had a “writer’s block” for the last three months. Because I was somewhat isolated from the world I knew, I had a chance to sit in it and observe. Here are some things I’ve come to realize that might resonate with you:
Unfortunately, a lot of us were raised to be decisive and urgent in every aspect of our lives. While that has its benefits and efficiency in different environments, using these tactics for abstract concepts like success and self-worth has its pitfalls. Social media’s push for instant gratification opens and digs at that wound of needing affirmation and confirmation. Often, we were asked at the tender ages of five and six years-old what we wanted to be when we grew up. After years of subconsciously picking up social cues, we were wired to say things like “doctor” or “firefighter” for approval. Over the years, if you were into the Arts like me, your parents probably sold you the ideology of being “realistic” and “practical.” To aim for a career that would produce more stable jobs in a ten year span was a surefire way to financial success. Perhaps they made that suggestion with your best interest at heart, and yet still, it made you second guess your choices, your instinct. Let’s say you went to college. You had to go straight from high school or you’d “never” go. Perhaps you wanted to be free from the supervision of your parents and jet off anyway. Maybe you changed your major a few times to some financially rewarding professions. Maybe you got your degree in said profession and have options of jobs that make you rich but also make you want to throw up. Maybe you chose not to finish college or not to even go to college, and now everyone’s hitting you with the side eye. Maybe you’re middle aged and have realized you’ve never truly been happy with your work, and would change it if you “knew then what you know now.” You’ve gauged and tracked your success by comparing it to individuals who, at any age, will never have all the answers. You’ve been trained to be decisive right now, or fail forever. You’ve heard countless times that “failure is not an option”. But, has anyone ever told you that failure can be… temporary?
The word “failure” has this reputation of being dark, gloomy, lonely, and everlasting. It has this reputation of being a destination instead of a speed bump. The world will never broadcast to you that the its greatest actors, actresses, musicians, painters, and photographers were once restaurant servers or retail salesmen at the mall. The story of being an uncertain, lost person in the world won’t be told until they’ve become successful by universal standards and decide to host an inspiring Ted Talk. If you’re waiting on someone to tell you this, here’s your confirmation now: be okay with sitting still! It’s okay to not know! Be present in the moment and confront that uncertainty. Shift your internal dialogue. Your success is not supposed to be identical to anyone else’s. You aren’t broke, your funds are just in transition. You don’t have creator’s block, you’re just waiting for your ideas to bloom in its destined season. Don’t let nobody rush you based on some mythical biological clock. Maybe you need to hear that you can’t put a price on your priceless art. Financial provisions are necessary, and capitalism’s a bitch, but creating simply for the sake of monetizing is a creator’s suicide. Now if you’re on the verge of homelessness and starvation, by all means go get your coins. But in less extreme cases, you’ll never be satisfied until you replace consumer demands with genuine love and connection for your interests. Your passions, your dreams, your goals are (and I cannot stress this enough) yours.
At some point during this process, you’ll see life for what it is, and realize even if we know a lot, we really don’t know shit. You have no clue what wondrous adventures your days will entail but you should be open to all its possibilities. You’ll need to look in the mirror and say “You know what, I’m raw as f***. I’ll get there when I get there. PERIODT!” Live for yourself and enjoy your life’s fingerprint. Know that your time to shine is coming, and when it does, it will be better than you can ever imagine.