Pains and Gains – today’s prompt by The Daily Post.
The idea: Do you agree with Jane Fonda’s favorite exercise motto, “no pain, no gain?” Is it impossible to attain greatness without considerable hardship?
I would have to agree with that motto. Sometimes, life can be hard, especially if you want to get anywhere in life, if you want to get ahead. Going after your pursuits, your goals and dreams – you have to struggle. At times, you have no money, so you can forget college, but many times you have the option of loans that you don’t have to pay back till a little later. And even if you do go to college, sometimes you have to work 2-3 different jobs just to be able to live, pay for your apartment, buy food, and, even then, live on 4 hours of sleep per night and do it all again the next day. I remember this life. I did the full time school 8a-2p M-F, then work 3-11p M-F and work weekends, go home, eat a corndog, do homework and papers till 230a, get up at 630a to begin it all again. I got used to it. I was younger then.
Then, you realize you really know what you want to do with your life and you finally grow the balls to work toward it, after years of going back and forth (do I really want to put myself out there like that?!). And it’s hard as hell. You have taken a few risks. You quit your 9-5 job working for assholes who don’t give a damn about you. You quit because you can. You quit because you searched for opportunities to work from home so you can answer your number one calling of being an active and present parent and actually raise your child. So, you work from home and you take care of your kid. You take more risks and reach out and acquire more contracts so that you can earn the money to keep the lights on and food on the table and occasionally go to the theater and sit down in a restaurant. You’re tired but it’s worth it.
You try to sneak in time for your second biggest dream of becoming a best selling author. You face your fears of insecurity. You face your fears of one day becoming a huge success, God willing. You struggle to find the courage to put yourself out there. You like people but prefer to communicate through the written word, not so much the spoken one. I guess you realize the “you” I’m referring to is really me.
If you want anything in this life, it’s not worth having if it comes so easily. I went through a terrible marriage but received life’s greatest miracle and blessing. My daughter. All I ever wanted since I was a toddler was a daughter. She made me whole. She filled me with the love and appreciation and celebration I had been lacking all of the 31 years before her. She made me feel wanted and needed and complete. Then divorce came and I was thankful. I was free. My daughter and me. No more eggshells to walk on. Still, it’s a struggle being a single parent. So many responsibilities. You have to work hard to earn money. You have to work in time to clean your house and mow the lawn, cut down trees, trim the hedge, feed all the animals, wash the clothes, get your kid to school, pick her up, get her all of her needs and spend quality time hugging, kissing, talking, laughing, walking, dancing and sharing secrets. The last part is the easy part. You have to fit it all in.
And still force in that time to write, which is your second largest dream. You face your fears. First, you write for you, because you feel lost without those words, those characters. You talk to ghosts. You talk to those in your head, your imaginary friends. Then, you write not only for you, but to get out those messages from your characters to others, because they so long for their stories to be shared that it hurts your soul to keep it all to yourself. You want to honor them. You have to find your strength. For them. And for you. You have to face your demons. Maybe you won’t make it big. That’s ok really, since you are still earning money and can pay the bills. The point is that you tried. You put it out there. You put yourself out there. You attempt to publish and face 100 rejections. It hurts. But you keep on. I figure I’ll stop trying at 200. But first, I have to actually finish the book.
Then, there’s the fear of success, which is stronger than my fear of failure. I’ve already failed. At many things. I know what that’s like and that’s old news. I can take it. No biggee. I have that experience. But success? Oh my GAWD! To actually make it?! To be out there and have to do interviews. I throw up in my mouth a little at just the idea. I mean, I did drop out of college classes just from my fear of giving 3-5 minute oral presentations. To have to go out and do book promotion and marketing?! Talking to people?! Excuse me while I hurl. Okay, I’m back. It’s a potential reality I have to face. If we want anything worth having, we have to battle it out with ourselves. We have to step outside our comfort zone sometimes. And sometimes, we fail. But if we really, I mean REALLY want it, we don’t stop until we get it. It may take years. Years of struggle, tears, poverty, going hungry, going without sleep, going without air conditioning in 111 degree summers – we do it because we have to, because we don’t know who we are without that thing – the level we want to reach. Fear is only an obstacle. We work our way over it, around it, under it, or either clobber it to death and go through it, but we get past it.
Fear is only the devil on the way out. You’re making room for God and courage and strengthening your soul.
Who else is willing to face their fears?
Who will stand with me?