This weekend, David and I decided to go out to dinner on Sunday night. Somewhere fun, just the two of us. We hadn’t done this in a while, and we’d been off doing our own things all day (Him – tailgating… yes, even intellectual types do this occasionally in Northern California. Me – watching a Sister Wives marathon, drinking tea, and working a little). So we picked a super hipster gastro-pub, and I meandered off to get dressed.
I figured I’d just wear my normal uniform, jeans and flats and an over-sized sweater, and dress it up with jewelry and makeup. I’d look cute enough, it would be easy. And then I found myself thinking back on the post about inspiration, and my conversation with Rebecca. How much harder is it to put on a skirt and tights than jeans? Instead of complaining that I never get a chance to put together an outfit, why didn’t I dress it up?
So I did. I pulled on the tiered grey skirt, and the black tights, and the wooden necklace I got at Mighty Summit. And then I reached for my flats. And right next to the flats were my grey cowboy boots, the ones I thrifted in Brooklyn this spring and almost never wear. So what the hell? I put them on.
And then I stood in front of the mirror wondering if I was the kind of girl who wore grey cowboy boots and black tights out to dinner. Was I, really? Was I that hip, ever? What would it take to be that girl?
And then I realized. What it would take to be that girl was wearing the outfit out of the house. That was it.
I had, after all, already been brave enough to buy the damn boots in the first place, I might as well wear them. So I twittered the outfit as proof, and clunked my way out the door. And you know what? I was one of the cutest damn girls in that hipster pub. And I loved it.
I’m telling you this story not to talk about fashion (because do we care what I wear on my feet? Not really.) I’m telling you this because it seems like an apt sum up for my life this last month. Since I got back from Mighty Summit, I wrote about the inspiration that I took away from that weekend, about challenging my relationship with money, and about actually going for what inspires us. And ever since then I’ve been gunning for my big goals and dreams.
And let me tell you, I’d almost forgotten what this feels like. Which is, in sum, hard. It’s exhausting.I’m used to the constant day-to-day work of making projects happen. See: this blog. Every so often I get emails about blogging, where people ask me what my secret is. Did I hire a publicist when I first started? (Ha! No! Never have!). Did I design a big fancy site right away? (Um. No. Do we forget the-hell-that-was-blogger so quickly?) Did I have amazing contacts when I started? (Uhhh… definitely not). The real truth is, there is no secret to blogging other than work. Write. Write your heart out five days a week for about a year. After that, write your heart out three days a week and share reader stories two days a week if you want. Keep writing. Know where you want to go, and keep looking up at it, even when it seems impossibly far away. Know what your voice sounds like. Write in it. Write more. Does this sound tiring? It really, really, really is. But it’s also awesome. It’s a world were a bunch of women with no particular wealth or privilege can create amazing work, build supportive communities, and get the world to pay attention to their ideas. That’s worth every second of the drudgery.
So that, I’m used to. I’ve been writing APW for two and a half years now, five days a week. I know the drill of work, and most days I love it. What I’m not used to any more is the dreaming bigger, and the rejection. I’d forgotten how it felt to go on auditions and get told no, over and over again. I’d forgotten what it was like to apply for theatre jobs where 70 other amazingly qualified, fantastically educated people were applying for the same job, paying (sad-trombone) $27K a year in New York City (I got that particular job, for the record). I’d forgotten what it was like to knock on door after door after door, and get told no, over and over again. I’d forgotten how depressing it was. I’d forgotten how determined it can make you. I’d forgotten that confusing, partially excited, mostly terrified feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach when someone finally says yes. I’d almost forgotten that art is my hustle.
But over these last few weeks I’ve remembered. I’ve felt the instantaneous swoop of despair you feel at ‘no.’ I’d felt the confusing terror of ‘yes.’ I remembered that what it takes to be the girl in the grey cowboy boots, is just pulling on the d*mn boots and walking out of the house, head held high. It’s hard. It’s emotional. It’s exhausting. But it’s also invigorating.
Because f*ck em. You pulled on the boots and you wore them. And girlfriend to girlfriend? I don’t really care if they told you ‘no,’ you looked hot. Because nothing looks quite as good as bravery.