Sunday, February 22, 2009


I'm back! Sorry I've been absent. I've been juggling late nights, a shitload of commuting, a million different jobs, and sanity all at once, so please forgive me.

....which all got me thinking, since that's what I do.....

When you're busy chasing a dream, often THANKLESSLY- at what point do you stop??

Obviously, to me the answer is "Never." If you continue pursuing then there's absolutely no other option than for you to succeed, because you have no other choice. Period. When there is no backup plan, there is no safety net, you can't spin off into the oblivion on nothingness- you just must succeed. AND THEN, of course that strong, "never" becomes..."how much longer can I ACTUALLY do this?" It becomes, "but I need to be able to function like a normal adult..."

or the worst mindfuck of all, "what if I really never 'make it'?"

It's at the point where the momentum is enough to have me spinning out of control with a racing mind and an empty tank of gas and circles under my eyes- but no money to fill the tank. Both literally and figuratively. It's at the point when the most exciting part of the evening are the free drink tickets allotted to the band.

When my freelancing work is taking up several hours of my day but I still have yet to see the success I'm looking for....

and then, what if I never do? What if it's all just busy work and we're all just little ants, scurrying about and burning mind fuel on fear and doubt, until one day we hunker down and say "fuck dreams, I'm tired. The ones in my sleep will do."

AND THEN, I feel like an asshole for being in a constant state of WANT or of pursuit...its like I'm spitting on my present as if it weren't good enough, even though it is PLENTY. I love my life. I have a beautiful family, incredible friends, and an amazing man. I'm pursuing not one, but several of my dreams and have already achieved so much as it is....and then there's the BUT, the BUT; what if the money continues to be "just enough" to pay the bills (barely) and all of the vision boards I've created are just a waste of a perfectly good glue stick.

I'm at the edge where I could opt for security or I could continue to scramble. Daily digging, hitting the pavement, scratching with nails and raw fingertips until I get what I want...or find a better angle, a better connection, a more lucrative opportunity. Huffing and puffing up a steep and unkind hill, then waking up in the morning smelling like a dive bar and a pack of Parliaments.

So there's moments, just MOMENTS, in the day when I think- "what if this is IT? What now?" Then I usually opt for doing things like Googling the word dessert to distract from my inner Crazy that wants to threaten me with visions of doom, a big ass, a tiny house and weekly karaoke contests at the local Suburban strip mall bar.

I watched a video the other day by Elizabeth Gilbert on TED.COM and she said something that really struck me (I'm paraphrasing) about how as artists people are constantly asking if we're "afraid", what if we can't make it, what if we've already done our best work, etc. etc. Then she said she tells them, "My Dad was a chemical engineer. That is what he did, and no one ever asked him if he were afraid."

SO WHO AM I? Who am I that I shouldn't be afraid of being, because it simply IS.
I'm not a chemical engineer, or an accountant. I'm not a school teacher or a dental assistant. I don't work retail, or sales. I don't have the personality for 9-5, I don't have the patience to teach children.


.....So, that is what I will be.



Unknown said...

No matter what you are right now, it will be different tomorrow. No matter who you are, it will be different tomorrow. That is what makes life interesting. It is also what makes it scary.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Ah yes Dan, no doubt. I agree with you is in constant motion- this is one mantra that keeps me sane actually. BUT, there are key parts of ME that will always be there. Theyre like finger prints, permanent.

kwərk said...

No matter what I'm doing otherwise, with the job that pays the bills for now, I'm still working on my art so that one day that will pay the bills. Doing what I have to to support what I want to both now and in the future.

And as an artist, you can't get away from it, if you don't create and work there it's all running for nothing. I've put aside my things before and it was horrible, I always felt off, when I'm doing my thing I feel more like me all the time. :)

There's a quote about it in my post about Capote on the blog... ;)

Sebastian Anthony said...

I'm in the same boat as you right now, only I have very lucrative contract work which I'm trying to STOP at the moment.

I've been doing web design/programming for about 10 years now, and finally I'm trying to make the change-over to photography, writing, and other artistic aims.

I also travel an awful lot... but of course if I travel, I can take more photos, and make more money!

I hope my new 'art only' direction will be a success. I need to sell more photos, damnit!

Sid said...

I am not defined by my job. I love my job but I am soooo much more. I want to be so much more. I just want to be this person who has done everything she has ever dreamed of doing.

Elle said...

At heart, I'm a writer, despite my actual 9-5 having nothing related to it. Sometimes, I sit in my cubicle and think, "How the hell did I get here?" And it's as you said - when there is no safety net, you can't slack. I guess because I've had a safety net, I have slacked in my own art.

I highly admire those with the drive and belief to pursue they're actual dreams. It's a breath of fresh air, and makes me want to stick my own neck out and take a chance.

If you have that faith, never lose it. You will get there.

Amber said...

I know the feeling. I'm a student, and that's all I've been for the last 16 years. I don't know what I'll be when I finish school a year from now, I don't know where I'll go or what I'll do. It's kind of a scary feeling for me.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what I am. I'm at the point in my life where I have to find that 9-5 job to finance my dreams. That's all I know.

JUST ME said...

All I know for certain right now is that I will forever hate cilantro.

...everything else is up for discussion.

sarahdotcom said...

i ADORE this post.

you are fabulous. and keep chasing your dreams, sweetheart. you'll make it.

i am an athlete. a broadcaster. a traveler, and free spirit.

Lindsay said...

I love how determined you are to follow your dreams. It's one of my favorite things about your blog.

The Blackout Blog said...

I'm bored.

But I'm taking steps toward change, and I have a 4-year plan that will make me much more fulfilled in how I spend my days. That makes me exceedingly hopeful.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

sid- I completely agree with you and I think that's a common mistake and a reason why people get depressed in our culture- when they feel DEFINED by their jobs.

after all it is one of the things that people as first, "what do you do..."

lindsey- THANK YOU :)

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

The blackout blog- a four year plan! SHIT! That is impressive. :)

Anonymous said...

I am clearly not as cool as you...rock on! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm currently planning a skiing trip in Colorado and a 2 month trip to Europe this summer. With tuition, rent, and food (i like to eat) expenses in mind, there are times that I feel financially discouraged.

Your post reminded me that...
I am a traveler.

And this I will not ignore.

Anonymous said...

Once you do make it in show business, can I be your freeloader?

La Petite Chic said...

I'm not brave enough (nor talented enough!) to be an artist, but oh, how I admire you for chasing your dreams.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

janie- FANTASTIC!! I love hearing things like that!!

Diana said...

I feel your pain. I did cosmetology for over ten years, then went back to school for Library Science. WTF right? How do you go from hair to books?? I don't like giving myself a title. I feel so "adult"!

[F]oxymoron said...

I'd rather look back on spilled ink, blotches of paint, scattered notes, tattered pictures, and captured smiles than a big ass question, "What if?"

If you ever come to DC I'll subsidize a glass a booze... Consider it the exclamation point that follows...

This post rocks

Anonymous said...

"When you're busy chasing a dream, often THANKLESSLY- at what point do you stop??

Obviously, to me the answer is "Never." If you continue pursuing then there's absolutely no other option than for you to succeed, because you have no other choice. Period. When there is no backup plan, there is no safety net, you can't spin off into the oblivion on nothingness- you just must succeed. AND THEN, of course that strong, "never" becomes..."how much longer can I ACTUALLY do this?" It becomes, "but I need to be able to function like a normal adult..."

Thank you for this! It is exactly how I feel about my life in Los Angeles, and why I moved there and it definitely explains my current situation, too. I've tried to explain it to so many people so many times but you just helped immensely!

YOU, are awesome. :)

Anonymous said...

having been a writer for many years for newspapers, a mother now, i can safely say i love being a mum. i also love to write. it's just that at some point, nomad or not, one has to pay the bills. and that is where i am right now. this world needs everyone right now, the optimist, the pessimist, the fun loving artists who continue to make the world a colorful place
there is room and something to be learned from everyone.
the optimist reminds us to keep hope alive. the pessimist tells us hope always comes with bills. i think i like to live my life without regrets, i have several. but i am still happy right now and doing the best i can. right now, i need financial stability. but what i want the most, is to get out of the east coast and go back and see my home country and parts of the world i grew up in, and other parts i didn't get to see. i'd love to go to africa. australia. but right now, it's all a dream.

MissBliss said...

Never stop chasing the dream!

there is a great book called ART AND FEAR

that you should get a copy of... it has some amazing stuff in it, like an art professor whose little kid asks what he does, and when he tells his kid he teaches people how to draw, the kid says,

You mean they forget?

Anonymous said...

I too am an artist.. its a lonely.. one understand.. I am a middle aged flake.. I had to tell a friend last night.. I am not a people person.. she nearly freaked out.. I can't eat my art.. I can't pay rent with it either.. but.. I am happy being me alone.. with my dogs.. who love me undconditionally.. I have searched high and low.. for jobs that suite me.. and unless I create one.. it looks grim. I write.. I draw.. and I look like a fruit loop to others.. I don't want to be a nurse.. have tried to become a CNA.. hated it.. get fired from almost any job .. that doesn't stimulate my creativity. I am not interested in investing 4 or more years to return to College for fine art to be in what society calls the norm.. I want a cool job.. like Ace Of Cakes.. or.. in a art gallery. I worked with kids..and it was one of my better jobs.. but..I had a headache everyday.. too much noise.. If I could seriously.. be somewhere making money.. I would become the sitcom character.. Caroline from that show..Caroline in the city.. sitting at my drawing table in my house.. or apartment .. coffee in hand and drawing comic strips. That would be my office.. but.. realistically.. and I am not.. how many jobs per people applying for them are there. I am in a bind.. Not .. a 9-5 woman. No one has any ideas .. kinda leaving me to come to my senses.. IF .. anyone wants to email me with some encouragement.. or advise.. I can be reached at" I knew .. I should have went to FIT.. after high school... or Hollywood.. lol.. ohh so sad