Thursday, August 27, 2009

WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?


No one ever asks a med student, "So what are you going to do with your life?"

...because obviously, the answer is, be a Doctor. (All you nerds who leave a comment and get specific here, i.e. surgeon, nurse, etc. you know what I mean.)

Why should the answer be any different for an artist? If you create art, then you'll be an artist. If you want to be a teacher, you will teach. If you want to be a lawyer, you will go to school, you will be a lawyer. For some reason when it comes to a profession that has a shaky monetary value, at best, or lacks an outline- it makes people nervous. It makes people question your sanity, or scoff, or treat you like a child- like you're irresponsible and naive. You're the joke. Then comes the onslaught of questions...."So, what's your backup plan? What if it doesn't work out? How does your family feel about this? Well, don't you want health care (yes is the answer, Obama-make some shit happen please)?? Are you on drugs?" etc. etc.

I've never done anything because I felt like I "had to." And it's worked. It's served me well, because I've followed my own truth. MINE. Not yours, the one that works for me.

Choosing to follow a passion that doesn't have a safety net, or a ladder to climb doesn't mean it's impossible- it simply means you'll find a way to make it work, or you'll give up. There is no grey area. And how you define "making it work" is up to you. Maybe you aren't Coldplay, or Yo Yo Ma, or fucking Michael Phelps but you're doing it- in some way, in some medium. You're doing it because you were MADE TO. You'll learn to scrap, to be resourceful and clever. To cover all the outlets, to dig and connect. You will fall and you'll dust yourself off. You'll tap dance in bumble bee costumes for cash? You will be laughed at, you will be jeered, you will be doubtful and you will then lick the wounds, and walk a bit taller.

My back up plan? I don't have a fucking back up plan, because when you things get hard, which they always do-in any profession, that "back up plan" BECOMES the plan. It's a cowardly way of giving up. Of surrendering under the pressure of other peoples ideals and expectations of your life.

What if it doesn't work out? Here's my answer to that question; IT HAS TO. And, it is. What I am doing is working, because anything else that I would chose to do wouldn't serve me.

I do believe, the Universe (aliens, God, Allah, whatever you choose to call "it") will not make you do what you have no talent for, as long as you're willing to continue under the belief that your talents exist for a reason, to be used.

I'm not rolling around naked (because I presume I would do this in a lot of cash) in money with a glass of Veuve in my hand in St. Tropez. My "tour" schedule doesn't include stadiums and big paychecks, it's more like drink tickets and homeless people showers in truck stops and bribes with kitchen staff for a free quesadilla. Because that's at least SOMETHING. FOR NOW. And even if it's 7 years from now, I may not be as "reckless" i.e. broke, but I'll teach. I'll play. I'll edit. I'll continue to live under the precedent that I will do what I know.

Treat your desires, your dreams, the thing that makes you tick, or talk a million miles a minute because you're so excited about it- like it's your full time job and it will be.


I am a writer, so I write. I am a musician, so I play. I am a multifaceted, sparkly mother fucker with a shitload of desires that ALL desire to be fulfilled, so I will fulfill them.


TELL ME: "YOU ARE ___________ SO YOU ____________"


Yo, you bloggies in Seattle, Portland, Vancouver? Come see, meet me, buy me a beer, propose to me, etc and my band here! We're doing it, the best we can :)





69 comments:

Sid said...

So I'm dreaming of writing a book. I keep talking about writing a book. But haven't actually done anything other than talk about it. I blog each day and read A SHITLOAD, telling myself that I'm preparing for writing a book. Because right now I don't feel like I'm talented yet. Now now I feel like I just need to practise my art/craft ...

blunt delivery said...

dearest soulmate,

you ripped the words right out of my cold, blackened yet artsy heart. i too, am pursuing my dreams and going with what i feel are my talents. and yes, the money sucks right now. and yes, there is stress and frustration, but there is no way i would not continue. i have to create.

congrats to you, my dear. never, ever, give up.

someday, our names will be in print. or lights. or whatever you dream they will be.

Felisa said...

Freakin awesome post. I need to show this to my friend... who wants to be a theater actress. She always gets asked for a back up plan. I hate it when others tell artists to do something else. I always tell my artist friends who are bothered by everyone's comments that they only have to talk to these people every so often but that they have to do their art nearly every freakin day.

I'm a writer, I'm a poet, I'm an artist and I'm devoted to learning about and doing something about social issues. I don't know what that makes me but that's who I am.

Eve said...

I am a writer, so I write. I am a musician, so I play. I am a multifaceted, sparkly mother fucker with a shitload of desires that ALL desire to be fulfilled, so I will fulfill them.

AMAN!!!

Minus the musician bit, because although I can play piano I'm not really passionate enough about it too call myself a musician.

But hell yes to the multifaceted, sparkly mother fucker.

I read the title of this post and cringed. I get this question a lot. And if I was to answer it I'd fill up your comment space.

BUT after looking into your band, I feel I should hook you and my brothers band up. They're based in CA but tour most of the west coast states twice a year and are always looking to hook up with other local rat packs. And listening too your music, I know it's totally the kind of stuff my brother would dig. Oh and I totally do too :) Gimmie your Album/demo/EP!

http://pleasedonotfight.com/

Let me know what you think! x

FabBlab said...

Badass post. You were so bag-on, it hurt. Whenever I tell someone (except my immediate fam bc they're so supportive) that I want to go to fashion school, I want to be a buyer, they sort of look at me quizzically and go- "so you're going to sell clothes? do you even need a degree for that?"
And I feel like smacking them on the head for just assuming that anyone who doesn't want to follow a conventional career path like being a lawyer or a doctor or a say, pilot (I'm being slightly rhetoric here), they deem to be delusional, impractical and dim-witted.
It pisses me off to god knows and so do my friends what extent.
In fact I wrote a post about it-
http://fabblab.blogspot.com/2009/07/i-decided-to-write-about-this-issue.html
when I first started my blog.

I'm tagging your post and you in my upcoming one ;)

GingerMandy said...

i couldn't even tell you how many times i've been asked this.

i have a day job to pay the bills for the next year or so, but i'm still a writer. i'll always be a writer. one day it'll take over my life... but people don't like to hear that because it doesn't involve a steady weekly paycheck and set yearly income. who cares? it makes me happy. therefore i'm going to do it.

tmamone said...

This is something I think about a lot. I feel like I was born to write, but as you well know, unless you write a blockbuster like John Grisham, chances are you won't be making enough bread to make it a full-time career.

Actually I take that back, if you write for a magazine regularly--Newsweek, Rolling Stone, etc--I think the income is pretty steady. But since I don't at the moment, I've got to have a day job to pay the bills (especially since I'm getting married soon!)

But does that mean I'm giving up on my writer dreams? Hell no! I keep working at it, submitted pieces to various magazines, and hoping to maybe land that gig where I can support my future family with my craft. In the meantime, it's the 9-5 world for me.

roxybelle said...

Wow, wow wow! If you could just come to my house and tell my family/boyfriend/everyone else who cares to judge me, exactly what you said here, I would sooo appreciate.
It's the same way for me as it is for so many other people who've commented here. I'm a writer, I can't help it. I write so that makes me a writer. To my parents, I'm just a college girl with a silly dream and will end up being an English teacher and making the family proud.
Blech. First and foremost, I wanna make myself proud. Everyone else can suck it. Basically you said just that, only a bit more articulately.
Bless you :)

http://stripesofsugar.blogspot.com

Mel-Rox said...

I'm a singer, musician, artist and dreamer all wrapped around may "real" job as a Financial Analyst. I'm good at what I do. It affords me the opportunities to do the things I love.

Vanessa said...

I am doing a lot of things. I firmly believe in not pigeon-holing myself into one thing. Although I maybe more passionate about some pursuits than I am other, I believe that diversity is paramount. I am a student in english and visual arts. Everyone assumes that I will go into teaching. Wrong. I'm planning to go to law school. One time someone ask me, "Is that a feasible goal?" I was taken aback by her abrasiveness, but immediately said, "Of course it is!" Like you I believe that whatever I am pursing will happen. The academic stereotypes are a hindrance to us all and it is a shame that they persist like they do.

Wine and Words said...

I'm a jack of all trades, master of none, so I________ don't know. I work, I am mom, I am wife. Kinda sad. However, my dad is an artist, always has been. He has found a way to live on $13,000 a year...talk about scrap. He traded a painting for a car! Traded a painting for medical care. It really amazes me. But he lives his passion and his dream. Rock on sista!

Lindsay said...

Hurray! You're following your dream. So many people give up, it's so refreshing to hear about someone who is going for it with everything they have. You rock, lady!

Liz said...

Afuckingmen. I'm so sick of people who still TO THIS DAY ask me if I'm going back to school. No bitches, I am not. I'm gonna make pretty website and blog the shit out of the internet mmkay?

ps; Come to the Boardwalk in Sacramento plz kthx!

Erin said...

You have such a great attitude. I have no doubt you'll succeed.

Hilary said...

I am a recent college grad, so I'm trying to figure out my F-ing life.

Thank you so much for posting this. It really has given me a little bit of comfort (even though you weren't necessarily writing DIRECTLY to me haha, it sure seemed like it). I should do what I want to with my life.
You are beyond awesome.

Jay Ferris said...

I am a banana, so I split.

Mighty Hunter said...

Fucking A Right. Preach it.

amindinmotown said...

Beautifully written, and so very well said. I just might have to save this post to read on occasion.

I've always strived to do what makes me happy, which is writing. And journalism makes me happy. But right now, I'm at that exact point where I hear "do you have a backup plan?" as my career aspirations of writing for a big daily paper seem slimmer and slimmer by the day. This is what makes me happy, and I'll hang on to that last thread of journalism if I can ... but with too many bills, maybe they're right, maybe a backup plan is needed. Maybe that's why I'm taking my GRE and attempting grad school next year.

Patty Ann said...

ah. i say this to myself all the time. in short - i want to do the best i can at whatever it is at the moment. right now it's making a cheesecake. it's going to be the best damn cheesecake, in simpler terms. you get the idea.

Stevie said...

I will most definitely come see you when you're in Seattle!!! Yippee!

Phoenix said...

"I am a multifaceted, sparkly mother fucker with a shitload of desires that ALL desire to be fulfilled, so I will fulfill them."

BEST.LINE.EVER.

I can't get over how awesome your blogs are, or how much they inspire me. As an actress, I get this all the time: What are you gonna do when you fail? What's your back up plan? When are you gonna grow up and get a real job?

I'll take a dreamer's life over being bitter in a 9 to 5 job any day, thanks.

You rock, girl. Keep on keeping.

jessicajane said...

i love it when people ask me when im going to go to college. NEVER. Because college isn't for me. Never was, never will be. To be happy, and succeed in life, you dont have to go to college! And just because you go to college doesn't mean your smart, and if you don't go to college, it doesn't mean your stupid.

josie(bean) said...

AMEN 2 THAT. just by reading your blog i think you are already a beautiful and accomplished artist, so way to stick it to the man, woman!

Taylor said...

I am a writer so I will continue blogging. I am a musician so I will continue to play the guitar/piano.

I'm checking out your band asap :)

Sarah Alaoui said...

omg you're so totally my hero.


although I want to be a lawyer (AND writer), I don't agree with this binary lawyer/doctor world we seem to live in.

next time someone asks you, be like "wait till I'm opening my first art exhibition, or stage diving at my first sell out concert--YOU WON'T BE ALLOWED IN!"

beezies.

Nahl said...

I FUCKING LOVE YOU AND YOUR FUCKING POST!
YOUR BLOG IS A FEEL GOOD MANUAL I NEED IN MY LIFE TO FEEL SANE!

Katelin said...

i am online addict, so i work online.

but i think that statement may change one day to, i am a hollywood/entertainment addict so i work in hollywood and it's awesome. we'll see about that.

Lauryn said...

I love this post! So true, and good for you for sticking to what you believe in. I hate when people ask you your plans and then expect you to lay out all of the details of your future when you don't have a clue how any of it's going to go... and who cares if you don't!? It'll all work out.

I am a broke college student, so I worry about whether I'll find a job that I like which also allows me to pay off my student loans :)

miss. chief said...

let me know if you're ever playing in victoria, it's only an hour and a half ferry ride from vancouver!

Samantha said...

wow this post really got me thinking.
my dream is to be a fashion designer its been my set goal since i was in fourth grade, its my life. i was in nursing school for 2 years and i hated it. i start fashion design school this year, i'm so excited cause its what i've always wanted to do. i know its so far fetched to think someday i'll show at fashion week,my back up plan is to open up my own vintage shop somewhere.
i have so much work ahead of me.
peace&love

nicoleantoinette said...

As per our conversation last night, when I have an answer to this, I'll let you know. And I'll feel a fuck of a lot better.

LOVE YOU.

Clairebear said...

I am a singer, so I sing.
In a world full of comments like "there are lots of good singers who dont make it, what makes you think youll be the one who does?" and "thats not really a practical career", I am a singer, so I will sing.
As always, you spoke my words for me.

Recessionista Genie said...

Thank you for this post!

It's inspiring to know we're not alone in our desires to be who we are and not always be called into question by a narrow-minded, judgmental society.

Several years ago, I decided to stop doing what I was "supposed" to do and take my life back as my own. I ditched my upwardly mobile boyfriend with high earnings potential, dropped out of grad school, and custom designed a life for myself.

I work for two quirky non-profits and have enough time to write novel manuscripts, grow organic vegetables, cook, paint, learn languages from the library and foreign section at the video store, and write a blog for the poor and fabulous.

And read awesome blogs, like this one. :D

Just Playing Pretend said...

I am laugher so I laugh.

That's always what I wanted to be when I grew up. Someone who laughs. I used to hate that about myself because it seemed to so unmotivated.

Now that's who I am and what I am doing with my life. All the rest for me. Is just fluff.

Oh and you are most definitely a "multi-faceted, sparkly mother fucker." That line, classical.

DT said...

i am a student so i study

Ali said...

I am a writer (in transition and unsure exactly how to get there), so I'm writing. And stuck in a rut. And ready to get the hell out of it.

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abigail said...

amen.
I could not be more tired of people looking at me funny when I tell them I am an artist. They always want to know if I teach or what else I do.

magnoliaamber said...

Big Grin:)
So I am a dreamer and will never stop dreaming, I am hoping to have a life of Permanant Head-Damage but will surely not damage my head...

Emily said...

I am a hacky-sacker, so I hacky. And I'll see all you motherfuckers at the world championship, where the prize is a cold cup of coffee and a nickel bag.

hiphophippie.com said...

This is exactly what my entire site's about--livin' the dream, between shifts. I live in L.A., tryin' to keep the dream alive without getting bogged down by the bullshit. It always does the soul good to be reminded that we're not alone. Keep on rockin' it!

Samantha said...

Chelsea, you are FABULOUS! I wish you had a mini-me that you could send to me and I'd put you right on my shoulder to preach this to me over and over! I mean, I'm by no means a quitter - when I set my sights on something, I don't stop until I achieve it. But sometimes it's so dang frustrating and discouraging!

Keep on doing what you're doing, girl. You're going somewhere!

Caz said...

Oh you'll be in Vancouver when I won't be! Maybe plan another tour for Feb 2010? haha. Only joking but I will spread the word around and try to get them to your Vancouver gig. Have fun!

Michelle said...

I fucking love your blog. You're brilliant and inspiring, xo.

Sabrina said...

I love FOOD so I EAT!
Great blog post. I'm always thinking about what im doing, what i want to be doing and WHY am I NOT doing it!
I work in a library, but I would love to own my own bakery!

floreta said...

i LOVE this. i know of someone who followed his dreams and is DOING it, too. he's a singer/songwriter in the portland area. after meandering from job to job and doing some firefighting and not being happy and wanting a direction, he finally decided he'd play music. because that's all he wants to do, and all he does. and that's what he's BORN to do. it's effin rad and i admire anyone who is out there DOING IT. it takes a lot of guts. because yeah, it's not exactly the 'secure' path. but you MAKE it work. because it's what makes you happy. and you shouldn't be doing anything else but what makes you happy. i firmly believe in following your dreams. money is nice but it isn't everything.

PS: if you come to bend, or i would so go :X

ellabella said...

ohmygod that's insane, because eleanor is my given name, so when i clicked on this post i just saw a huge picture with ELEANOR right above it and i was like ...um yes?

but what i do, is i am a writer. so i write. but i'm terrified that i'm never going to be able to do it for real. but i'm going to keep trying.

Skippy said...

hey chelsea - i like this post a lot! it's very true, and i don't think i've ever read/heard the perspective so blatantly before. a much needed refresher.

i am a person, and i will live. and i will be happy living :)

omchelsea said...

I'm teaching and writing and playing and going forwards. ANd that's good. I'm helping people and I'm doing the right thing for them and for me. There is no way I will ever be a millionaire, but I'll have some damn rich people around me. And I AM SPARKLY, dammit!

Rachael said...

A friend and I were having a conversation on this very topic last night. We determined what separates the "generic" people from the "extraordinary" is that the generic do what they have to to get by and the extraordinary follow their dreams and make it work. Congrats for being extraordinary! :)

Oh, I'm a writer, soul-searcher, best friend, daughter, day-dreamer and optimist so I love life for all it's worth.

Taryn said...

Hmm- Your blog post could not be more perfect. I am realizing that I don't really have a plan. I had my mother's plan for me and thought it was mine for a long time. But now I am learning that what I really want is not what she wants- or what the world wants for that matter. So for the first time ever- I will share with you what I am.
I am a wife, so I serve.

It feels good- I feel free. thank you.

(thank you for visiting my blog and allowing me to come to yours. Thank you.)

Jules said...

Oh dear, were you what I needed to read today.

I had the "WE ALWAYS THOUGHT YOU'D BE A ..." conversation with my mother this morning. This wouldn't be so hard if I wasn't so full of fucken self doubt already. Ran into an old high school buddy last week on Fartbook. She is now living my "life". In my first year of my Veterinary Degree I fell pregnant to a random (but lovely) guy who I never saw again. My friend is in her final year of Veterinary. She is specialising in Equine, my special area of passion. She is living on a 1,500 acre sheep and beef farmer.

I'm not doing any of these things.

I have four children, no degree unless one in Sleep Deprivation counts.

I constantly doubt myself.

As I progress down my "Path" in life I am constantly reaching crossroads, getting stranded in wierd little hick towns, taking the wrong turn, deciding not to take one road but to take another but then wondering what was down that other road. Aaaarrrgggh, the self doubt that these do gooders put in our minds over what we should and shouldn't do. At least be proud that you have chosen to travel and are happily taking YOUR path.

Thunderroad79 said...

Just when I was beginning to doubt my ventures....thanks for this post - I couldn't have said it any better!!

I am a poet so I write...

http://artistroad.blogspot.com
http://lostlivesontheline.blogspot.com

honestchitchat said...

I am writer so I work 3 jobs as a nanny, a Art Teacher and a counselor at a rehab because they all keep my serotonin levels up and get me out of bed to write ;) Great post homie! xoxo

Meghan said...

If you come to Kamloops (about 3 hrs north of Vancouver) let me know and I'd love to take you out for a beer or three! Or the band can stay at my place on the couch, or something.

NYerinNZ said...

I am a fan of your blogs, so I will continue to catch up on reading them :)

I am excited to hear you play in Seattle, so I'm THERE!

I am thankful for those who work the "normal" hours (and want to!) so that I don't have to, and those who equally appreciate the risks of following your dreams.

I am constantly changing my mind about what I am, so I will keep you posted!

Michelle said...

I'm a painter so I make paintings! Buy one? http://artistaastratto.com

teresa said...

this is not your most recent post, but i just read it. WHY? because NOW is when i needed to see this. many thanks for the proverbial kick in the pants. (however inadvertently.)

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Chelsea Talks Smack said...

teresa- I'm so glad you found it at the " right time" :)

Blunt delivery- I love you. :) lol. You are radical and I'm so glad we're bloggy/lifey kindred spirits

stevie- yes, please come see us!! WEE! so fun!

sarah alaoui- wow, thank you ;) Your comment made my day!

caz- so sad I'll miss you! BOO!

meghan and miss chief- still don't know what the plan is there, but i WILL definitely let you guys know!

Quixsa said...

Reading this post made my heart beat faster and made me feel the insane burn in my chest that I would always get in my acting classes. Thank you so much. Recently I've been having second guesses ( I still do) and been exposed to crazy pressure from an authority figure to get a stable, logical life.
Don't mind me if I return to the post as a way to stay strong :0)

Je said...

I'm late to commenting on this cause I originally read it on my phone... but I'M SO EXCITED YOU'RE COMING TO SEATTLE. I'm most definitely marking the dates on my calendar so I can come catch one of your shows. ;) Yay!

Becky said...

I am a mother, therefore I cook, clean, teach. drive, supervise, referee, judge, jury, protect, love, laugh, cry, hope, dream.

foxy said...

This was a GREAT POST. I, myself, am a crafter, so I create things. Though I have to work in an office on m-f 9-5 basis, my main love is crafting: knitting, beading, sewing... and I do it all that I can. It makes my heart smile.

My husband has a strong fire inside him to be an actor/screenwriter and I support him 100%. Waiting tables in his free time doesn't provide all the money in the world, but we don't need it. I couldn't imagine him not pursuing his dream and would choose his/our happiness over money any day.

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Ron said...

Chelsea,

Hey you probably don't remember me, but my little brothers and I used to dance at your mom's studio. Anyways, I just wanted to say that this post is amazing and definitely what I needed to hear right now. I'm in my first year of college and pre-med is kicking my ass. Like throwing me down and hardcore stomping me in my mouth. I feel like giving up every other day and it's been getting progressively worse with passing days. But reading this entry was a drink of refreshing water after being lost in the most arid desert. I feel ready to kick some A. You are freaking brilliant and amazing and a bunch of other adjectives that I don't know right now because English class was eight months ago.I know that you will reach whatever peak you are aiming for. Thank you so much for writing this.

Indihues said...

you wont believe..i studied to be an engineer(mechanical)..but i realised it in 3rd year that i wasnt made for it. then i did a degree in mass communication..to do entertainment PR for 2 years..and i started my company in PR only to know that i am writing fashion blogs out of all things..it just as weird as it can get..but i am happy now and i wud love to stick to this for a very very long time..but eventually i wud love to make films ;)

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