What’s the Alternative?

I’m back after a long hiatus – I didn’t leave purposely, I just got swept along in the riptide of typical life.

Like most people, I’ve spent the majority of my life giving some power to others, allowing them to instruct my days, in order to get a generally pathetic cash reward every two weeks.

I recently quit my job. I’d planned to for quite some time, yet fear kept me going back. But…it felt like my time was being hijacked – I felt a very strong terror saying, “What if this was your last day on earth? Would you want it to be THIS?” I ask myself this a lot. The answer is always: No.  Not that the job was BAD, it just wasn’t what I truly wanted to be doing. It didn’t align with how I want daily life to be. Instead of feeling scared, I felt excited. That’s when you know you’ve made the right decision. My terror shifted – the fear of NOT doing what I love was MUCH stronger than the fear of having less security. Allow yourself to feel that anticipation: the promise of a more tantalizing existence.

Your moods are a map – if you dread going to work, if you are ignoring the things you’d love to be doing, wasting your time with FILLERS, then you are COMPLETELY and utterly ignoring your path in life. You are doing yourself and others a disservice. We need you, and we need your passion to ignite us.

Some people may be completely happy doing a regular job, and that is totally fine! I am not talking about them. I am talking about ME, and YOU – the ones who pine for more. We are aching. Bursting.

I BURN with a fervor, and I have repressed this many times – in relationships, in my everyday life, in work. Not purposely. It sucks. It’s not a way to live.

So, when you change your life, what about the fear? What about the scary prospect of failure?

Here’s a better question: What’s the alternative?

A life of mediocrity? Ennui? A life of apathy? Being upon death and saying, “Man, I wish I did that.”? No thank you. I get this one life as me- one life FOR SURE. Even if there are more lives, I get this one, ONCE, and I am not squandering it.

I’ve spent too much time already, flitting about from job to job (“A JOB” is a 4-letter word), spent too much time on things I don’t truly care about, too much time reading social media, and other stuff that does NOT improve my life.

Why read blathering from people about all sorts of topics I really don’t care about? Way better to actually learn something of value. To read words of substance. To go out and DO things. My time is valuable. PRECIOUS. So is yours! What is the alternative? MONOTONY.

Does this ring true for you? “I want a monotonous life.” Yeah, I doubted it.

Every adult I know, especially once they get to their 30s, says “WOW, time goes so fast!” – Yeah, it does, especially when you waste it, when you do things to “kill time.”

EXCLAMATION: you can’t KILL time. Time is killing you.

I have no other alternative. I don’t have a plan B anymore. I have a Plan Z, but no plan B.  Plan Z is destitute – and really still not terrible. It’s still more free than having a job working for someone else, making them more money (unless of course you want to help them and their cause – then awesome! Still…DO YOU, first).

You need an explosion within. If you don’t have that zest, and you’re damp and wretched every day with gloom, then you need to change some things – rapidly. Make it your first priority because your life will be completely bland and beige otherwise. Don’t you want a rainbow life? Isn’t that why people love psychedelics? Everything is more dazzling, unrestrained, more potent.

You can have that feeling naturally, daily, if you follow the map your life has for you. It’s built into you. It’s called “Your Emotions.” Your map has still led you down this runaway path, too – it’s leading you that way so you can see where it goes – then you can TURN AROUND. You realize, like with a malfunctioning GPS, that you are completely lost, and that you are going off-target. You don’t have to keep going – you know it’s the wrong way! TURN AROUND. What’s the alternative? You’ll probably end up somewhere you really didn’t plan, a ghost town, where dreams go to die.

If you feel afraid, reluctant, or anxious, ask yourself “What’s the alternative?” Write it all out. Let THAT petrify you. If you feel freaked out, then you are off-course. Center yourself, breathe, and continue where you know you need to go. Point your needle north.

It still takes work and discipline, but it is SO much better persisting on a path that you know is your own, and you know is the one you were meant to go down all along. You’re listening to your own GPS instead of one someone else gave you. One you thought you had to follow. One you thought was correct, or one you accidentally came across. Don’t use that. Internal compasses are much better – you just have to stop ignoring it.

Learn to read your compass.

 

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What Are You Going to Do Otherwise?


A huge passion of mine is ninjutsu, which I do three times a week. On Monday I felt a bit resistant towards going. Throughout the day leading up to the hour-long drive to class, I fought against it – and then the best question ever came into my mind!

“What are you gonna do otherwise?”

My answer was, “Probably play on my computer or something.”

I said back to myself, “Is that going to make you a better ninja?”

I smirked and replied, “No….”

Very effective. Next time you are resistant to something you know you WANT to do (not should do), ask yourself that question.

Don’t wanna go to the gym? What would you be doing instead? Watching TV? Is that going to get you the body you want? Are Ross and Rachel gonna rip your abs and blast your fat? Nuh uh.

Don’t feel like working on your novel? What are you gonna do? Read Cracked and Buzzfeed? Are you insane? Open your flipping MS Word and type, bitch!

Don’t feel like practicing your oboe? Let me guess…you’d rather check out what OTHER people are doing on Facebook.

Sitting around and wishing for stuff is gonna get you nowhere. We have limited time on this plane of existence. You need take whatever steps possible to get you to where you want to be. Enjoy each step. Just because steps are small do not mean you should brush them off and fill up your time with meaningless junk. You can do that if you want, but do the important things FIRST. The more little steps you take, the closer you will be, the better you will be, the more you will be making of your life. Everything large is made of something small.

Tonight I’m going to class again. I usually want to go, but I always go regardless of how I feel, and I am ALWAYS glad I do. You will be glad you take your steps, too. But DO them.

Recommended Reading:

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work
Do the Work

Obsessions Can Lead to Purpose

Zine Art by me (of me), 2000

I’ve been reading a hell of a lot of graphic novels + comics lately – I go through phases where I eschew (well, not totally – I am always reading many things at once) regular reading to let drawings do the talking. This is especially easy since the Vancouver library system has a shit-ton of good graphic novels that I can borrow in bulk.

Once in a while I feel like I am wasting my time on them, but often I find them uplifting, and often so mesmerizing that upon finishing, I hug them to my chest and sigh (I do this with all amazing books). Until the other day, it sort of hit me – all of my passions seemed to coalesce together and I thought…why am I not drawing and writing graphic novels?

My favourite sort are autobiographical – the whole passion for them started years and years ago when I discovered I Never Liked You by Chester Brown and Blankets by Craig Thompson – I’d always liked comics but nothing really captured my heart (except things like Johnny The Homicidal Maniac) – the personal aspect is what really drew my attention.

I’ve always loved coming-of-age stories, memoirs, diaries – I have kept journals since I was 12 (I ripped up the first two unfortunately, but I have many books starting from age 14) – my preferred drawing style is pen-and-ink and I’ve been drawing since I was 2 – I think I’m pretty good.

Latest work, 2011, Yo-Landi

So why didn’t I make this connection before? I’ve even MADE comics. I made many silly, nonsense comics with friends in the late 90s, and I even did a 4-page comic for my boyfriend for our first anniversary.

2010

So, suddenly I thought, wow, I should do autobiographical comics…then I could, write, draw, and I certainly have enough material, detailed material!

I seriously dunno why I haven’t seriously considered it before, but now that I am really into the idea, I feel like it’s the thing I’m meant to do.

Maybe it’s because I’m so clear-headed from how I eat? It’s the happiness that comes from that, and from the copious amount of sun I’ve been getting.

All I know is that I have many project ideas swirling in my brain, now, more than ever before. I get the most flow, groove, and motivation when I am eating REALLY clean. It’s like downloading the universe in one swoop (maybe it was all that lightning we got last night, dancing outside my window).

I still want to write regular fiction, but this is the creative-block-killer that I’ve been needing.

What is your passion? Do you have as many as me? I have so many that it is overwhelming at times and I end up not being able to focus on one and end up doing nothing – that’s why something that incorporates a lot of my interests at once is a relief.