Do the crazy thing. Be the author of your life.


“It’s not working. I try and I try and I try. But it’s no good. My heart gets broken. It never lasts. It never, ever lasts.”

You’re so right, lover. Of course you are. It never lasts. Things break. They fall apart.

People love us and then don’t love us anymore. We have something beautiful and then it is gone.

There are endings and endings and endings. More endings than all the beginnings in the world.

Cynicism is the easy choice. Protective. Sensible, even. Build yourself a safe little box and seat yourself inside it. Shut the door. Do what you’ve always done.

Say what you’ve always said. Slide the deadbolt across and only open it for people you already trust. Haunt only the familiar places. Do not venture into the vast unknown.

You could do just that. So many of us do.

Or you could do the exact opposite…

The entirely unwise, and utterly reckless thing. The bold and audacious choice that makes heart pound and stomach butterfly. The one thing that makes absolutely no sense. You could smash the boxes. Burn the labels. Step outside into the light, throw your arms wide, and lift your face to the sky.

 

You can vow to write a different story.

Look at me, love. Let me cup your chin and tip your face so that your eyes meet mine. Listen to me now; this is important.

The stories that will define you are not done being written.

It is good to become sure of who we are and what we do and how things go. But that very certainty that makes things feel solid and sure can cause us to miss out entirely on who and what and how we might become.

I’ll always… I’ll never… It will…It won’t… I can’t-I can’t-I can’t.

Those are momentary truths. They might even be the ending of a chapter. They might be the wisest things you ever say. But they are not the end. Your story is always in progress.

You can copy and paste the first 30 chapters of your life and use them to fill in the empty pages ahead. Sigh a sigh of relief and climb back into that dark and familiar little box.

Or you can do the bravest, most foolish and foolhardy thing in the world. You can turn the page, look at the stark whiteness before you and just sit with it for a bit.

It takes courage to be a blank slate. To start clean. To refuse the desire to fill in those empty pages as quickly as possible, with familiar words and characters and plots.

But do me a favor, dear one. Take a breath. Take air into the unfathomable depths of your soul, right down to your core.

Now let it out. Exhale with the unceasing sound of the ocean. Release old scripts. Say goodbye to characters who have served their purpose. Reject plots that keep you playing small.

Here’s the tricky part: You must let those pages stay empty long enough to fully come awake.

Empty is the most profound discomfort, bottomless and deep. It will make you antsy. Leave you feeling naked and searching for cover. But empty can also be the one thing that releases you to freefall long enough to locate your solid ground. Awake, naked and uncomfortably grounded is where it all begins.

Have you made it to the bottom? Good. Now just sit there. Look around at the brilliance and beauty. Feel every tingling cell in your entire being. Notice the potential in the air. Feel the ground beneath your feet. Breathe it all in. Let life fill you up.

 

And then begin.

When you are fully ready, you will write your own story. Write it with heart and soul and grace, the way only you can.

So fill the pages, love. With fountain pen and broken crayons and bright orange marker. Add some glitter and glue.

Shamelessly steal from those who inspire you and then use your own inimitable magic to mold their words into something entirely new. Give yourself permission to scrawl across the pages, relish the messiness of not knowing what comes next.

Nobody writes in this book but you. It is all yours. You are author and editor and publisher of your own biography. 

You always were, you just needed a reminder.

And damn, you know exactly how to write the epic poem that is your life. You’re the only one who ever could. You just had to trust yourself to do it.

Try everything. Say yes over and over. If nobody asks a question that makes you want to say yes, make up your own. And then make up the answer. Dream twenty different answers and choose a new one every day until you find the one that fits.

The answer that makes spirit burn with creative fire. The answer that makes toes tingle and breath catch. The answer meant only for you.

 

 

Write them all down. The mistakes and the blessings and the places you cracked in two. Write the prayers and the tantrums. The sacred and the profane. The open roads and the closed doors. Nothing is permanent.

Erase what does not fit. Cross it out. Write on top of the lines that no longer serve, fifty times over if you want. The real story will always be legible to your valiant heart.

And there will still be endings. Even the most brilliant and true eventually encounter the end. Writing these endings will be impossibly difficult. Your jaded cynic will peek her head out of that safe little box and try to take command.

But behind that weary skeptic lives a hopelessly idealistic heart. I know this. You know it.

And that hopelessly idealistic heart knows well that this world is a most holy wonder. All of it. Every day.

Life is a constant phoenix rising. The rebirth from ashes only comes after the annihilation of what came before. This annihilation is both ending and beginning. It is heartache and brilliance. It is fuck-ups and bliss. And it is all yours for the writing.

Let yourself be annihilated. Rise from the ashes. Be born and die and born again. Celebrate the blood and guts and gore of it all. It’s the stuff great stories are made of.

So go ahead, write yours.

 

*****

Read more: 

>> Hey you. Yes, you. You have such an exquisitely beautiful heart.

>> Fog Interrupted: (Don’t) Run for your life.

 

 

{Rewrite your story.}

 

 

 

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Jeanette LeBlanc is a writer, photographer and inspirationalist. She regularly consumes ridiculous amounts of dark chocolate, craves the sound of crashing waves and wishes people would stop putting olives on pizza. She has a love affair with words (all of them, especially the bad ones) and is inspired by the intersection of shadows and light. Hopelessly idealistic and impossibly pragmatic, Jeanette fully believes that she will one day earn a very good living with her camera and her writing. In the event that Plan A doesn’t work out, she is willing to settle for a huge lottery win, or the generosity of a very rich benefactor. Either way, she has no intention of being a starving artist. Jeanette lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her delightfully unruly children. Jeanette writes about life, love and beauty and creates inspired design at Peace.Love.Free. Her fine art prints are available for purchase here.

36 Comments

  • Vanessa commented on September 26, 2012 Reply
    Jeanette LeBlanc, I love the way you use words. Each one so perfectly placed to express exactly what you mean to say. I find that every time I read something on this site, when get to the bottom and see who it is, it is usually you :) Thank you! Your writing inspires me ~ with love, Vanessa
    • Jeanette LeBlanc commented on September 26, 2012 Reply
      Vanessa, Thank you. So much.
    • SalmaShehab commented on July 16, 2013 Reply
      I AGREE!! Vanessa, dear, you’re perfect, you inspire me you do!! and yes your use of words :) Beautiful!! :)
  • Leigh commented on September 28, 2012 Reply
    thank you, that felt so perfectly made for me and where i am right now
  • Adam Johnson (@Garbologie) commented on September 29, 2012 Reply
    Hi Jeanette. There is grand poetry in your words, perfectly apt for the tale you tell of writing your life. I can’t imagine how long it took you to get this just so, but you have managed it. Thank you. Oh, and as for pizza – I wish people would stop with the pineapple and stick to olives and anchovies :)
    • Jeanette LeBlanc commented on October 15, 2012 Reply
      olives and anchovies? blasphemy! And thank you. I don’t know if writing ever feels “just so’ – but thank you for feeling the poetry inside the prose. That means so much.
  • Merlynna commented on October 6, 2012 Reply
    Definitely olives and anchovies, Adam Johnson! Oooh, and a teeny-weeny touch of garlic., And Jeanette LeBlanc, thank you, thank you, thank you, for a beautiful, uplifting, thought-provoking article. You’ve reminded me that life is beautiful.
    • Jeanette LeBlanc commented on October 15, 2012 Reply
      I am clearly outnumbered here by the anchovies and oiives set. YUCK! :) And thank you, thank you, thank you for telling me that I acted as reminder! PS; how about spinach, zucchini, sun dried tomatoes and balsamic caramelized onions? Now that’s a pizza.
      • Juliana commented on August 26, 2014 Reply
        Artichokes, ricotta and garlic?…It is so fuckin’ great to see you. This might be my most favorite. It is right now. Thank you, Thank you for orange crayons. And open windows, and doorways. xoxoX <3 :)
  • Loanne commented on October 22, 2012 Reply
    I LOVE every word and the energy and truth behind it – WOW! Thank you for inspiring! Much love – from the gal who was searching for inspiration – yes, I will keep your words close to heart. MUAH!! Loanne N.
  • Claire commented on November 17, 2012 Reply
    I think I was just born again reading this.
  • Lorien commented on November 17, 2012 Reply
    I loved your article’s uninhibited, flowing expression. It reminds me that I have a choice: that I can take to heart a critical thought or I can join hands with the hopeful ones that cheers me on at every scribble. Structure, chapters, endings, language, words… they belong to all of us, no exceptions. I felt included in the world of writers– having stories of my own, which I have not yet voiced or dared express. You have given me courage to share. Thank you.
  • tara commented on December 8, 2012 Reply
    i feel like your words just grabbed me by the shoulders…lifted my chin up to the stars…and said “this is for you”. thank you.
  • Janet harding commented on January 2, 2013 Reply
    Have compassion for the not so brave -remove the pressure to become – we do the best we can – loving ourselves however we are now – all love Jx
  • Jim Fry
    Jim Fry commented on February 18, 2013 Reply
    { eXquisite } … :: cheers :: … this day is yours, mold, shape and create, by night, canvas wiped clean, you are the artist, the medium, the work :)
  • naglee commented on February 18, 2013 Reply
    Wow I needed this today. It soothes my soul knowing that I’m not alone in this struggle. I need a constant reminder to just be at ease with just being and embracing the impermanence and constant change of life.
  • Arun Ks commented on February 19, 2013 Reply
    reminded me of Rumi “You are the seeker, the goal and the seeking itself”
  • Lauren Wessinger commented on March 16, 2013 Reply
    this one needs a spot on my inspiration wall. love!!
  • phases commented on March 16, 2013 Reply
    … been down here for a few years but clawing my way out. I’m 54. Glad to discover an early rebelle! … should make for a good long story. Stay brave.
  • Dawn Marie Richards commented on April 23, 2013 Reply
    simply brilliant and inspiring. Thank you.
  • Kathy Lee commented on June 13, 2013 Reply
    Love, love, love your writing. I am sharing it!!!
  • Pam Brayton commented on July 7, 2013 Reply
    Awesome! Inspiring!
  • Terri Hug commented on July 14, 2013 Reply
    This is such a gift. What your words do to me is a gift of the highest high. You are so f$#@! awesome!! Thank you. This should be put into everyone’s manual of life. Every time doubt creeps in, I come back to this and reread it. (or it magically gets reposted exactly at a time I need to reread it) Powerful powerful gift. Namaste
  • gypsyonfourth commented on October 3, 2013 Reply
    That was seriously the best thing I have ever read. You are speaking to my soul. Thank you.
  • Simon Stella commented on January 5, 2014 Reply
    Hey Janette, brilliant synopsis of the wisdom of our great inspirational ancestors! You have delightfully taken their words and morphed them into modern vocabulary that is truly your own integral, gut felt vision for us humans! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • gofasterrabbit commented on November 29, 2014 Reply
    beautiful and true … especially the antsy, terrifying, wonderful opportunity of emptiness … it is where it all begins time and time again
  • Geralyn commented on February 13, 2015 Reply
    None can doubt the veticary of this article.
  • share files commented on March 26, 2015 Reply
    As Charlie Sheen says, this article is \”WINNING!\”

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