Passion, Purpose, and Paying Bills
Passion, Purpose, and Paying Bills
"I can't wait to grow up and do whatever I want!" I must have thought this to myself a million times as a teenager and I'm sure my mother was tired of hearing it mumbled under my breath after she would tell me to do something I claimed was pointless or " ruining my life". Little did I know that growing up would mean I would find myself begging God to turn back the clock so that I could once again deal with problems that at the time seemed huge but were in fact small potatoes. As I grew up and life chin checked me on a regular basis I realized that being an adult was not glamorous at all. In fact, adulting is closer to watching a plane crash knowing the people inside had no clue today would turn out to be a blaze of sorrow and disappointment. As I sit in my hotel room eating take out and dreading the alarm clock going off for yet another 12 hour shift I have come to the conclusion that the myth of adulting being easy was a cruel joke played on me by every person who told me how amazing my life would be when I was older.
Life isn't all cakes and pies and does at times feel like a long Greek tragedy but this saga of tasks I don't feel like doing didn't happen overnight. It started in my teens. When I turned 18 life was new, fresh, and full of possibilities. I was finally "grown" and was ready to face the world with a smile. That smile quickly turned into crying in my hands as the harsh reality of college debt, credit, and failed relationships grabbed hold of me.
You see I knew college was expensive, but I was always told it was a must do, so I naively thought some magically money fairy would fix it all because I was smart. WRONG! My " money fairy" had a name, SALLIE MAE and as sweet as a name like that is trust me she is a cold-hearted witch! LOL Sallie in a smooth click of the mouse, and glide of then pen gave me my college dream in exchange for holding my finances hostage for decades to come, and I willingly sold my soul to her thinking I had no choice if I was to ever be successful. I had no idea at the time that my dealings with Sallie would impact where I lived, what taxes I got back, which cars I would drive, and what standard of living I would accept for years to come. With a bat of her money green eyelashes she gave me the cost of my education while backhanding me with interest payments and unrealistic repayment options some of which would lead me to walking away from college on more than one occasion (4 to be precise) each time leaving me a little more broken, and a little more broke. While, college debt wasn't the only bump in my drive through adulthood it has truly become the first pothole in my drive to my dreams. That debt has forced me time and again to make life choices I never imagined in or to keep my head above water.
As if the debt wasn't enough the hopeless romantic in me decided it would be a great Idea to get married young. By my 23 birthday I was Mrs. Elisa Dawson. Married in a small ceremony in New York with a handful of people in attendance what should have been the happiest day of my life was the beginning of my own emotional downfall. Through the course of my marriage I learned firsthand what shame, guilt, fear, and heartbreak felt like. I watched as my loving partner turned into a monster and instead of being the strong woman I portrayed myself to be I became a shell of my former self. The abuse and isolation I endured while married was yet another harsh reality of adulthood teaching me that not every smile is displayed in love and that people who say they love you can manipulate and lie to you if it means them getting ahead. I ended my marriage adding 20k in debt to my mountain of school debt, accumulated a massive medical debt from nervous breakdowns, which ended up triggering a full body shut down that I still deal with every day and to put a cherry on top I gained a healthy helping of trust no one.
Being divorced, an abuse survivor, failing to cope with my miscarriage, and now being painfully aware of the mind games people can play my trip through being an adult was starting to feel like I was spinning my wheels in the sunken place with no chance of a nerdy friend coming to my rescue. This new status of divorcee led me to my first glimpse of my passion. During this time when I thought nothing would ever go right for me I found myself in a delivery room for the first time. No I wasn't there for me but actually a complete stranger. My job as an IT person in the hospital allowed me the opportunity to be a fly on the wall during the miracle of child birth. Watching the strength needed to bring forth life I knew I wanted to be in that room again but in a more active role. At that moment I knew I wanted to spend my life making that day in a womans' life the happiest experience I could. Becoming a voice and informed supporter for women as they came so close to death to see a portion of themselves manifested outside their bodies was the light at the end of my tunnel. Before this moment I had always done what I was good at but didn't necessarily love because I was told I had a good job and would be crazy to leave it. But, this brush with something that would become a life changer for me also came with the crack of the whip from adulthood.
Adulting and finding my passion meant making choices that would affect me financially (school yet again), working less (which meant lifestyle changes), and doing all I could to stay healthy enough to pursue this tiring career. I figured with all I had endured I was ready to face this challenge and then adulthood tapped me on my shoulder and said wait sis did you forget you can't work less you have a tremendous amount of debt ? I slapped that thought down saying NO ! I didn't forget but I have a passion now so it will all work out. Then adulthood got back up and said," but honey what about your body issues you can't stay up all hours of the night without being swollen and in pain so how can you help them when you can't walk?" To that I said NOT TODAY SATAN! I will manage because I have to, I HAVE A PASSION NOW REMEMBER! Then Adulthood hit me with the one two punch and said," Girl need I remind you that you failed at having a baby of your own so watching others may trigger you and leave you broken emotionally?" I was always told you have 3 chances or arguments to change a persons mind and that third one did the trick for me. Now my passion I had waited years to find seemed like yet another fantasy and once again I found myself lost.
Being an adult with no clear direction, a waning passion, and more responsibilities than I ever I looked myself in the mirror and said what now?
Then, like a tidal wave crashing on a shoreline came my purpose. If you had asked me years ago what purpose meant my answer would have been shallow and even literal without any real understanding. Today I recognize purpose not only as a reason for doing something but also as an unyielding and all encompassing way of life. To walk in your purpose is to lead your life moving always with your end goal in mind, not being deterred, or letting fear of failure turn you away. Finding your purpose is not always easy and sometimes it finds you at your lowest and most forsaking moments.
The moment I found my purpose came after laying on my office floor crying for hours because for the first time in my life I was working hard and still found myself broke. Prior to that point if I was broke, homeless, or both I could always trace the root of my situation and recover but for the first time I was struggling and despite working hard, being in a loving relationship, and bouncing back from numerous hardships I still came up wanting. I had to " rob Peter to pay Paul", turn off my cable, and sacrifice the everyday luxuries to stay afloat, and I was failing miserably at coping. It was in that time that I shared my dream of birth work with my boyfriend who encouraged me to go for it in any way I could. I told him my health left me feeling like I could never do the work but what if I wrote about it? What if I shared my passion for motherhood and women in general in a way that still kept me close to the field without being limited by my physical obstacles. I brain stormed on how to make this possible, taught myself to build a website, and started writing. I found that in putting who I am on paper that all I have been through was for a reason. I asked God to lead me to my purpose and through breaking me down he gave me a chance to truly be happy. He spoke to me and through me as I laid bare my soul to strangers and from the first moment he found ways to show me I was moving in a direction he agreed with.
There have been moments I wanted to quit, time I had to stop to heal, months when I was silent and detached but the fire for women, health, and happiness never left me. The fact that regardless of what I came up against I always found my way back to this life of writing showed me that true passion and purpose never leave you. This journey showed me that no matter what happens from failures, heartache, naysayers, and brokenness if your heart is open and your ears clear God will speak to you and make a way where you see none. True purpose is not found laying on the ground it's forged in the moments that force you to pick yourself up again. * Alexa play We Fall Down by Marvin Sapp*
In all seriousness having found my passion, and embracing my purpose adulthood would still not be so quickly silenced. With its money green flag raised it reminded me that while I love to write I still had bills to pay. Now I don't know if your aware but there is a reason people like me are called " starving artist" lol. It's because until you make it big money is TIGHT! I had all these ideas about how grand it could be and the many ways to monetize my gift but the coins were a bit scarce in the face of my dream. They say secure the bag but being a writer I would be happy just feeling secure lol.
That being said if I was going to do this it meant maintaining my full time job while building my brand. It is at this point so many young entrepreneurs give up on their dreams. Being on your own is great but it takes money to make money and most people myself included find it hard to put 100% into a dream when bills come in the mail daily. Between my living expenses, paying on student loans, and lowering debt putting money into something that would take a long time to yield a return seemed irresponsible. I prayed on it, talked to my partner, and reminded myself that bills and money come and go but that passion and acknowledgment of purpose is rare and cannot be ignored. I buckled down, promised myself that even when it gets hard I won't quit again, and made peace with the fact that dreams aren't built in a day even when you feel your walk has been divinely ordained. I wake up everyday ready to tackle another 12+ hour day at work, with notebook in hand to write whenever I can, and continue to put myself out there until the day my gift leads to a consistent paycheck. Until that day comes like so many others who have chosen to invest in themselves I will PUSH, PRAY, and PROCEED continually pursuing my passion, forever reminding myself of my purpose, and grinding it out so that I can keep paying the bills! In other words I plan to KEEP QUEENIN’