My first year of college, I finally got brave enough to sign up for a theater arts class. Away from my small town and that identity I thought I was stuck with, it felt like a fresh start. My first monologue was from The Glass Menagerie and I couldn't even tell you one line of it now, but I do remember that I was so nervous and I know I didn't nail it. Afterwards, the professor's critique was that I could have worked on it some more but he could see that I had natural talent and I should keep going. I actually thought he lied to me. There is a line you hear in the rooms: I was the biggest piece of shit in the center of the universe. I had zero self-worth yet I thought I was so special as to be the one student who this professor, one I found out later rarely doled out compliments, would lie to. So what did I do? I never took another theater class again. In fact, I stayed away from the arts almost completely because I had decided I just wasn't that girl.
So I continued my education in the liberal arts and lurked around the performing and visual arts. All of my friends were visual and performing arts majors, I participated in various art projects on campus but always as a transcriber or a researcher of some sort. It wasn't until post-college that I really allowed myself to pursue photography. And while I always had an individual style, that was when I really began to own it and started making my own things and really expressing myself. I also started writing in my journal fairly consistently and wrote a lot of letters at this time too (pre-internets, youngins').
The more creativity I engaged in, the more I wanted to do it and the more confidence I gained around it. I don't think it would be fair to say that booze was completely working for me at this point in my life, but it also didn't have me completely unraveling at the seams quite yet. I can now see that had I been sober, I probably would have been able to more successfully wear all of my different hats and step into that place with aplomb. Instead, when someone would ask me, What do you do? I would make a self-deprecating joke that I was a Renaissance Girl: Jack of All Trades, Master of None.
Like with most things, the more I said it, the more comfortable I got with it and now completely embrace it. I love the more recent terms to describe a person who does many things as multi-passionate or a multipotentialite. What I loved most about my adopted title is that it's humbling. It means I'm always a student. And right now, the most profound thing I need to master is abstinence from alcohol. I also aspire to master standing in the way of truth, beauty, service, gratitude and courage. Yeah, I want to master that.
Getting back to logistics though, what does it look like when a person wears many hats? We all should know by now that the idea of a perfect balance is a total myth, especially if you throw in partnering and parenting. There are times when it feels leveled out though, and I thought I would talk about that a bit. My personality type is INFP, which means I'm not a meticulous planner but am an okay executor. Especially now that the booze has been removed from my life, I can follow through like a motherf*cker. Amazing how that happened.
Here are some other things I do:
I commit whole days to one thing. I can get distracted by ANYTHING, but if I stay with one project for a day or two, I have a better chance of seeing it to completion before moving on to the next thing. And I sleep better.
If I have to move from project to project, I set a timer. Okay, sometimes it's an internal timer, but you get the point. Sometimes deadlines all fall around the same time, so it's necessary to jump from thing to thing. Or, and this really never fails, I'm sewing and I think of something I want to write about OR WHAT REALLY NEVER FAILS is that I'll get some clarity around something I was stuck on and if I don't stop and write that minute, poof, it will be gone. So I'll let myself do that but then I always try and go back to the thing I was originally jamming on.
I don't have much of social life. I don't watch TV. I'm not saying this is for everyone, but this is how I do it. And honestly, I wake up so excited about what I'm working on, I want to work and it doesn't feel like a sacrifice. I have to be careful, though, about the isolate-y tendencies. You know, introverts, you know.
I try and focus on the experience and not the outcome. Yes, I need to make money and yes, I am human and care what people think about me and my work, but if I get too wrapped up in that, I get overwhelmed, it's not fun anymore and I want to curl up in the fetal position, cry and question the meaning of life. So I really try and just enjoy the journey and then I do.
I know when I need to FULL STOP. Sometimes, it is time to hang it up and go to bed with a book and a cup of tea. At 4pm. And that's okay. Because I am only truly mastering staying sober and if that is a book in bed at 4pm or if it is impromptu coffee date with a girlfriend or if it's wandering around a library for nothing special and that is what my soul needs to not want something that doesn't nourish it, then that is what I do.
As a multi-passionate, I think about this stuff ALL THE TIME. Another thing we hear in the rooms is, Keep it simple. My heart won't let me go there necessarily, so to keep it sober, I am always trying to make it all work. Please, if you are a sober wearer of many hats, how do you do it? Do you have any tricks? I'd LOVE to hear from you in the comments!! In the meantime, embrace your inner Jack, okay?
PS. If you want to read the latest words that I was stuck on for weeks when I was trying to write the thing but seemed to want to flow out of me when I was sewing, here's my last essay in my Relationships and Booze series on Medium. Thank you for the indulgence!