A short while ago I came across something that resonated strongly, so strongly in fact that I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. I found it in a Jay Colby post discussing the differences between believers and supporters. I have always considered them to be the same thing, or at the least closely related. However in the context of life and following your dreams I have discovered that it is not necessarily the same thing at all. It fascinated me. I knew I had to investigate further. As an emerging writer, an infant one at that, having people believe in me and support me is like having air to breathe. It is vital.
Succeeding or not succeeding is about how much effort you put in. It is also about not doing it alone. We need to have the rubber lifesaver because the ocean is big and it’s deep. Years ago in a moment of complete madness (desperation) I completed a Bachelor of Education as a sole parent of three children (one of whom had a promising sports career and required lots of driving around), a dog, a cat and six goldfish and two mortgages. I also worked part-time and coached other students both at university and any strays my son often brought home. I loved it but I do not know how I survived. No, that’s not true. I do know.
I had people who believed in me and people who supported me. At the time, at the back of my mind, I questioned certain things but I was too grateful and too needy to stop and really think. The post brought it all back. I had people who constantly patted me on the back and said things like “I could never do what you do.” What exactly did that mean? I always walked away feeling sad inside and yet I’d had a coffee and nice discussion. What was wrong?
My friend Karen looked after my kids, hours after I was supposed to be home, fed me, drank with me (yes, in those days I actually had the occasional wine), cried with me, and laughed with me. My life didn’t get easier but I always walked away taller. Another friend questioned my time, was annoyed when I couldn’t do something with her, listened to me but always seemed to have another suggestion of what I could be doing instead. I walked away feeling that I was mutton dressed up as lamb. It’s not as strange an analogy as you might think. Feeling wrong is another way I could put it.
And then as a mature aged student there was the group of wonderful kids at University who accepted me as one of their own at twice as old plus. I found joy. They shamelessly abused my help, made me privy to things I didn’t want to know and kept me afloat. They were like-minded as was my friend Sue who was like-aged (she always looked better though), and revelled in my often eccentric ideas and ways. I walked away knowing I could get to the finish line no matter how tired I was.
What was the difference in all these situations? Every one of them was supporting but can you guess which ones were supporting and believing? My two lovely ladies trusted in me enough to let people know their faith and belief. In Jay’s post he says that often when you are pursuing a dream there is always someone (s), often even a family member who “always bring up having a backup or a more stable plan….Some may contend that the reason why someone might mention having a backup plan is, because they want to see the best in us and don’t want us to make mistakes or take too many risks. On the other hand some may see it as that person doesn’t truly believe in whatever we are trying to achieve even though they may support.”
I knew right then that this was the reason I had become obsessed with the subject. I wanted answers from way back then so I can handle what happens today. I struggle with support that has no belief behind it. I think we all do but in an industry such as writing, or any of the arts, we struggle more so because our hearts are on the line. I am a writer, or I am trying to be one and I am surrounded by supporters. Which kind you may be asking? Well, two of them are listed above and make me feel their support and belief every day even now in my new venture, and I also have quite a few in the wings for which I am eternally grateful.
Does this negate the supporters? Absolutely not. They have been at your side cheering. They may have their own opinion of what you need or how things should be but they are still there beside you. If they are not willing to risk their all in their support then we need to remember it is human nature to see things differently, to react differently; to be afraid of different things.
It is my lesson in humility to know not everyone sees things the same way. Just because I would give my all in the same situation doesn’t make me right. It makes me different. My brother is a ballroom dance teacher and can dance with anyone. He couldn’t dance with our mother without cursing (in his mind and often out loud). My father could. She moved to the beat of a different drum and I guess Papa heard it too. We have to accept people move to the beat of their own drum, and sometimes we are in sync and sometimes we are not.
So if you struggle with Nico as my hero, stay with him. He knows how to move to the beat and use it to advantage. You’ll see.