courage?

Today, at a friends birthday brunch the conversation turned to work, chasing your passions and the sacrifice it may require of you. At the table was an amazing selection of women. Of these lovely ladies a few have chosen passions and careers that take them off the traditional path. As we discussed what’s required of one to chase our passion, I spoke on what I’ve had to sacrifice.

I have walked away from two marital relationships, in part, because the men I was partnered with did not believe in my dream, and, by extension, in me. I have lost friends in my fierce drive to find the dream I wanted to chase. I have gone hungry, and would still do so on a regular basis if not for the farmer with whom I barter. I have risked everything and leaned on the generosity and love and support of friends and customers to make it day-to-day at times.

I believe, wildly, passionately, and fully in this dream I’m chasing after, building for and giving my heart to each and every day. I put one foot in front of the other and dig as deep into my own, and my friends, creativity to move this business forward, and to actively and avidly build Felicitea into something that is more than a business, but a community built on love, passion and happiness. I believe that I am accomplishing those things.

These women, then spoke of courage, of needing it to fight through for what you want. I don’t feel courageous though. To me courage means making a choice, forging on when it would be easier to turn aside. I, however, don’t have a choice.

What I do have is fear; fear of not being able to do this thing I do now. I wake up each morning delighted to work, eager to do it, struggling with only what to do first, not the question of “what must I do?” I am not afraid in the least of going hungry, not having a place to sleep or any of the “normal” things I think people worry about. I am terrified of not being able to use my hands to create happiness. The only thing I fear is not being able to do this thing I do now and want to do and have wanted to do every single day of my life in some way or another.

In my mind, there is no courage in what I do each day. Single-minded determination, commitment, and a wild hunger to see my dream come to fruition one day, for me to be successful on MY terms. Yes, those things I feel day-in, day-out. I bust my ass and work crazy hard for this thing, and do it with glee and joy and a slightly ridiculous amount of happiness. I chase this dream because I have to, because I’m meant to, because I have no choice.

This quote from Hugh MacLeod sums it up:

The Hunger will give you everything. And it will take from you, everything. It will cost you your life, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.

I am hungry and I am afraid. I have this thing that sits inside my soul and cries to be let free, to be made real in this world. It has pushed, pulled, plotted and planned to become real for 14 years. I have wept for it, laughed for it, fought for it & risked everything for it. I would do it all again, and will continue to do it every day until it becomes the reality I know it is meant to be. I’ll do it because I have no other choice.

That may be courage. If it is, then it is simply the state of things, and no grand bravery on my part.

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