Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Following Dreams; Making Goals; Staying Committed

My life is moving on.  So many changes have occurred since my Dad died.  I can't believe the changes in me, personally.  Challenging.  Uplifting.  I also feel strangely free.  It's not in a mean way against my Dad.  He was a kind, loving and generous man.  He was an amazing father.  He was someone I looked up to and someone that I always wanted approval from.  I wanted to always make him proud.  I know I disappointed him when I dropped out of business college; got pregnant and married at just 19yrs.  I went on to have another 3 kids in as many years and so my greatest achievement for making Dad proud of me was the four grandchildren I gave him.

Over the years, I dipped in and out of working for him.  He helped me and encouraged me to always be creative and reach my goals.  To have goals in the first place was quite an achievement.  I never went out to full-time work.  My main job was always being Mum to my kids.  Raising four of them close in age was no mean feat, I can tell you.

I've always been proud of the fact that I was at home looking after my children.  No matter how hard it was financially.  No matter how hard it was when I thought I couldn't stand it another moment.  To want to have a normal adult conversation... deep down, I knew that my highest calling was being Mum at that point in time to those children.  I also knew that one day I would want to find out more about me.  I've always been creative.  It was a passion.  To be creative.  And to maybe even be successful in my own right.  As Diane.  Not as a wife or mother but as my own person.  Somehow.

I was crippled with a low self-esteem and a severe lack of confidence.  I suffered from horrendous post-natal depression for years due to it not being properly diagnosed.  Once my kids were grown and starting to leave home, I went through a difficult divorce.  Well, let's face it, no divorce is easy.  During all this time I had dreams.  I had an online presence in some shape or form.  I was always being creative in some shape or form.  I was never away from my books, computer or drawing for very long.  I did small bits of custom graphic work here and there.  Never really amounted to much.  I was always scared of it moving forward.  I was scared of running my own business.  I was scared of the administration and so much more.

I wonder, though, if more than anything, I was scared of letting my Dad down?  Of never really reaching my full potential and so failing somehow.  I also know that if he were reading this now, he'd be cross with me and tell me I was being silly.  But it's true.  I wanted him to be proud of me.  How could he be proud if I failed at my own business?

The truth is quite different.  I've never been ready to make a full committment to following my dream.  I've shied away from it at every turn.  Just when I think I might be ready, something has happened in my life to stop me.  In the past 10 yrs, I've coped with my brother being sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit; I've moved house 5 times; I've struggled with a failing marriage and had to face the horrible truth (for me) that my ex-husband is transgendered and had been since before we met; I met and married the love of my life not long after leaving my ex:  I've had to cope with my Mum developing lung disease as well as my Dad's illness and then death.  In the middle of that has been the joy of my grandchildren being born and my children moving on with their lives and becoming wonderful, reasonably well balanced young adults in spite of all they've had to deal with as well.

It's been a roller coaster ride, for sure.  I'm not saying this all as an excuse.  I guess I'm actually talking to myself and explaining to myself why I've never really fully committed to seeing my dreams and goals fulfilled.  How could I?

So why now?  In all honesty, I don't know other than it feels right.  I'm settled into a new marriage; we've bought our first home which means no more having to move from rental accommodation.  More than that, my decision to move forward now seems to be inextricably linked to losing my Dad.  I don't know if it's because I was forced to deal with some major business problems as a result of his death.  I was put in situations that would've normally left me in a cold sweat and running a million miles away.  But I had to do it.  My sister and I had no choice.  We had to fight for my Dad's business and his estate for our mother's sake.  And to keep a roof over her head.

I found it challenging, frustrating, exciting all at once.  I felt my self-confidence soaring.  It seemed I wasn't going to die or the ground swallow me up when I walked into a room full of businessmen.  I could face a bank manager with confidence.  I could do a VAT return and nothing untoward would happen.  And so it goes on.

In the middle of all this, Steve and I started talking again about our own goals and dreams.  We met 6 yrs ago online in an art community.  I loved his work.  We emailed and started a friendship.  We then started working together.  It was still very part-time for me but nontheless we realised that we had a lot of skills and talents between us that meant we worked so very well together.  We then fell in love; moved in together and got married.  Our dreams of working together kind of got left by the wayside.

Until now.  Our dream was to set up our own business creating quality graphics - 3d digital models, textures and 2d images, photo art, photo references as well as offering various custom graphic services.  Basically just putting all our skills and passion for creating graphics into a business package.  Steve has been doing very well as a self-employed 3d digital content artist for the past 10 yrs or so and as such was recently advised to go from being self-employed to setting up a Ltd company.  And so we started talking, researching and planning.

We are in the early stages of the business set-up.  Lots going on behind the scenes.  We are both committed.  Excited and happy to finally seeing our original dreams coming to fruition.  I love that Steve and I can do this together.  He already made that jump and committment.  Giving up a "real" full time job to step into the unknown world of becoming a self-employed artist.  He knows about having dreams and reaching goals.  For him, setting up a business where we are both working together is just another goal on his list to cross off.

During the past week while working on getting the business up and running and surfing my fave blogs, I came across an e-course about setting up an online creative business - "Flying Lessons-Tips&Tricks to Help Your Creative Business Soar" by Kelly RaeRoberts. This course is perfect for me, right now.  Perfect timing.  Perfect content.  I chatted with Steve about it and decided to sign up immediately as it was about to start that same day!

I'm so glad I did.  Its re-affirming all I've been thinking about and hoping for.  I'm excited and know I've got a new found faith in myself, my abilities, my creative endeavours.  I feel at one with my husband.  I feel like we're working towards the same goal again.  It's like we were just bobbing along.  Drifting somehow.  We've moved back to each other.  The way we met.

Yes, I know life is up and down.  I can't think about tomorrow.  Right now, today is here and now.  I'm making short term goals, immediate in the next 2 week kinda goals.  I'm making medium term goals and I have long term goals.  I'm committed to making this work and moving forward.

I'm still sad.  I'm still grieving for the loss of my Dad.  I have moments every single day where I'm overwhelmed by the loss.  Somehow though I have this very strange sense of freedom from myself.  I've kept myself locked up and unable to move forward very far.  I feel like Dad is somewhere being proud of me.  Somewhere somehow excited that I'm finally finding out who Diane really is; dreaming big; making goals and staying committed to the promise of being who I need to be and want to be.

No comments: