I’m sitting at a table at my hotel in Palm Springs where I am attending Alt Summit. This isn’t my first Alt. It it is the first one I have ever attended in person. I am in the middle of a creative rebirth and as part of this change, I am taking my tiny turtle steps to reawaken that fire deep inside of me. This is my love letter to Alt Summit.
I have been meeting amazing, like-minded people and am finding out that I feel — normal. It’s not a setting on the washing machine normal, but is a normal that feels like a fit for me. Sort of. There is this crazy insane imposter syndrome that says “you don’t belong here!” which is wreaking havoc in my brain, however I’m using coping mechanisms to manage.
If you’re of a certain age, you will remember the Looney Tunes cartoons where one of the characters would have a little angel on one shoulder and the other a little devil. The little devil is whispering in one ear “Why are you here? What are you doing here? This isn’t for you.” The angel whispers “You belong, now go make new friends and learn.” Right now, they’re in the middle of an epic cage match fighting for control of my brain and I’m not sure who is body slamming who.
Not only am I brimming ideas, I don’t feel afraid to share them. Let me back up, as I’m jumping the gun with that statement. I don’t feel so afraid to DO the things I want to do. You see, I must do the things first. That’s a huge hurdle when you feel like you don’t belong. All I can do is take tiny turtle steps through the creative process. Writing down the ideas seems like a good start, so that is the first step.
The people of Alt Summit
The women (and men) I’ve met here are inspiring. They’re not afraid to relish in their creativity. At least that’s what it looks like on the outside. We all have these crazy fears and self-doubts, but maybe it’s easier for them to share because they are in a group of like-minded folks who accept them and what they do without question.
We all have those same fears; they just manifest in different ways. If we didn’t, we’d be robots. My fears aren’t the same as others, but they are mine and I choose to own them. I choose to not be paralyzed. Even if I have paralytic moments of self-doubt, I know these teeny tiny steps are necessary. I must embrace my fears to learn from them. I must embrace my fears to grow as a person and a creative. This is what I tell myself over and over as I walk on this path of awakening.
Creative expression doesn’t have to complicated or complex. It can be as simple as a balloon tied to a chair. That has been a difficult lesson for me to learn. The more I work on myself and take time to sit back and think about my creativity, I realize how much I have over-complicated this part of my life.
Looking back on my life, I grew up thinking I had to live in a certain mold of who I was told I had to be. To not draw attention to myself. To be a wallflower. And I’m watching the work these ladies are doing and saying “If only…” Why am I NOT doing it? Why am I NOT creating and living the life I think about and dream about?
I don’t know all of the why nots, but I do know some of them. I will slowly work through them and they’ll fight me every step of the way.
Thoughts on Joy
I want to make people happy. However, if I think about what “happy” means, I know that sustaining that feeling on a daily basis is not only elusive, it is inconsistent. I want to bring joy to people. Nothing makes me happier than making the people I love laugh, and knowing that I could do that. That’s why I love seeing and hearing children laughing. Their joy is something they don’t hide. They’re not afraid to let their laughter burst forth in loud, boisterous, deep-down-in-their-belly laughs.
That joy is what I seek in my everyday life. As I go through my creative rebirth and renaissance, bringing joy to everyone will be part of who I am and what I am doing. I’m not sure what it will look like, or how it will manifest in personal life. During this tumultuous time in the world, it’s something that is on my mind all day, everyday.
I want to say thank you to my friends at Alt Summit. I’m finding out a little joy never hurt anyone.