One of the “4 Components of Creative Consistency” that I talk about is Commitment. With a capital C. It’s probably the thing that scares me most in life.
How can I commit to a project if I don’t know for sure what it will look like in the end?
How do I knowingly go into something despite the many back-and-forths, pros-and-cons, do-I-or-don’t-I’s, that fly through my head each minute?
But yet, we need to commit in order to birth something new – right?
A phrase comes to mind that an acting teacher once told me:
“The only way out is through.”
I’d like to apply that phrase to commitment today. I’d like to look at commitment, not as some end destination to get to, but as something to dance with and through in the present.
Ok, I’ll be honest. This isn’t just about creative projects. This is about love, too. (What better day than Valentine’s Day to get a little real in the love department!)
So I’d like to tell you a story. About my love life.
If the idea of that makes you want to barf, I can totally relate. But I encourage you to try and read it anyway because there’s more to it than a sappy love story. It’s about creativity. And commitment in all senses of the word.
So here it goes:
7 years ago I met a guy named Joe.
He worked at a restaurant called Gruppo, which sounded like my last name.
He was sweet and handsome and everything you would want in a boyfriend.
We went on 2 dates. I broke it off.
4 years later we reconnected. At a bar down the block from Gruppo. It was Valentine’s Day and I thought it would be fun to make out with him. So we did. I tried to get away again, but he insisted we see each other again.
We finally did. Despite the distance I tried to keep, he kept showing up until I softened and realized how awesome we were. A few months later and we were officially a couple.
3 years go by and there are blissful moments, rough patches, and everything in between.
We break up for a month, we get back together.
We move in together, he moves across the country.
I talk to friends, therapists, trusted tarot card readers, my mom, the moon.
“Why is it so hard for me to commit? What if he’s meant to be out there and I’m meant to be here and that’s it?”
Practical thoughts take over. Soul searching continues. Stupid moves lead to deep communication and understanding.
And after 3 months apart I see him in California. And I fall. Deep.
No thoughts, no phone calls, no inner dialogue questioning every move. I just know. All of a sudden it’s simple.
I want to be with Joe.
And we’ll figure out the other details.
What finally clicked for me is this:
Commitment does not have to look like what I’ve seen my family members go through, or what the Hollywood fantasy tells us relationships should look like. It does not have to mean “settling down” or “giving up my freedom.” I do not have to commit to an end goal that looks a specific way. Everything doesn’t have to be “perfect” in order to commit. It will never be perfect.
Do you see how this is about love, but really about everything?
How many times have you had an idea for a novel or a song or a painting, but talked yourself out of doing it because the end product felt too daunting?
How many times have you shied away from committing to something – or someone – because you couldn’t predict what it would be like later on?
For me – so many times.
But I’m changing that.
Here’s what I’m telling myself:
You can’t get anywhere just by thinking about it. Action is required.
You have to commit to something in order to figure out what it can grow to be.
You have to live through it. Dance with it. Take the small steps. Be in the moment.
Oh – and there’s another part to the story, too.
Joe moved to California for his acting career. Because he knew he wouldn’t fully be happy until he committed to it in that way. He knew that we as a couple couldn’t fully be happy unless he was doing what he truly needed to do for himself. It was risky. The distance brought up issues we had kept quiet for a long time. It stretched us. But in the end it brought us closer. Or should I say – it brought us to a new beginning.
And here we are. Valentine’s Day 3 years later. I’m still me. He’s still him. We are together. Maybe even making out at a bar again. (Try not to barf ;) Not focused on finding the perfect ending, but living happily in the now.
So that’s my story.
I’d love to hear yours in the comments below.
And remember -
Whatever situation you find yourself in today – whether single, committed, or somewhere in between – remember that the only constant in any relationship is YOU. The more true you are to yourself, the better off you’ll be – the better off everyone will be.
So get started. Don’t just dream up your novel – write the first sentence. And then let the story unfold. You may even fall in love in the process.
from my heart to yours,