This is the soundtrack of my life today:

Lissie; “Everywhere I Go”

I’ve been listening to it on repeat since I discovered it. Not because it is melancholy or because I am depressed.

No, this is the soundtrack of my life today because I am seeking.

See, when I became unemployed in November, I had my graduate school applications on which I could focus. I spent hours job hunting during the day, and researching and writing draft after draft of essays for admission. I was so certain that graduate school was the perfect next step for me: I was going to being a feminist scholar and researcher, and get advanced degrees and graduate and get a teaching position and spend the rest of my life in academe.

I haven’t necessarily changed my mind on this. It’s not that I have anything against academe, or that I don’t want to do research and be a feminist scholar and have advanced degrees. All of these may still be true. This may still be my path.

And, there are other choices. There are other options.

I am not a visual artist. I’m not a painter, or one who draws, or a sculptor.  I remember working on a pottery wheel at summer camp and loving it, but I’m not going to invest in a wheel, kiln, and all that clay. I may not be any good any more.

I love to dance, but I’m not a dancer. I have been told I have a beautiful voice, but I’m not really a singer, either. And really, there’s not much market for singers these days.

Over the last few days and weeks I’ve been reading a lot of blogs (they are mental respite from hours of job searching). I like to think of them as my “inspiration stars” — You can see them listed on the sidebar. *Please visit them, as I think you can benefit as much as I from their life stories and wisdom.* Each of these women is smart, funny, talented, and – perhaps most importantly – REAL.

Real. As in true to your heart, true to your spirit, true to your mind and body. True to your soul. Following your bliss. Existing within your reality.

I have spent most of my life being someone. I’ve been a daughter, a lover, a wife, a mother, a partner, a roommate, a friend, an enemy, a seeker, a dreamer, a student, a teacher; the list goes on. When I read the blogs of these outstanding women, I think back on all these roles I have played, all these people I have been.

And what I know, without any sliver of doubt, is that I simply want to BE.

I don’t want to be someone, I just want to exist. I want to follow dreams, wherever they lead. I want to wear whatever feels good. I want to cook nourishing food because I love to cook. I want to write because it is what burns in my soul. I want to take photographs because, some days, I am so stunned by my vision of the world. Snapshots of sensations, of specific experiences, they bring me joy in a way I had never recognized.

I once dated a professional amateur photographer (who is perhaps now an amateur professional). I remember having such difficulty going out and walking in the woods while she carried her camera. I chalked it up to feeling as though I was being neglected (which is all about me and not a reflection of her actions).

As I was thinking today, though, I had a break-through: I was upset because she was “neglecting” me — I was envious because she had the fancy camera and got to catch snippets of the world as we passed through it. I wasn’t angry at the photographer, I was jealous of her experience.

This is a big thing.No, this is huge.

I never realized it. I love photography. I love taking pictures. I love candid shots of life as it is every day, the beauty and sorrow captured to share the essence of a moment.

One of the things I noticed in common between all of my daily blog reading is that they all take photos. Day after day I am inspired and moved by the snapshot of the lives of strangers. When I was a child we went to a lot of estate auctions. I only ever noticed a few things: books, musical instruments, and photographs. Old family portraits of names long forgotten could hold me enthralled, oblivious to the outside world, until someone came along and scolded me for getting lost.

I was lost. I was imagining the world of that snapshot.

And so, even though nothing seems solid, nothing is concrete, I have no idea what I’m doing, where I’m going, or how I will get anywhere out of this deep rut in which I have entrenched myself, I know this:

I am a writer.
I am a photographer.

I may not have a camera worthy of photos, and I may only write a sentence or two a day, but these things are true. In the past three months of so much chaos, today my heart is still. Today I have a moment of understanding, a dream.

And if I am going to be good at anything, it is following dreams. I am not so accustomed to this. But I believe it is true that if you do not follow your dreams, you die. The very essence of your spirit withers into ash.

And I will not die.