How Big is Your Shit Sandwich?



I swear I've read other books besides this one but here's yet another reference from Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic:  She offers the question: "How big of a shit sandwich are you willing to eat for your art?" Since graduating college in 2003, it's safe to say I've been eating a triple big mac daddy sized shit sandwich in exchange for creative stimulation.

I can honestly say it's all been worth it.  I was always aware that I chose to make sacrifices like living in teeny spaces or sharing with roommates, using precious vacation time and money on destination weddings, and never knowing my schedule because that's in the power of my agents' hands, in exchange for feeling the most alive when I'm acting.   

Martha Beck differentiates ourselves into two parts; there's the social self and the essential self.  It's my essential self I've been honoring to keep acting in my life, and my social self who always questioned if I was "crazy" continuing down this unreliable path.

I'm proud to say that I'm really good at honoring my essential self over my social self for the most part.  (And don't get me wrong-- we need our social selves who hopefully know that our phones should be off during yoga, while our essential selves are dying to know if our crush responded to our text!)

My essential self became a yoga teacher and a life coach, and always wanted to act since she came out of the womb.  She LOVES to shop and express herself in girly, romantic prints with a little of bit of edge.  She's very aware of who she wants to surround herself with, and she can't get enough of Chelsea Handler's talk show, absorbing herself in all things inappropriate, raunchy, hilarious and informative.

But what's weirding me out bigly, (sorry couldn't help myself) is that my social self's desires are now becoming my essential self's desires!

In addition to all of the above that my essential self is drawn towards, she's now screaming for structured hours in her work life, as well as financial stability that could allow her to take a trip somewhere she's never been, solely for her own enjoyment.   And for the first time ever, her essential self is getting annoyed when auditions come in while her social self is saying she "should" honor the agreement she committed to.

Basically, it took me thirteen years to discover that my shit sandwich is actually pretty gross, and I feel like I'm in a twilight zone.

I'd be lying if I said this isn't emotionally exhausting and overwhelming to say the least, but here's the good news:  When I dig deep within myself and honor the dissatisfaction I've been feeling, I know the answers will eventually come.  

Paying attention to what feels "shackles on" is an opportunity to look at what's not working anymore.  Is there a way to better the situation?  Or is it time to bag it and let it go?  I'm noticing the new "shoulds" and "have-to's" my social self is placing on me, and recognizing the cost of honoring my social self over my essential self over and over again.  

I've yet to arrive at the perfect solution as I navigate through this unchartered territory of naturally dissolving a lifelong soul desire, and start prioritizing things that were never of the utmost importance to me.  There's a lot of shock and sadness as I digest the new truths of my essential self's desires, but I'm genuinely excited to embark on whatever this next chapter will end up being, knowing in my bones that I'm getting closer and closer as I face my shite (pun intended) head on every day.

It's scary.  It's fun.  It's bizarre.

It's life.

And I'm embracing the whole hot mess of it, quite ungracefully I'll admit...

but it's a hell of a lot more graceful than eating a shit sandwich every day, dontchya think???

Happy Claire Your Mind Monday. 

Is there something that you loved doing more than anything else, or always thought you would keep doing for the rest of your life?  Maybe not a career choice, but a relationship, a place you thought you'd always live?   Share your experience about letting it go or not letting it go!


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