07 May 2010

Training Dragons

We all have them. Those ... things that lurk in the dark places of the soul. We're afraid of them. We hide from them. We avoid them. Usually because we know they are EXACTLY what we must do. But we don't understand them. We've been told "it doesn't make sense", "that's not the way it's done" , "you're crazy to think you could ever accomplish anything", etc.

We have good reason to fear it. It's huge! It's wild! It's untamable. It has sharp, pointy teeth and may eat us (at, at the least, squish us).

Nevertheless, it won't leave us alone. It taunts us, haunts us, throws things at us from the dark corners, Corrals the dust bunnies into a revolt and leads the revolution through the house at 1 a.m. All sane people are asleep. You, however, are wide awake, listening to the war march of a thousand, pattering paws.

You kick off the covers, roll up your pajama sleeves and tip toe into the attic, where the commotion is. Of course, you take a baseball bat with you, just in case. You're not ready to confront the monster, but you have no choice. If you don't face it, you'll never get another night's sleep. Your days will continue to be a constant battle between avoidance and fear.

And it's big. Huge even. What were you thinking? Maybe, if it didn't see you, you could sneak back downstairs, cover your head and - uh. oh. It saw you. Um...
Some bread? Or a block of cheese? There's a fruit cake in the pantry from six Christmases ago. Maybe an offering would work. Bribery?
It roars, you run, halting at the top of the attic steps. Something moves you to turn around. It's watching you. The eyes of a hunter but also the eyes of someone who knows more than you. It's the need for that knowledge that makes you turn around and do the impossible.
You reach out a hand, willing to sacrifice life and limb, to finally discover if this "thing" is really as fierce as you have grown to believe.

And you're shocked to find out you were wrong.
It takes time, a loads more courage than anyone dared believe YOU could have, but you spend time with it, get to know it. Discover it has a name.
Oil Painting
Sword smithing
Bread baking
House building
New Job
Small Business Ownership

You suck in your breath, leap into the air and find...
You're flying.
The very thing you feared is now supporting you, lifting you.

It's certainly not smooth sailing. There are up drafts and down drafts and other dragons along the way. You dip, you twirl, you even crash. But it's still there, you're still there. And you get back up and ride again. And again. And again.
And one day.
Someone shows up.
"So, I hear you're ________ (fill in the blank) now."
"Let's see."

You know what that means.
What if they hate it?
What if they hate you?
What if they don't get it?
Guess what?
They just might not.
In fact, one of the risks you signed up for when you first stretched out your hand was the fact that everyone you know could turn their backs on you.
But I have a secret to tell you.
You're not alone.
There are more like you out there. More like me. It sometimes takes a while, but you find them, eventually.
They're lurking in corners, hovering over keyboards, sipping 162 cups of coffee while they eek out just three more words. They're in the bakeries late at night, in the classrooms after hours. They're investing all they own (all they don't have even) to make the idea, the dream work. They're staying up late with a sick baby, they're in the hospital with a dying parent. They're tilling up rocky ground, refusing to believe the flowers won't grow.

The key is keeping at it until you find another. And when you do, you'll fly together. Sometimes along side each other. Sometimes supporting one another. Sometimes you may have to fly for them, and they, in turn, will fly for you.
One day your realize: had I never dared to discover what all that racket was, I would never have enjoyed this view. The adventure would continue to be just a dream.
So...what are YOUR dragons?

Happy weekend, happy Mom's Day, happy happy,
All images found via google images and belong to Dreamworks' How to Train Your Dragon


Karen Walker said...

Wonderful description of what it feels like, Jen. My dragons are singing and writing fiction. I'm working on taming them. Some days they overpower me and sometimes I hold on for dear life. We'll see...

willow said...

We certainly all have our fair share of dragons. Super post, Jen.

Betsy said...

Yep. I just call it 'life'. :)

Brian Miller said...

incredible description...they dure are fun to fly you know...

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Oh, my gosh. I can't tell you how hooked I was by this post - you sucked me in and held me to the very end! I love it. I love the way you tied it all into the "dragon training" analogy. You are brilliant!

My toughest, strongest dragon is TIME!

Have a great weekend! :-)

Tiana Smith said...

I loved this analogy. And I love how something that once scared you silly can be the very thing that gives you wings. I think with writing (my dragon), if you aren't scared a little bit, you aren't taking enough chances. Otherwise, your book will be like everyone elses.

maggie's garden said...

Wow what a fresh feel the blog has. And your writing is crisp (deftly and powerfully executed).

Anastasia said...

That was an amazing post. Thank you.

Mary Aalgaard said...

This is excellent. Today, I'm feeling stronger. Since, I opened up and shared about my "Committee," I have sent it packing. The Angel voices are singing in my head today. Today, I can work on Act 2. Today, I can clean out that nasty closet. Today, I can let myself think about being open to a new relationship. Everyone has insecurities. Even people who start out with a famous last name, have insecurities. Like in the movie Julie and Julia, Julie's husband says to her, "Julia Child wasn't always JULIA CHILD." Blessings, dear creative friend!

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

What an awesome post. I especially connected with the "now you're flying" section, probably because that's where I am right now. I saw this movie -- remember when the kids fly? So many times I thought they were going to crash; it was heart-stopping (for an animated film)! My writing journey is heart-stopping scary right now too. For all the reasons you highlighted here. Thanks for touching my personal story with your post!

I left you an award on my blog today!

Happy Mom's Day :)

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