When I tell people I grew up in a small Texas town of 2,000 people, they basically freak out. They can't understand graduating high school with a class of 39 people. They wonder what in the heck I did for fun. They wonder how I had any privacy. They have so many questions, most of which I answer with a laugh or two. It felt pretty normal to me!
What I didn't know is that the freak outs would only get worse once I got married. That's right people - I moved to a town of 1,000 people. THAT'S HALF THE SIZE OF MY HOMETOWN. What's worse than that is I moved there right after spending seven years in a pretty good sized city. I had everything I needed five minutes away from my apartment. I had a daily commute to a good job downtown. It was the career life I had always pictured.
After the wedding, that mental picture became contorted. No longer did I have the luxury of convenience. The closest city to my new home is a 30 minute drive into another state. Unfortunately, the roads are horrible and my husband prefers that I don't drive them much. The city of preference is 1.45 hours away. That seems like forever when you have a pressing need.
I had bigger frustrations, though. Living in a small town really took a toll on my career. I became a remote copywriter for the digital marketing firm I worked at. I started writing blogs for companies that generated schedules or payroll. It was *yawn* compared to the fast paced job I had before as a broadcast news reporter.
I finally decided to leave my copywriting job in October 2018 to pursue my storytelling dreams. There are so many ways to share good news when you have the skills needed for mass communication. I just couldn't talk myself out of it. Luckily, my husband agreed.
The problem is, the stories I've written need to be published and I've found the book industry is very hard to break into. It's definitely not a dream you accomplish in a few months. That means I sit at home, try to write and feel like a failure when procrastination kicks my tail.
Not bringing in an income really affected me for a while. I felt worthless and guilty that I put that stress on my husband. I couldn't take it after a month, so I got a part time teaching job with VIPKid. I teach early in the morning and then have the rest of the day to work on my books. It's really a great gig if you're interested.
Still, there are days I question if I will ever accomplish my professional goals. I used to crank out general news stories within 24 hours. Now I no longer work for businesses that share stories, and I'm in a place where everyday is a slow news day (thankfully). Needless to say, it's easy to sink into a place where I felt like a failure.
Then my husband and I had a nice long chit-chat about my state. He questioned why I felt this overwhelming need to have a successful career. Why did I have to be at the top of my league? Why did I need immediacy? Why did I need to advance myself professionally to have a great sense of self worth?
Those questions all resonated with me. Together, we helped me reprioritize myself. We decided that I needed to focus on these areas of my life:
1. My Faith
2. Our Relationship
3. My Family
4. My Friends
5. THEN My Career
I felt so embarrassed that I had let a #5 category consume my happiness like it had. Almost instantly, the pressure I kept adding to my shoulders was lifted. I began to focus more on our needs and the needs of others. I instantly felt like I was doing what I was called to do.
Since then, I still work for VIPKid to help pay our bills. But I no longer stress that it's not my dream job or that it's not advancing me to the storyteller role I want to have. Instead, I steadily work on projects when I have the time (without the overwhelming pressure of failing). This has allowed me to feel more passion, creative freedom, and happiness in my relationship and remote location.
Thanks for supporting my first step into a storyteller project with Be The Light. I hope this website will fulfill my urge to share good news with others. Imagine how happy the world would be if we all supported each other's passions. ☀️