I have been noticeably absent. I apologize. If you will, let me share my heart with you for just a moment. I promise, more goodies are coming this week. But this is a post I must write.
When I first began reellifebygrace I had huge ambitions for this site. I knew what I would write about, how I would grow it, etc. I had mental plans for building up step-by-step, celebrity interviews, so on and so forth.
It was gonna be big. And one day it would become a source of income. I would get to do what I loved AND make money at it. I would grow a huge audience, influence and create discussion with thousands of readers and fans. It was even going to help carve out a place for me in the film-making world as a career in film-making is my eventual goal.
I worked hard at it for months. I’ve never doubted my ability to produce excellent content, in fact, that is probably my strongest suit. I can spit out thousands of words in less than an hour; sometimes my brain is moving so fast my fingers can’t keep up. I also analyze movies very deeply, so I knew I was never going to run out of material.
But, it takes time to build an empire. And I am young and still learning a lot of new things. I’m still learning things like how to make an income, how to manage finances, how to give myself time to learn and grace to stumble. Plus, I got hit with some life-changing personal circumstances that have dramatically changed my everyday reality as well as what I saw for my immediate future.
Work required a lot of energy. My family required a ton of energy. I had chosen a non-college route for many practical reasons, and I do not regret that choice. But choosing a non-college route means that you do a lot of the foundation building yourself. You have to do the research. You have to put in the hours to structure things. You have to make the connections. You have to make all of the choices, nothing is done for you.
I’m not belittling the college-going crowd and all the effort they have to put forth. I know college requires work, commitment, choices, and discipline. But so does a non-college route where you have to build everything from scratch. This road is exhausting and terrifying.
As I was led in different directions, trying to start my own businesses, moving, dealing with my parents’ separation-now-divorce, losing a job I adored and coworkers that were like family, reellifebygrace got lost in the shuffle.
My life hasn’t been all falling buildings and rubble. My faith is stronger than ever. My loved ones related both by blood and by heart have held me up and walked through life with me. I have learned a ton of new skills. I am learning patience, dedication, and contentment; three things that I know will serve me well in any circumstance.
There are so many things that we assume will make us not “okay” if they happen. I’ve had a lot of my “okay” standards and limits either pushed outward or pulled out from under me entirely.
I have fought the fear of missing out my entire life. I was always afraid that I was going to miss the adventure, the action, getting to take the incredible journeys and do the big, cool things. I feared the mundane, the bland and the colorless. I was terrified that my dreams would be taken from me. I was terrified of committing to anything that would trap me.
Truth is, much of life is mundane, that’s just a fact. Without the mundane to maintain our lives and create a foundation, the rest of life falls apart. Mundane doesn’t have to be something to be feared, it can be embraced as something normal and comforting.
Bland and colorless. Who says even the ordinary things have to be bland and colorless? I can make the most boring afternoon more interesting by putting on The Greatest Showman soundtrack and letting a million dreams carry my soul to brighter realms than whatever “boring” task I am currently doing.
Dreams are a part of us, I believe they are put inside of us by God as a part of our DNA and our roadmap in this life. Dreams are not meant to be our masters, we were not made to be slaves to this all-important DREAM that rules our lives, wrecks our perspective and drives us crazy. No, dreams are meant to be followed with moderation, and never at the expense of something more important like destroying precious people.
But God gives us dreams. So why was I so afraid that mine would be “taken” away? God isn’t this big TAKER that He gets made out to be, He’s a GIVER. He’s the biggest Giver known to Mankind (heck, He GAVE His only Son to come and save me and my brothers and sisters in the human race).
Follow your dreams at ANY cost, it doesn’t matter how you get there, so long as the DREAM is fulfilled. It must look THIS way or it is a failure.
Live your life, because every moment matters, no matter how mundane. Pursue the dreams with diligence, but never let your dream become your master. Enjoy life and embrace it, embrace people, and you will find the dream when the time is right. Or, the dream will find you in a way you never expected, and it won’t look the way you imagined. But it will be so much better than you could have ever guessed.
How does this fit into reellifebygrace?
This little old website represents a piece of a much bigger dream for me. I’ve been in love with movies my entire life. I have wanted to be a filmmaker for years. I have been a writer for years. Stories are my happy place, and sharing beloved stories with others brings me such immense joy.
This site was going to be a roadway to that dream. It was going to open doors, influence and connect with an audience, make me money. But then life happened, and I had to set this site aside for a while. In some ways, I gave up on it, in other ways I just didn’t have the bandwidth for it.
But as I have been embracing my new normal, I remembered this part of myself. I love this website because I love what it represents. I love that I use it to talk about stories, characters, feelings, messages, and hope. I love that I am myself on here, unafraid and open. It’s everything I love about movies, and it’s my own little space to open up.
I’ve learned that we can have a lot of our “okay” stripped away, and it often feels terrifying and incredibly raw. I’m never gonna tell you that it doesn’t hurt and that it doesn’t leave you spinning, because it does. It hurts like heck and I’m still dizzy much of the time.
At the same time, when a bunch of my “okay” standards were gone, I realized just how superficial they actually were. What I thought was carved in stone was actually just gouged out of clay. My identity and security couldn’t be based on clay, or stone, it had to be in something that would last. Something eternal.
As I have been placing my security, my hope, my identity in the hands of the Great Dream Giver, I have been discovering something else. I’m rediscovering me.
Because when you take your identity out of things that cannot hold something that important, when you redefine what success looks like, and when you learn that okay is not what you thought it was, it’s actually better. You get to find yourself. The real you, the one that is freed from superficial things, judgments, phantom fears, and lies. I thought I was losing something, and I have lost some precious things that no one should ever have to lose. But more than my losses, I am being given things.
So I came home. I came back here because I love this place. Because this site is important to me. Because I love what I do here. I do believe I will get to be a filmmaker one day, a storyteller at the very least. I don’t know how that will happen, but I’m not gonna be afraid of losing that dream. If it was truly given to me by the Giver, then He’ll make a way.
For now, I’m gonna be me. This little site may never make a dime, never get thousands of followers, I may never interview a single celebrity.
But that’s okay with me because I’m not writing for those reasons anymore. I am writing this site for myself because it makes me happy. This site is a part of me, and so when I have time, I will write on here simply because I want to.
And that, my friends, is “real life” by Grace.