An understanding

This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup.

Dear Sara,

During the time Sex and the City ran, people always wondered how Carrie could afford living on her own, in a Manhatten apartment, riding taxis, eating out and never cooking her own meals.
How she could afford Cosmopolitans – cocktails, not the magazine, although she probably bought those too.
How she could afford parties, fun, adventure, designer clothing and $40.000 worth of Manolo Blahnicks by season 4, from writing one column a week.

Fast forward to 2022 and we see her Podcasting and yes, she also writes a book, but it is clear the money is not coming from that.
Assuming the book from the original series, with her collected columns, didn’t turn into an evergreen well that keeps on giving, then any money coming in from work has to be what she’s been earning as one of the three hosts of the Podcast.

It is also clear that when she starts writing her book, in the follow up series And Just Like That, this is a routine outside of what she normally does.
So she has not maintained her writing routine, over the years.

Which raises many, many questions, and none of them have to do with money. Because money wise, we can assume that her marriage to Mr.Big has taken care of that.
We no longer need to figure out how she’s paying for her lifestyle on a padcaster salary.
Oh no.
The mystery we now have to solve is of an entire different nature;
Was she ever, really a writer?

I started making yoga videos in 2015, and as the years progressed they started to get more general. Be more about mindset, my life, business, and about topics that had to do with pop culture and not yoga.
Even now I feel I’m still struggling to understand what I want with it. It’s always been a struggle.

I can see how video makes for a more interesting medium for both myself as well as for an audience. There is so much more exposure and connection going on, if you film.

However, here’s what it has not and will not ever do;
Replace writing.
Speaking, whether on camera or in real life, or even if you would record only an audio or a podcast, doesn’t even come close, to what happens when you write.

The art of speaking is as different to writing, as painting is to sculpting.
They require different skillsets, satisfy different needs. They serve a different audience, and perhaps serve different times.
In history, they will have a different place as to how they are perceived.
And how you, the maker, are perceived.

But mostly, whether you ARE a writer, or you are not a writer, is not a matter of what’s in demand. Your “line of work”, if you want to call it that, changes with technology; The typewriter becomes a computer, and paper becomes a digital cloud.
However, writing does not become: Now we open our mouth and are speakers.

If Carrie, once financially safe, no longer writes but has become a podcaster instead, then was she ever a writer?
If the question, “When money is no object, what do you want to do?” is apparently answered with:
“I would make a podcast.”
Then in my opinion, she was never a writer.

She was never consumed from the inside out by what Writing and its muses, want from you. 
Or, even worse, she did have that passion but the writers for And Just Like That (SATC follow up, 2021) didn’t understand what motivated Carrie Bradshaw.

Maybe softening and generalizing her genuine, chosen art form of choice, which had been writing, into a current day, social, relatable, hobby;
Had been their choice.
To have her move away from this introspective and not very interesting art form.

Either that, or Carrie Bradshaw really was what she said she was, in her first episode:
A sexual anthropologist.
Technically speaking, she never claimed to be a writer.
And with her podcast she is still in the realm of sexual anthropology.

It is questions like this that have been haunting me for the last three weeks. And not so much for Carrie, but for me.

I identify three things, three separate areas, and I keep messing things up, because I identify as one of them, yet always come out on the other side that No!
I am NOT that.

It wasn’t until I am writing you now, and illustrate my trail of thought drawing a parallel to one of my two “writer idols” (the other one is Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct), that I think I have solved it!

There are only three options:
Payroll, entrepreneur, and artist.
And I KEEP mixing them up!
Which causes many confusion, but also one fantasy, that I want to share, before I continue:

I have indulged in the fantasy of how beautiful my career as a yoga teacher would have been, if it had been a salary job, or a job with an hourly wage.
Both options that do not exist for yoga teachers in The Netherlands. Or anywhere else in the world I reckon.

But the thought that the only thing I would have to do, would have been to get really good at my craft, take extra trainings, new certifications.
Start teaching teachers, and be successful, all with the lovely security of being an employee! 

Okay enough daydreaming. 
But it has been I would say “healing”, to realize that if my chosen area of work, had had a whole career path behind it, I would have loved to have gone the extra mile, and have been very motivated to be one hell of a yoga teacher!! 
But running your own business (which being a yoga teacher required) no longer allows you to actually be IN your real work.

A dynamic I did not understand, until recently.
But there are really only three options.

1. Either you are a professional, in a payroll job.
And can cater that monomaniac love and indulgence for your work and your craft!

Or
2. you are an independent, and in many lines of work, just like yoga, you can only do your work as an independent;
But when you are an independent, you are no longer a professional. You no longer have a profession to indulge in or identify with, because as an independent we all have the same job:
Entrepreneur.

Our only job is to come up with profitable business models, that change with technology, with markets, with time.
And our talents or skills are only relevant to the degree to which we can monetize them.

Carrie Bradshaw the entrepreneur, sold her columns around the turn of the century.
And twenty years later, Carrie Bradshaw the entrepreneur, sells her presence to a podcast.
But what is most likely is that she never did any of that for money, and that she was in fact:
3. an artist.

The artist, is not the professional from 1. because they do not have job security, nor are they the entrepreneur from 2. because the artist is committed to creating. Not to making money.
Carrie’s art form may have gone from writing to speaking, just like artists can move from painting to sculpting, but
what stays the same is the need to create.
Creation, for an artist, is as urgent as breathing.

We, as a society, do not learn to differentiate, between the responsibilities of an entrepreneur, versus on a salary/ payroll.
And we definitely do not learn about the third one.
About having a calling, a purpose, a passion;
About having a necessity to create.

Something that will breathe you, move you, and eat you alive and drive you to madness, if you don’t cater to it.
So you may as well make the best of its presence, a
nd go for it.
GO for that career as an artist!

And absolutely not because it is your best option of the three. I would say it is by far the worst of the three options employee, entrepreneur, artist.
If there was just an inch of bandwidth, I would not choose artist.

Jim Carrey’s father, was a gifted saxophone player. But instead of becoming a professional, he became an accountant. A job he got fired from, when he was 51, which caused the family to become homeless.
About this, Jim Carrey says:
“I learned you can fail, at what you don’t love.
So you might as well do what you love.”

It’s not success as an artist, versus success as an entrepreneur or even a career as a professional.

It is knowing, that even if I fail to make a cent, and no one will know my name;
That experience, the decades to come, will carry within itself, the deep satisfaction, the knowing, the understanding, that I am walking my path.

Proudly.

~Lauren
An unexamined life is not worth living

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