Remember To Be Somebody

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Greetings from 35k feet and janky Go-Go wifi! I'm blissfully exhausted, maybe a little hungover from celebratory champagne, and on my way to a communications conference. Then it's back to Atlanta, then the weekend in Chicago. 

Miles, baby. Miles. 

I'm sure you could hear me screaming, "HOLY SHIT I DID IT YOU GUYZZZZZZZ!" all the way from Vancouver yesterday; when I got the news that my pilot, Trash With Money is going to be made. Now, I know it means almost nothing. Most pilots don't get picked up. I'm a nobody, have no connections, but I believe in myself and believe that I have good ideas, and I'm not afraid to put myself out there. 

In this moment, it is the crown jewel of a rollercoaster decade. A decade that saw loss, birth, success, crushing defeats, huge mistakes, divorce, heartbreak... 

I survived, and it made me a better person. 

I know I always preach, work, work, work. I'm not a workaholic, even though I work two full time jobs. I operate from the standpoint of, "it takes what it takes." Back in my early days of writing, I would sit at my desk and write all morning, day, and night wherever I could steal the time with three babies. I had paying writing gigs with Yahoo, Examiner, and Chicago Now, but my ex-husband would point out that with the amount of time I sat at my desk, I was basically writing for minimum wage. 

So I got a couple of minimum wage jobs I would walk to, so he would shut up. I wrote between customers at the Barstool store, and I wrote in the peacefulness of the church library I cleaned. My ex resented my writing so much, he turned the hose on my laptop and I lost a manuscript I had started a Kickstarter account to fund.

So I got a new computer and started over.

Money, fame, and success never mattered to me. It did bother me how no one got why I wanted to do this as my life's work. Yes, I write pop-based things. I'm okay with that. Not everyone is that deep. I love to tell stories and share experiences. I have a pull to do it I can't explain. I'm not the best, but I know I'm talented. 

Many see a life like mine as impractical and frustrating. Only two people in my life fully grasp what it is I do and support it. I get asked all the time, "Why can't you just slow down and celebrate having a good career in digital media? Why do this to yourself?" Writing just doesn't translate to profession to most people. My mother made me go to nursing school because the thought of her daughter having a Lit degree was unbearable. 

"OMG YOU WILL WORK AT STARBUCKS YOUR WHOLE LIFE." 

I always laugh and shrug remembering that. They pay well and have good benefits. I am the queen of the side hustle. I might tend bar on the weekends when I move back to Chicago to fund a project I want to independently pursue. So what? I believe you have to take a step back to go two steps forward. I'll always drive an economy car and live modestly. I don't need a Gucci watch, a German sports car, a house in a chi-chi suburb. My only goal in life is to be the captain of my own pirate ship and do whatever the hell I want on any given day. I want my kids to pursue their passions and not have to worry about how to pay for it. 

So yesterday was the ultimate way to end the decade that began this week in 2008. I know I'm bold, aggressive, blunt, insensitive at times, and as 'extra' as they come. Even in the worst of times, when I wanted something, I put my head down and got it. Even though I'll probably be a self-funded Z-lister for the rest of my life, I'm doing what I'm meant to do. Everyone who mocked my goals, is pretty much exactly where they were ten years ago or worse off. 

Onward and upward to the next decade ahead. It will have its ups and downs, but I'm excited to see how it all unfolds.

You get one at bat. This is it. There's nothing unattractive in believing in yourself and working hard for what you want out of your life, no matter what that might be for you. The one's who have time to give an opinion about it, are avoiding handling their own stuff. 

Remember to be somebody. 

Thank you... ALL OF YOU... EVEN YOU WEIRDOS OBSESSED WITH ME IN THE BACK. I appreciate you all so much. Your support has lifted me up, I have learned to lean into criticism, and those of you wanting to knock me down a peg have kept me hungry and humble. I can't thank you enough. 

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Jennifer Gulbrandsen