I often think what my life would be like today had I stayed in Senigallia.
I’d probably still be living at home with my mum (Italians live with their parents until they marry – don’t judge).
I’d eat her delicious homemade lasagne (yes, she makes them completely from scratch) every Sunday, juicy salads that come directly from her farmers’ friends at dinner and piadina filled with Nutella when I’d crave a mid-afternoon snack.
Every weekend, I’d hang out with my friends. Now that half of them are married with kids, we’d meet up at someone’s house for tea and gossip. If it’s a special occasion, like someone’s birthday, we’d do something crazy and go out for pizza.
I have no idea what job I’d be doing. I’d likely be serving tables or cleaning hotel rooms. Anything that pays the bills.
I’d meet a nice guy, fall in love, get married. We’d buy a house. Get a cat. Have children.
Bury our dreams in a box in a little corner of our hearts. So deep that should we ever be crazy enough to wonder if we can still chase them, we wouldn’t be able to find them.
There’d be good times. There’d be awesome times. They’d be bad times. Mostly, they’d be boring times. An endless series of daily obligations and duties with little play and even less creativity. Isn’t that what life becomes when you’re a good girl who follows the path society has chosen for you?
Look, I’m not saying the life I’ve described sucks. For some of you, it may be the best life ever. Your most cherished dream.
But, it’s not mine.
It’s not like I haven’t tried. I lived that life for 30 years. 30 years when I constantly felt trapped. Felt like I didn’t belong. Felt like there was a lot more I was meant to do.
I felt this urge to write. But the thought of becoming a writer when you hail from a small town seems ridiculous. So, I repressed it. The more I did it, the more I fell into depression. Little by little, I lost my friends. My job. My boyfriend.
Writing saved me. A few years ago, I had started a beauty blog. It didn’t seem as crazy as writing a New York Times best-selling book (I’m still working on that one) and gave me a creative outlet.
Talking about skincare seems shallow, but when I started receiving the first comments from random strangers thanking me for the huge confidence boost they felt now their skin was finally clear, I realised how powerful my words could be.
Yes, it was just skincare advice. But, it made someone’s life better. I knew I had to do more of that. Helping and inspiring people with my words.
I’d love to say that after receiving those first comments, I packed my bags, moved to London and published the first in a long series of books. But, that’s not how dreams happen.
There were still fears to overcome, demons to fight and ties to cut before I could jump on that plane, or even write my first book.
I had to get better at my craft. Everyone can write a book. But if you want to write a book that people read, that changes lives, it has to be a damn good book.
I had to overcome the demons that kept me playing small. Shut up the inner mean girl who told me no one would read my books and any promotion was out of the question because I’d only make a fool of myself in front of the whole world if I dared go on a podcast. And without promotion, books die before they’re even born.
I had to cut ties with the negative people in my life, even when they were family. That was the easy part. The hard part was leaving the ones I love dearly behind. Because, even though I speak to my mum every few days on Skype, it’s not the same as being there and holding her.
Going after your dreams is hard. Maybe you won’t have to move like I did. Your dreams are different than mine and you may make them come true right where you are. You may not have to quit your job, either. If your dream’s to dance, you may finally join that hip hop dance class – even if you’re the only grown up there.
There's no just one path to make your dreams come true. But there's an ingredient you need to add if you want the recipe to work: courage.
The courage to go for it even if you fear to look like a fool.
The courage to forge your own path in the world even if it means seeing your family less.
The courage to create the book/song/business you’ve always dreamed of even if the world and your inner mean girl may insult and ridicule you.
If I hadn’t found that courage, you wouldn’t be reading this. This website wouldn’t exist. How could I possibly help you tame your inner mean girl if mine were still in charge of my life, preventing me from taking any risk at all?
If I hadn’t found that courage, I wouldn’t be living in my dream city, London (yes, it’s every bit as awesome as they say.)
If I hadn’t found that courage, I wouldn’t have been able to repair my relationships with the friends I had lost because of depression.The courage to go for it and see what happens - that's what separates a mere existence from an epic life. [clickToTweet tweet=”The courage to go for it and see what happens – that’s what separates a mere existence from an epic life. ” quote=”The courage to go for it and see what happens – that’s what separates a mere existence from an epic life. “]
Over to you now. Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are buried deep within you?