It during the last couple months I’ve been hustling like crazy. While I usually do take a sort of weekend, I’ve been putting in upwards of 12 to 16 hours a day during the week and a couple hours each day on the weekend. Thinking about why I’m putting forth so much effort and what it’s worth maybe consider what is success to me, and what satisfies me.
During this investigation it occurred to me that I didn’t feel the guy had been successful. That’s bullshit! I was raised literally in a barn in the hills of upstate New York, in a family that barely had enough money to put food on the table, by parents who didn’t complete college, in a town that had a corner store/gas station across from an auto body shop, and the fire department. I went to college, graduated and went back for a Masters, made films that went to dozens and dozens of festivals, moved to Washington DC where I made cutting edge video products, taught the next generation of video artists, paid off my school debt, published seven novels, bought a house, and enjoy two wonderful relationships with two different partners.
If I can’t feel successful at what I’ve achieved than there something wrong with me. So I decided that wasn’t actually success that I felt like I was lacking, and the next question was to figure out what it was that I felt I was lacking. The best answer I have so far is public validation, which I admit I don’t need. My family loves me, my partners are proud of me, my dogs think I can do no wrong, and my house – try as it might – knows it won’t get very far into disrepair.
I need to remind myself that I am successful. That I have done amazing things. I need to continually reflect on my own satisfaction, and recognize that the only person I truly need to impress is myself. If I work hard, give myself a chance to relax, allow myself to mess up and learn, and push myself in a healthy way, then I should feel satisfied with the life I’m living.
So far I’ve only talked about accomplishments in regards to satisfaction. I think it’s important to remember that living truthfully and courageously can also impact my personal satisfaction. 10 years ago, I was single but living as a monogamous person. Five years ago I was partnered and living as a non-monogamous person. A couple years ago, I started to identify as pansexual, and now I identify simply as queer. Queer, can mean many things, both in sexual orientation and in preferred relationship dynamics, and I’m queer in both those ways.
To me it’s not just enough to have that identity in mind, because I create media, artwork, and literature. A few months ago I discreetly changed my bio on twitter to mention that I was queer, and nobody really noticed. Now, with the release of Trashy Romance, I’m more direct about it. Being open isn’t the easiest, and I recognize I’m very lucky to be in a position to be open. I figure the least I can do is be satisfied while striving for more.
So, rambly as this might’ve been, I feel like I have a new perspective on success and satisfaction. I define both, they don’t define me.