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Things I've learned in London: Instalment #2

Posted on by Elissa Mielke

2. Trust your artistic instincts and act on them. Then be prepared to deal with the consequences.

I was a little kid on a family canoe trip one summer, and we stopped at a cliff where all these other kids were jumping into the lake below. It looked fun. I wanted to jump too, but I was so scared.
I stood all day on the cliffs watching the other kids jump off into the water- and still their survival wasn’t enough proof for me. What if there is a snapping turtle who will attack me? I wondered. Maybe that shadow is a hidden rock and I'll hit my head. Maybe it's a conspiracy and the water is a mirage! (seriously, I wondered this).
I remember I wanted to jump so badly, but I couldn't. Fear consumed me.
Until the very last minute, right when everyone was going back to their boats and the sun was sinking. That's when I’d find a bit of courage while everyone’s back was turned. I’d throw myself off while screaming and clenching my fists. And then I’d crash happily into the deep blue water and it was the best thing of my life.

Photo: Thomas Van der Zaag

Somehow when I looked up at the cliff from the water, it looked like the little rock that it was.
Then I'd want to climb up and jump again and again all day long!
... Except the day was done, and I’d wasted it, and I had to go home.

I don’t want to be the girl on the cliff missing out because she is envisioning all potential outcomes. I know now that I have to jump soon as I get to the cliff- without over-thinking, as soon as I believe in an idea. Otherwise I never will. I realize music is a privilege, and I only have a certain amount of time to freely pursue what I love before it gets more difficult to find the time and money to support what I love doing. 
I am learning to trust my instincts. Logic is essential but taking chances is what helps me make my own path. I trust my impulses more now- like “Hey I think I'll move to London alone to chase down some opportunities that I feel hopeful for and could potentially end in complete failure! Neat.”

You are jumping from a cliff. And yes, the glittery ocean below could actually be a forest or a parking lot. (hopefully not a parking lot). If you fall, you find a way to rebuild and recover. While you jump you know there's a risk- you know you can fail. But what if instead, it’s actually an ocean of possibility?  

In summary, the second thing I've learned is this:
When you find an avenue- or a chance- that resonates with you, you have to try. If an idea comes that makes you feel on fire with possibility, it is best to run with it. You have to leap and feel okay with disappointment or pain. 
Because regret is worse.

Photo: Thomas Van der Zaag