We live in a society where we are told, "If you're not getting paid to do it, then it isn't legitimate." I will start off with the obvious example in this situation: me with writing. At the moment, I have never been paid to write a single word, yet I continue to do it. I tell people that I am a writer, and they look at me funny and say, "No, but what is your real job?" As if my writing isn't legitimate because I haven't received a paycheck.
Let me list off a few things that I have been paid for: selling clothes, answering phones, cleaning toilets, organizing sunglasses by brand and color, videography, photography, driving, dog sitting, and the list goes on and on. I have been paid for many odd jobs, but I wouldn't consider myself a salesman or a toilet scrubber, I consider myself a writer.
The reason I consider myself a writer over all other things is because I do writing more often and more diligently than I do anything else in my life. My organs are fed off of my words, not the oxygen that flows through my veins. My writing is my life support, it is the thing that keeps my heart pumping and my body moving. Sure, I do odd jobs to keep the lights on and to get food into my stomach, but I write to survive.
Never in my life will I need a paycheck to prove that my writing is legitimate or that my writing is worthy of my time, because I already know that writing is worthy of all of my time. It is worthy of all of my attention. It is worth sleepless nights and missed parties. You see writing isn't just something I do, it is who I am.
To deny myself the right to write, would be to deny myself the right to live.
My writing is legitimate because it is in honor of who I am, it is in honor of my soul, it is in honor of the reason I was placed so deliberately on this earth. And the same goes to things that you are passionate about, no matter what it may be. Cooking, building, singing, skating, parenting, volunteering, sitting in parks and observing nature. If there is something in your life that calls your name so loudly that it is impossible to ignore, then you must answer. And you don't need a paycheck or your friends or your neighbors or your parents or anyone to ever tell you that it is a legitimate way to spend your life, because if the call is truly that loud, then their voices will soon be hushed.
The most important lesson that I have learned over the last couple of months is this: Your calling in life will often be misunderstood. People will look at you like you are crazy. Demons disguised as your closest friends will whisper doubt into your ears. They will tell you that your path is wrong and that you must follow them and the crowd. They will attempt to drag you and push you and beat you, until you are too weak to disobey. But that day must never come. You must always disobey their urges, not from a lack of respect for them, but for an overwhelming respect for yourself. This is your calling. This is what you are meant to do. And to do anything else would be a disservice to you and your soul and every god involved in creating you and your path and your destiny. Let them say what they say, let them doubt, let them hate, let them shake their heads and leave your life forever, but whatever you do, never give up.
I promise you, everything will be okay. And I promise you that your dreams are legitimate. Your desires are legitimate. Your destiny is legitimate. And you are legitimate.