Dancing Between Reality and Imagination. A Story About Us.

oman waiting for a train. Pink clouds and a crescent moon.
unicityart

Society mocks them for being different. Those closer to them define such behavior as radicals. They are not hidden, in fact, they stand out more than others.

It has been a year since I took my leap of faith. During my journey, I learned I wasn’t the only one. The people around me may have seen me as crazy, but along the way, I met others that were just like me; normal people that took an unconventional path. At that moment, I knew I wanted to learn more about “us”. To dig deeper, know what was going through their minds when they decided to jump. Against all the external pressure society and our peers construct around us, this small group of people managed to break through and win at life.

I call them “the outliers”. This is a story about us.

Creative director and former lyrical artist Allison was taught to be unconventional and different from a young age. Allison dreamed of becoming a famous artist and if given the opportunity, to save the world. She identified herself as an outlier when her counterpart middle school classmates were only thinking about recess. Allison lived on a different wavelength. She knew escape form “normal” was her only option.


The phrase “save the world,” or make an “impact on the world” is different for everyone. Who you are as an individual and experiences you’ve encountered help mold your definition. Some dedicate their lives to reverse climate change and others plant firm ground on social causes. Saving the world, in the eyes of Allison, meant healing others internally- spiritually. She says,

unicityart

Jump.

There’s an ongoing argument whether humans are born a blank slate or that we’re all wired to be good at certain things. Whatever side of the spectrum you believe in, Alli couldn’t rely on faith to get where she needed to go. With her diary in hand and visions clear, she went on to take vocal classes.

From there, her momentum started to build. Some call it momentum, Alli defines it as manifestation; the ability to visualize what you want, chase it and let your intuition guide you along the way.

Alli’s journey leads her down different roads, in fact, different states. She was a Connecticut girl who had to quickly adapt to bigger cities. New York demanded constant movement, late nights, and frequent management meetings- she was only 18. Los Angeles was her final destination in her music career. More corrupt meetings and less room for Alli’s creative soul. At 24, she decided to move back into the city and take some time off.

I was intrigued by her story. A classic story of a teenager swimming with sharks.

I asked one question, “what made you leave? After all, isn’t that what the little girl wanted all along?”

She responded, “It’s funny because you start to gain all that you’ve wanted as a child, yet you still fill so unfulfilled. I was checking off each box one by one, yet so confused why I was continuously getting sadder and sadder. I realized I was seeking happiness in external things and validations. It took me going down a dark and lonely road for me to finally hit the breaks and turn inwards. It was then I realized I was lacking self-love. I was so caught up in the idea-proving I could do something- that I had forgotten who I was, and what I actually wanted out of life”.

How many of us set high expectations? Can one argue that by goal-setting so early in the process, that we set ourselves up for failure and sadness if we fail to achieve it? There’s a paradox in doing things for our future selves. One can say by setting imaginary goals, we set ourselves up for unwanted emotions if we fail to attain them. On the other hand, one argues by not setting goals, we have a chance of getting lost. The question is, how do we travel the line of reality and imagination?

Curiosity and intuition.

Alli followed her childhood curiosity. Obviously, it got her pretty far in life. Her youth made her dashing, bold, and at the same time vulnerable because, at the end of the day, she was only a teenager. Now that we’re older, the game has changed; we’re now less dashing but because of experience, not as vulnerable.

The challenge is this… with external pressures holding us back, how do we rely on our curiosity while still living in reality?

What if realistic meant chasing your intuition and taking small, realistic steps towards your dream? Steve Jobs said it best,

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow truly know what you want to become”.

Look back at your childhood. Find moments of suppression. Times when you wanted to do something radical and those around you stopped you. Moments like these won’t stop as we grow older. Once you discover what you want to do in life, have the courage to start. By being more aware of ourselves throughout the journey, we can start making the right decisions.

Alli had the courage to follow her dreams just to find out it’s not truly what she wanted. Along the way, she learned lessons no other person her age would experience if she decided to stay stagnant.

Don’t let others push you into comfort.

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