I haven’t written much about curating your own life or why I truly, deeply believe that people can follow their dreams and make them happen.
When I wrote about Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk, “Your body Language Shapes Who You Are.” I found myself relating to her conversation about “faking it until you make it.”
I didn’t suffer a serious brain injury like her, but statistics were against me. Many people didn’t expect me to go to college, let alone graduate. My family fell apart when I was 15. By 16, I was a high school dropout living on my own in Reno, Nevada. Not exactly a great start for the future I dreamed of.
I’m lucky that another family came into my life, people with no obligation to care for me, to parent me, to mentor and raise me as their own. They did all those things and more. They helped me graduate high school and later college.
As I walked the early steps of adulthood, I found few people in college who could relate to the adversity I faced as a teenager. Sometimes, I even questioned my place or my right to attend university at all.
Even to this day, my friends and family remind me that I deserved my spot at UCLA. That I am the person who graduated high school and later, earned a college degree. Just because something doesn’t feel comfortable doesn’t mean that we don’t deserve to pursue it.
This has shaped my relationship with art and the art world. I studied art history, but I’m no artist. Nor do I want to be a historian in the collegiate sense with a PHD and copious amounts of research.
But I spent many years of my early career at the chic openings of the Los Angeles art scene, the youngest in the room, and feeling anything but confident in being there. Now I’ve spent almost a decade following the art industry, supporting and advocating on its behalf. I’m proud of my younger self’s courage and at times blinding enthusiasm.
Following our dreams will always feel uncomfortable. Failure is likely but I know in the inner depth of my bones that even in failure, it’s worth it. Because when you fail at something you learn, you become stronger, you become more likely to achieve it in Round Two.
Stop saying “faking it.” There is nothing inauthentic about practice and perseverance.