when-you-cant-find-someone-to-follow-you-have-to-find-a-way-to-lead-by-example-quote-1

 

After far, far, far too long Sarah and I had a long-distance D & M/ catch-up this morning. I have written before about how wonderful and refreshing these marathon conversations can be ( today, possible a new record at 4+ hours!) but today’s conversation reassured me more than ever that I am not “missing out” or some kind of awkward ” late bloomer” for not leading or even wanting to lead a more conventional life.

Over the years I have spent so much time and energy collecting stories of misfit and eccentrics hoping to see similarities,  find  advice for myself, a possible justification or even expected trajectory for my own quietly strange life (despite all evidence to the contrary  I swear I didn’t set out to be so odd). Roxane Gay’s wonderful book of essays” Bad Feminist” argues at one point that perhaps some of us have to make our own ways without any role models to fall back on when she write: “When you can’t find someone to follow, you have to find a way to lead by example.”  It’s not that Gay’s argument is a completely new one,  my sister has been saying something similar for years as we have worked through where we belong and what we want  and what is even possible for us  but I can’t tell you how hard this idea is for me/ I am such a natural rule follower, a wait-in-line kind of girl,  a happily -do-as-I-am-told-er. I am not interested in being unique or different or standing out. Really.

And yet I think increasingly as I start to become more comfortable with my life decisions and the odd directions they take me, I am less and less bothered with trying to find evidence that I am not so odd. Talking to Sarah about the counter-intuitive career choices we are making (or on the cusp of making), choices that might seem a step backwards or sideways or upside-down  but are absolutely the right choices for us right now, was reassuring.

Conventional success, conventional ambitions be damned, we are making our way.