Of course, the story starts long, long ago, but I'll jump to a more pithy beginning. I inherited a bit of money from my grandmother, and given my spotty history with money (hard making it, hard keeping it...) I knew it was the only time I was likely to have a chunk of money in my life. I decided it was time to "get real" and see a Real Certified Financial Planner. I did some research, made an appointment, sent in the requisite years of tax info, etc., and gave myself stern lectures about how I would settle down and get a real, full-time job,put the money into whatever retirement plan she advised, etc. When the day arrived I went to my appointment properly sedate and prepared to change my life to one embodying a Proper. Grownup. Attitude. She seemed very nice, extremely button-down and proper, and looked over my papers, saying: "I see your income from your various occupations; your clinic, teaching aerobic and fitness classes, a small counseling practice--but there is a very small income listed from artwork. What's that?" I happened to have some snapshots of my recent (very early!) work, and showed them to her. She looked at them, was quiet for a while. When she spoke again she spoke quietly: "I am a certified Financial Planner. I help people plan for their retirement. It's what I do. I never say what I'm about to say now, but I wake up every morning and pray that I can be an instrument of God's will. And right now I am quite moved to suggest you use the money from your grandmother to become a full time artist."
Well. I had projected All Things Parental onto her, I was prepared to be chastised for my lack of a "normal" and "proper" life, and I was prepared to straighten up and fly right. What I heard was a suggestion that I do something I had never dared to dream. I started to tremble and sweat and had tears roll down my face. It was as if a wave rose up in me and tumbled me around and about and when I came up for air everything was different. I knew I would do as she suggested. It felt like a blessing. It was.
But the story only began there. There are many, many twists and turns, and I'm still tumbling. Stay tuned.