I’m delighted to be able to welcome my third Fearless interviewee to the blog – Julia Albain. Julia is a writer, member of Starkid, and all round inspiring lady, who has written honestly and openly about her struggles and creative life. She is currently running a Patreon for her upcoming travels to Guatemala and new book that she will be writing on her way.
I’ve admired Julia from afar for a long time, and so was excited when I learned that she was launching a Patreon for a new project last autumn. I threw myself into this and have been rewarded with Julia’s openness and beautiful writing, which prompted me to approach her to see if she would feature on this blog. She very graciously agreed to do so. A huge thank you Julia!
- I’d like to start with A Glamorously Unglamorous Life. I read this in my last year of university and it was a great inspiration to me as I felt particularly lost and like I had to make the right decisions. In the book, and since then, you’ve talked about exploring different paths. What made you realise that everything doesn’t have to be perfect right away? What helped you on this journey of discovery?
I’m still very much working on finding peace in the unexpected or unplanned, and finding bravery for the “different” paths. I think I wrote AGUL mostly for myself… to process all of the emotional turbulence I had gone through during my time in New York and to learn from it as I moved forward. Amazingly, it spoke to readers as well. Six years later I’m still asking some of the same questions and struggling with some of the same things… which is what led me to embark on the current project. One thing that helps me when things feel hard of confusing is to ask myself “do I want things to be good or interesting?” Sometimes I do just want nice, boring, goodness… and so then that’s what I focus on. But most of the time I realize that a driving force for me is to live an interesting life. Inherent in that is going to be some challenges, but I just have to remind myself that it’s worth it. Or decide how much feels worth it to me and adjust accordingly.
- I love the way that Patreon enables creators to share their creativity with their patrons and think it creates a great, honest relationship. What led you to decide to use Paetron as a platform? What made you feel that your upcoming journey was one you wanted to share?
The decision to use Patreon was for accountability. I knew I wanted to and was ready to write again, but I felt like I needed a little something that would keep me to it. I also have developed a new appreciation for reckless vulnerability. I’m not great at it, but I want to get better. Patreon felt like a way to nudge me toward that bold vulnerable sharing that I wanted to live in but was afraid of.
- Your recent writings were courageous and brave. I really admired them and they were inspirational. What made you want to tell your story so openly?
Again, reckless vulnerability. I’ve only recently realized that our most beautiful opportunities for connection and healing come in our weaknesses, not our strengths. I’ve lived my whole life trying to hide my shortcomings or compensate for them. There has been so much freedom in no longer hiding parts of myself. I’ve also found that there is unbelievable grace in sharing your struggles, because inevitably some one else was hiding theres as well until you shared. “Omg! That’s me! Me too!” is the best sound/feeling in the world.
- You will be writing your next book on your travels – what is the writing process like for you?
This writing process so far I’ve tried to be VERY loose. I sit down and just write, sometimes almost stream of thought. I go back and do just enough editing to make things readable, but I’m really trying not to over think or over edit. I want to just put it all down on paper, and worry about making it “good” later. I want to write the experience freely, I want to be reckless and bold. It’s very scary, and very different than how I’ve done things in the past, which is exactly why it feels right.
- I was interested to read that you relied on positivity lists. It’s something I’ve started this year and already it’s become a part of my daily routine. What other positive things do you try and incorporate into your regular routine?
Meditation is a huge part of my life and daily routine. Non-negotiable, in fact.
I also do some dream journaling in sync with the moons. It sounds SUPER out there, but if you break it down, its just a way to connect with nature in a time when we are so disconnected, and it’s an easy marker to help you check in twice a month. At the full moon I write out things that I’m letting go of, and at the new moon I write down things that I’d like to welcome into my life. No woo-woo or magic about it, just an honoring of passing time and of my own growth in connection to one of the oldest and most natural cycles we know. Lately I am very into the practice of making room for the new. Getting rid of stuff we don’t need, both material and emotional. We can’t expect anything to change if we don’t make preparations for it.
- What encompasses fearlessness to you?
Fearlessness is a lie, because fear is both natural and important. Fear is the reason our species survived. It’s just that now we don’t need it as often as it shows up. So for me, it’s about recognizing when a fear is invalid and pushing past it. Every time that we feel afraid, but then push through and see how amazing things are on the other side, we become more and more resilient and fear-proof.
- Deciding to do this trip was clearly a big decision and something that took a lot of fearlessness. How can we be more fearless and overcome fear to do things we want to do?
Practice, practice, practice. There is no trick, it’s just doing it. Every time you push through you gain a little more evidence against your fear.
- You also talked quite openly about working different jobs. How do you find time for your creative life and keep your life balanced?
I am in an elusive pursuit of balance… I’m very bad at it and I’m starting to think it’s a lie too 🙂 I think it’s not about finding perfect balance each day, but finding the right balance around whatever your priority at the moment is. Something is always going to demand more focus. I used to beat myself up when money-work take over and distract from creative work. Now I realize that it’s all just cycles, and in fact when I’m not creating, I’m still dreaming and gathering ideas, so it’s all important in the end. Frankly, my greatest challenge these days is teaching myself how to relax and enjoy life. I have no problem working a lot. I need help learning how to NOT work.
- I’m a huge reader and always interested in what other people like to read – do you have a favourite book or author? Or a book that particularly inspired you in your life?
My favorite book is The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. It’s a book of poems of sorts. I have given copies to dozens of people I love. After that, as cliche as it sounds, there are too many to pick even a few.
- What books will you be taking on your trip to inspire you along the way?
I don’t know! I’m making a list. I want to take one paperback that will feel universal, that I feel like I can read over and over again. After that I am going to make a list of books to download into my kindle.
- And finally, something to be thankful for?
I am thankful for my sobriety. Which for readers could translate into whatever that thing is that feels impossible to conquer. It’s very, very possible and I am thankful for the fact that nothing is impossible, which is what my sobriety proved to me.
A huge thank you once again for agreeing to take part in this interview. Good luck with your travels and the writing of your next book – I can’t wait to read the installments and share your journey with you!