Why you should do what you love!
You might know Carrie Brownstein best from Portlandia. As an actor, writer, and director of the innovative show, Brownstein has inarguably made a name for herself in the world of comedy.
But long before she conceived of the innovative series with Fred Armisen, Brownstein was—and is—first and foremost, a musician. A rock ’n’ roll guitarist, she’s one of the original members of Sleater-Kinney, an American band that formed over 20 years ago.
In spite of her many hats, it seems to me after reading Brownstein’s memoir, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, the talented Brownstein has one true calling, and that is her work as a musician.
To read Brownstein talk about the impact of the band in her life and the music they created (“what I wanted was to create music,” “I wanted the guitar to be an appendage—an extension even—of a body that was made powerful by my yielding of it,” “who was I without this band?”) is to understand what it means to find your calling.
Brownstein’s calling, it's clear from her own admission, as well as the trajectory of her musical career, is performing, playing music. Your calling is your passion; it’s what drives you, and in some cases, like Brownstein’s, what defines you. It’s what you’re meant to do in life—what you want to be when you “grow up.”
But as such, it doesn’t necessarily present itself easily. It’s not as though you sit down, close your eyes, and sit in silence meditating while you wait for your calling to come out and introduce itself. Nope, finding it requires dedication, attention, and grit. It’s no wonder that not everyone can pinpoint it, let alone celebrate it.
In an interesting New York Times piece from a couple of years ago, titled “Do You Know Your Calling?” Yael Averbuch (whose true calling is teaching soccer) writes, “A calling doesn’t mean it comes easy and doesn’t mean it isn’t terrifying to go down that path. A calling resides in the things we are drawn to do for some reason outside logic and understanding. It is the processes about which we are passionate that come naturally to us. It is through our calling that we can make the most positive impact on the world around us.”
For Brownstein, whose band started out making $350 a show—at most—being a musician wasn’t about glamour and money.