I am a success antihero.
I’m Jessica M.H. Smith, a success antihero, unconventionally successful and fearlessly original. I didn’t always know it or embrace it.
I grew up in an Air Force family. Although my home life seemed very conventional, very strict, I saw and experienced extraordinary things. I’ve had a passport since infancy. I’ve sledded on German mountains, swum in the Red Sea, and camped in Denali National park.
Despite these extraordinary experiences, I strove for normalcy. Insane, right? On the strength of having seen camels up close in the wild alone, I should have been a circus performer or at least something that would be turned into a blog into a book into a movie. Nope. Any time I dared to do something different or original, I was roundly corrected by my peers, and worse, a pathological amount of self doubt.
If there was a movie about me growing up, it would be “Mean Girls” but in my version I’m my own mean girl, and my inner monologue was my burn book.
Oh I went there. No, literally, I went there.
[Pointing to a globe.]
Don’t worry, though. My secret abusive relationship with myself changed profoundly in my twenties. It basically took five trips to England, four major life changes, one trip to Argentina, and a difficult stint in Wyoming to realize that I am original, that I am an artist, a decent writer, and a jokester.
I have had successes, surely. People have always told me I’m a good writer and that I can speak or teach about anything. I blogged successfully for five years on a difficult niche topic, inspiring my followers and growing our movement. I’ve been interviewed by TIME for my innovative approach to writing about women’s wellness. One of my greatest strengths, however, is failure.
For three years I lived in Chicago. There I realized my dream of taking classes at Second City. I learned at the Second City Training Center, the training ground of your favorite comedians, that failure isn’t only good, it’s necessary. Failure is the means. It’s how you create. At Second City, there’s no such thing as writer’s block. If you have writer’s block while improvising, there is no improvising and no comedy. So you can’t over think it and you can’t be afraid. “There are no mistakes, only opportunities.” Unless of course you’re a doctor. Don’t mess that up.
So that’s me. Well traveled, living fearlessly, and not over thinking it. And quoting comedians a lot. I love meeting new people, even if they don’t quote comedians on the spot. Drop a line!