When we started this project our goals were two-fold. For this post, I’m only interested in one of those goals because it has been the most difficult to keep up with – being actively creative despite our debts. For months, I have been avoiding this post and it took around 6 hours today to get me to this point of typing. Fear has something to do with it. Lack of confidence does as well. Guilt that I have abandoned my creative child and the lack of credibility I have been feeling in calling myself a theatre practitioner lately. Can you call yourself a theatre-maker if you haven’t made theatre in over a year? The longer the lull, the harder it is to jump back on that’s totally for sure. How do we make it go away?
The guilt of not pursuing a life in theatre for the past year has been hitting me hard lately. I spend my time seeing plays, applying for theatre admin. jobs and “liking” all of my friends production photos on Facebook. It gives me the illusion that I’m involved – the quick-fix. The more time that passes from the last show I was a part of, the harder it becomes to define what “I do.” I surely haven’t been “doing” theatre and I’m not confident in saying that I “do” anything other than theatre. So my answer to this question has become what I want to do/should be doing/ did in the past. But then people want to know what I’m working on now and I haven’t much to offer in terms of examples. I have no confidence in that conversation. But I want to break through that barrier and get on with it. It feels like starting from scratch again and it’s hard because you have to face your un-confidence (its a word now!) in the face, swallow it, and come to the plate humbled and ready to build a new network and prove yourself (again).
I’ll try my best (and hard) to go through this process with “grace” – get it!? The artistic process and career of an artist doesn’t have a deadline and ground rules. Their careers ebb and flow in waves of working and drought. They live untouched by the measurements and parameters of career success that other professionals live by. I will show compassion and mercy to myself and my lack of creating this past year or so because that’s what living gracefully means. Many other areas of my life have flourished over the past year and for that I am thankful and so very happy. Now I can take the time AND GRACE to focus my attention back on my craft. And now, after clicking “Publish” I am officially back in the game! 🙂 wahoo I have something to say next time and it feels soooooooo good 🙂 Next up on my agenda for establishing myself again is to 1) pull my website together with updates, services, and portfolio. 2) write regular posts on my blog to build more traffic. 3) Join play-writing and script-reading groups to expand my network and practice my new-found confidence. 4) Order new business card with “Creative Consultant: Theatre Performance” as the title. Cheers to starting over and continuing.
Financial burden. I still don’t get it, until I find myself crying inconsolably as I receive my paycheck just to distribute it among all my pending bills. I still don’t get it. Sorry dear, you still can’t get a real mattress, you still can’t get a comforter, why are you even thinking about how much you’ld like to renew your wardrobe? I’m so sorry you don’t have a decent pair of classic stilettos.
I find it hard not to be a cheap person and yet not being able to afford basically anything outside of my needs (and yet, sometimes managing to acquire some things). Just this past week I have been acting out the following performance score:
And more than anything, score or no score, I cannot live any other way. That is as far as I can stretch my earnings. I chose to live under the poverty line but I really don’t know how to. I have been trying and I have pushed myself, but my stupid privileged muscle memory keeps thinking that $500.00 is a decent price for a dress or a jacket. And it should be a decent price, provided I could afford it and the people who made it got paid fair wages. The saddest part of my weekend, and I mean saddest as in I feel sorry for myself even feeling sad, was running to a window at a shop to see a pair of sunglasses that was simply fabulous just to see the price tag and knowing that I was nowhere near being able to afford them. They were one week’s worth of work. Damn. I’m for sure happy with the $5.00 shades I bought on the street during black friday, but I can’t help thinking how long or why have I been ok without shopping much lately? I receive this e-mails from my favorite stores, they’ve had some great deals, like 40% off and 60% off, and I can’t even afford the discounted products. It’s embarrassing. But c’mon, obviously I don’t need anything else! I have clothes, I have a home, I have foodstamps, what else could I possibly want?
Financial burden. What? And then I receive those emails with deals on flights. I see an incredibly great deal on a flight to where my family lives. Well, can’t do it. Except, of course I could, instead of redistributing my check among my financial responsibilities. That’s when it all becomes really dehumanizing. That my financial responsibilities must take over my…oh no, wait, people don’t really have emotional responsibilities to themselves or their loved ones.You can totally disappoint yourself or someone else, and there is no real consequence for that, so we, of course, do it all the time. But you can’t fall behind and disappoint the bank or the government, or else… Well, I might lose the bank but at least I’ll still have a family to presumably love me, hopefully.
I guess this year has been harder than I expected simply because this “burden” has caught up with me. I can’t afford this lifestyle but I live it, and I am yet to figure out what that means. I of course do not live by any means near to the standards I was used to only a few years ago. This has nothing to do with translating economically into NYC (which of course demands that [almost] everyone adjusts to some extent), this has to do with me not having the means that I was used to have, this has to do with the choices that I have poorly made for myself for feeling entitled and trusting every promise made to me.
Financial burden. I remember taking that mean survey that your borrower demands from you when you are about to graduate.
Financial burden. I still don’t get, until I find myself crying inconsolably as I receive my paychecks just to distribute them among all my pending bills. I still don’t get it. Sorry dear, you still can’t get a real mattress, you still can’t get a comforter, why are you even thinking about how much you’d like to renew your wardrobe? I’m so sorry you don’t have a decent pair of classic stilettos. No baby, you can’t afford to visit your family.
OK let me go out and drink my few spare bucks away.
What do you want to do with your life?
Why won’t your fancy private school degree make your life better already?
Because you haven’t even paid for it yet!
Think of why you decided to study art.
You always thought (very romantically) you would rather be poor but make art. But be honest, you never really believed you would be poor. But no. You are not poor. Poor would be a person who has just a little bit of money. You are below that. You will be poor the day you have paid off your debt, and then you’ll have the chance of growing out of poverty…right?
I haven’t figured out anything yet. I often feel lost in how to approach my own situation. I don’t even have to pay anything for my loans, but the number keeps growing. If only my income would grow at a 6.8% rate day by day. If only I would’ve been money-smart instead of book-smart.
Still, I don’t regret having given myself the opportunity. I don’t regret and I wouldn’t change the friendships that I’ve made, the lessons I keep learning, this experience of incomparable vulnerability that I am going through. And maybe slowly, but I know I’m beginning to figure it out. I just need to trust my dream.
Katy would tell me I’m just doing “entitled bitching,” and it is true, because I can, because yes I bitch but also I apply for jobs, while working 3 jobs, submit proposals to festivals, get rejected, I find time to work on my art, also to support my friends’ art, I make time for meditation, for taking care of my body, for fun, for my internship, for rehearsal. I’m not just sitting here bitching.
I originally wrote this text on February 26th 2014, with the intention of posting it on this blog. But then, for some reason, I didn’t post it, until today. A lot of this was incorporated in The SM Cabaret Script, I realize now. Well, my life is in such a different situation than it was a year ago, or even 5 months ago. More of that to come next.