I’ve changed my mind about a lot of things a lot of times. When I applied for college, I applied to different schools as both a film major and theater major. I wound up studying Broadcast Journalism, minoring in film, competing on the speech team, and acting in plays. I could never narrow it down to one thing. And while I wanted to learn and do everything, at the end of the day, I was the absolutely happiest whenever I got to write or create a story and share it somehow. As long as I was doing that exact thing, I felt like all was right and balanced in my world.
After college, I quickly realized a couple things. I didn’t want to be a broadcast journalist, however, I was lucky to have a reporting professor who encouraged me to infuse my personal style into my storytelling. I decided not to pursue a film career, but I love love love film theory and will geek out with you over films like “A Woman is a Woman” any day of the week. I don’t necessarily want to become a professional public speaker, but I still to this day use the style of reader’s theatre in my writing. I don’t want to be a professional actor on broadway, however, stage actors are my muse. I love writing for them. I love collaborating with them. And hell, you could throw me into a community theatre production of anything and I’d be happy for the rest of my life. I really and truly would. Somehow, everything I studied in school took me back to writing. When I was thinking of where my college path would take me, I was sitting in the music room at Temple City High School on the floor staring in absolute awe as the director directed a scene for “Anything Goes.” I closed my eyes and told myself, “I want my life to feel like this for the rest of my life.” I didn’t know if I wanted to be an actor, director, or what (so I applied for both just in case), but I wanted to be a part of the creative process of theatre. It was my heart’s way of screaming out the answer to me. It was so crystal clear to me in that moment on the floor of my high school music room. This is what made me feel alive.
Fast forward 14 years later, and I work the front desk of a hotel and I occasionally get a reading for a play I wrote. I know the front desk gig is a side hustle. I’m absolutely aware of that. I know a side hustle is mandatory so that I have the time and space to write. And boy do I write. Journals, blogs, outlines, scripts…you name it, I’m writing it. I’m proud of the things I accomplished in New York. I’m particularly proud of the moments that I fell on my face, because you need as many of those moments as possible to grow. I’m proud that I wrote two new shows in New York (3 if you count the cabaret show I wrote in one day), and ALL of them got produced in New York as full-blown productions.
I’m proud of the hustling I did to produce theatre at 3 different venues in LA. I’m proud of the casting calls I held on my own in New York to cast 1 new person in a show. I’m proud of how much I learned in a short amount of time. Right now in this moment, I feel like I’m not living up to the potential I felt like I had in New York. I was so fearless in New York. I didn’t know anybody. And I wanted to know everyone. I would go to networking events, I would talk to everyone, I would set meetings, I would sit on the floor at a broadway producer’s house desperately trying to learn self-producing budgeting. I was really trying, and that was the difference.
Ever since I moved, I’ve stepped out of the hustle of New York. I’ve quieted my mind a little bit and I’m trying to re-focus what my next plan of attack is. When you stop to look at what you are pursuing, it is overwhelming. There are moments where I think to myself, “Am I attempting to reach a goal that is unattainable? Will I always be that artist that is always in a hourly job and being exhausted and hustling? At what point is this dream ridiculous?” And here’s what I’ve learned: Your dream is ridiculous when you stop attempting to pursue it. When you give up on it. That is when the dream is a ridiculous use of your time. Taking a breather from your dream is ok, so long as you’re not moving out of the dream house completely. You can’t be a creative individual and kill yourself 24/7 hustling and networking. Sometimes, you have to breathe and create a new plan and listen to your little creative voice who is patiently screaming the answers to you, if you finally decide to listen to it. When I stop and listen to mine, it’s telling me the same damn thing its always told me. I want to be a theatre creator. I want to tell a story in that medium. There are plenty of ways to do that. Not every path is right for everyone. In these quiet moments I’ve had the past year in Idaho, I think I’ve finally figured out what my path looks like for theatre. And to be honest, I knew it years ago and never really went for it. Shame on me for wasting that time, but I think I learned a lot so that I can at least get started. LA taught me that I want to create theatre. NY taught me how I want to create theatre. And Idaho told me to just do it already. I’m gonna be secretive for a little while longer, but for now, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be and doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.