It’s hard to believe that my last post was in February….Wow, how quickly a year can pass, especially when you are just trying to get by. Where have I been you may ask? Well, surfing….Riding out the good, the bad, the ups, downs and wading in the questions of my life. This year has been all about discovery for me. Discovering what I want my life to be about everyday and who I want in it, and most importantly what is it that makes me happy.
One of my discoveries, is that when you are an artist, you are extremely vulnerable to condemnation and I am often harder on myself than I should be, or at least I have been told that. There is something so conflicting about wanting to live a life that is heavily reliant on opportunity meeting preparation and/or being in the right place at the right time equipped with the right skills and actually living in the present. And as I get older the conflict becomes that much more apparent. How long is long enough? How many times do I get back on the horse after being knocked down? How many more pounds do I need to lose? How many more months am I going to scrape by? How many more….? Is the question I find myself asking more than ever.
Truthfully, I just tired… and rightly so. Nothing has ever been handed to me…I’ve been working since I was fourteen and saw my mother break her back to get what we did have so I have always been fully aware that if you want, you must work. I have never had it easy or stumbled upon a lucky mishap. I don’t even win raffle prizes. I am sure you too were this way at one point or another. So surely you can see how daunting the task is of getting up and at em time and time again can be. I wish I could just be content with living for my looks and being a housewife, hell, my issues would have been solved years ago but that is a small part of my bigger picture.
You see the thing about following a dream that you’ve had since you were a kid is that eventually you grow up. And as you do, you and that dream will be tested. As a child, we have the ability to think outside the box, to create the box even because we don’t have the responsibility or the experience of life. We don’t think about what being an adult means, what rejection feels like, or that when we reach that point of adulthood, that our life’s are our own and not our parents. Most importantly, do not know that not everything that glitters is gold. When these goals meet this reality check, it can make life seem like you’re drowning in the deep end.
There are many types of “artists” in this city; the hopelessly depressed, the egomaniacal, the forever young, the retired and the realistic. I am definitely in the latter group. The idea of being 25 or older and sleeping on someone’s couch by choice does not appeal to me. I don’t seek others approval so much that I will latch on to whatever clique that will take me to next big party and I don’t like to be in the scene just to feel apart of the “in crowd”, or to convince myself that I am more important than I am. I also will not nor have I ever thought it was an option to fuck, suck or screw my way to the top. I’m just me. I just want to create , whether it be musically, theatrically or blogging, and be okay. This has never been about the fame for me. Not being able to walk into my favorite restaurant or store without being mobbed is not that appealing to me. Although, I have been noticed from various projects while out, it is nothing like being Beyonce or MJ. I’d be lying if I said that I did not want the money because as you become an adult you realize money’s importance in your life. But it was never the money that made me want to do this, so, I don’t have to swim it, I just want to make it drizzle a little. I just want a life. A simple one. Although I can see clearly what my picture looks like, it’s very hard for me right now to see how those pieces will be put together.
When you work in other fields, you get the luxury (I use that term loosely) to have a blueprint in regards to your career path. It looks a little something like this: You do your best in high school to get into a good to great university; done. You study hard, maintain those good grades and graduate on time from said university without getting knocked up; done. Give or take a year off, a few GPA points and a internship or two. Then, you head out into the workforce with resume in hand only to be told that you do not have enough experience to work in the field that you have a degree in…you get some, return, and when you get into your field, you simply work your way through the ranks until you get where you want to be. Now, I know its not that cut and dry but it is a lot clearer than being an artist. These days the blueprint that exsisted when I was a girl no longer applies. The birth of the internet eventually led to he death of the conglomerates and now the music business is making the rules up as they go. Some feel the same about reality TV and its effects on television programming but the the effect can not compare to the death of the music business. Which means there is no blueprint. You are basically taking shots in the dark with nearly ten times the competition you would normally have.
I’ve talked a few industry friends and they all seem to think that a man is my answer. Not just any man, preferably one in the industry who I can utilize, for lack of a better word, to elevate me and put money into my dreams. But, I have had opportunities for things of that nature. That’s never really been me. I halfway agree though, with some of the advice. Having a supportive partner is very beneficial. One of my friends said that as an artist it is much easier to pursue your dreams when you aren’t carrying the entire load of day to day living. Some told me that as a female artist, I need a guy that is not in the industry but is willing to support me and be strong enough to push me forward without needing to compete. So yes, having the support of loving partner is very beneficial to this process. I just don’t think it has to be in those exact hues of gold-digging or being sponsored. Nonetheless, it made sense so I had to agree but I think this is beneficial to anyone with a dream, not just a dream of being in entertainment. We all need support. I now have a supportive partner but I had many many many years without one, and in those times I had family and good friends to talk me off the cliff many times.
‘Being in the business requires a faith that most people are not in touch with’, is something my “play sister”, Orenda, tells me. And she is right. Not knowing where your next gig is going to come from, having to shift your scope of living when everything dries out during the slow months and having to face rejection over and over and over again requires faith. Being in constant survivor mode is not for the faint of heart. Though I have had my share blessings, nothing is guaranteed and there is a big difference between being a “celebrity” and being someone occasionally on TV or on iTunes. These accomplishments do not mean that the fight is over… It’s just really starting and continues to over and over again. In between each job, each gig, each shoot..another fight ensues.
Maybe that is why I am learning that I do not want certain people or energies in my life. I mean at this point, I only have so much of it to give and if it ain’t on the positive side, I’m going to have to throw up the deuces. There is no room for childlike games when you are an adult, no room for pragmatic and deliberate drama and no space for more negative vibes when your well-being means overcoming them everyday. Being centered and having a piece of mind is all that I care to own right now. It’s the only way I’m going to be able to keep moving along in this journey. Although, I do not take my relationships lightly, I have come to accept that there are times when people come and go and sometimes when you start to see that some are moving against the new you, it’s best to keep on moving. And that’s okay. Realizing the importance of my circle has been a huge lesson for me this year. I am learning the importance of knowing who to invest my free time in, because there isn’t much of it, and when I need to save time for myself.
Having a vision and being creative can be a gift wrapped in a curse, because you often only focus on the end result. How your life should be, how your relationships will be, how you should be making your money… When you’re so future focused sometimes you forget to look around you to take note of what is happening now, in the present and how it is affecting you. You can let many things slip through the cracks and continue on in situations that do not benefit you and even worse you can miss all the beauty that is your life right now, today.
I heard a woman say once, “You better be happy with who you are today because if you die tomorrow, who you are today is all you will ever be.” Hearing those words really shook me. I have recently been in a place of unhappiness, not with love (finally, lol) but all the other things. My job, my career (there is a difference), my friends, my money, my body…you know the list. But those words really brought me back to a place of telling myself,
“STOP. Breathe and ask yourself…DASHA, WHAT REALLY MAKES YOU HAPPY?”
I didn’t need to answer the question. I know the answers… we all do. We often know but ignore things that make us happy to fill our big girl and big boy shoes. I am a very all or nothing type of person. I do not have an innate ability to balance wants with needs…I have to work at it. But this must be learned for the realistic artist to not turn into the hopelessly depressed.
So whatever it is that makes you happy, do it. Whoever does not contribute to that, remove it. And create situations that will sustain that feeling. I know that will be an everlasting place of repeat visitation, but that’s okay, because as we grow, so will our wants and needs.
So what makes me happy? Writing…this blog, my songs, my thoughts, recording, eating and working out with my fitness family, traveling and learning new things, working a job where I am valued and not paid very little with many expectations, having friends who are fun-loving, understanding, void of grudges and not petty, red wine and good food, having fun on set with kind, humble creatives and most importantly, LOVE.
So I’m going to do just that.