Why are you doing this?
Who is it for?
The two questions I ask myself daily. The two questions I want you to answer.
The whole idea and the whole concept of what matters to me has changed. It’s been changing for a while now, but it hasn’t felt this clear. I’ve been looking for a platform, an outlet, a task, a demand, something to attach myself and my abilities to, in order to feel wanted and significant - i’ve been searching for my identity (again). Because my old identity collapsed, and was put aside. By my own doing. I was the one that forced it to collapse, I did the collapsing with my own two hands, because I wanted to, because I had to.
Being a full time ballet dancer started to feel like work, hard work, a burden, an inconvenience. I was no longer happy in the studio, perfecting, striving, comparing, trying to measure up. And I knew something wasn't right, when everyday I found myself gazing out the gigantic studio windows, looking out across the Yarra River towards the Melbourne skyline, wondering, guessing, fantasising. I became more and more curious about the lives of the people outside. I felt trapped. And my desire to be something else, to try something new, was too strong to ignore. So I quit. I made a choice, and I jettisoned that dream into the air, and I moved on.
I moved on to other forms of storytelling and communication. Other versions of the same thing really. Just a basic desire to be heard and seen and understood. I had grown up secretly thinking that being an actor might be the thing for me, the big arrival, the real me. It had been a background dream that I knew I would acknowledge some day. So after my self declared final job as a dancer (cruise ship) I decided to move to Sydney to be the real me. Finally!
And guess what? It wasn't the big arrival, it wasn't the magic fit. But it certainly was a big learning curve in my timeline. And I recently went to Los Angeles (i'll write more about this another time) and all I can say is no. No. No. No. Big no. It was another quick fix attempt. And it was incredibly eye opening and horizon expanding. Because it clarified yet another foggy idea I had held onto for so long. The idea that notability would be my key to peace and belonging. As though success in the film industry would be the balm that would soothe my loneliness. I had been on the path for around five years, forging a career as an actor which then in the last two years also turned into a career as a director and writer (identity, identity, identity). And it culminated with this recent trip to the US which had me thinking that a visa and a permanent relocation to Hollywood would fix everything and give me a new perspective and new hope. It was as though I thought that if I continued to fake it in a shiny new town, then maybe I would start to actually enjoy being the person I had become - the hustling artist - using performance and creativity to hush my true yearning for stability. Bingo! It's all about stability! And for sure I enjoyed parts of the journey. The years in Sydney at acting school, the six months it took to secure a reputable agent, the rushing around from opportunity to opportunity, each one a chance at a turnaround. The celebration of small milestones and achievements. I had some fun. I lived my days in a state of nervousness, running on adrenalin. Ready for a yes that would change my life.
Sure, I made things i'm proud of. But the entire time my heart never unclenched.
Which brings me to now. To this new section in my life. To a point where I can recognise that i've matured leaps and bounds, and give myself a pat on the back. I see the value in stability now and I see the way it will help me to make my art from a place of love not fear. I like being useful. I like to contribute. I like to know that I matter, and I want to make an impact. But mostly, and this is the thing, the new thing - I want my impact to be witnessed - by just one person. One is enough now. I want someone there, when i'm on the verge of something great, or when i'm about to fall. There's no space left in me for self indulgence anymore. It's all about service now. It's more about us, and less about me. Because now i've arrived at plan B and the door is open and i'm interested. I actually want to get to know plan B, because it feels like the right thing to do. I no longer feel the pull to identify myself only through my creativity. Of course i'm still passionate about sharing who I am through words and images. But my self worth no longer depends on it. I don't link exterior success with survival anymore. I'm surviving for a long list of reasons now. Healthy, logical, rational and quiet reasons. Amen!
I know i've got more to make, and more to give, and I know it's going to be good. And i'm ready to let someone join me, to be my witness, to let me be theirs.
I know why i'm doing this.
I know who it's for.
// Photos taken on iPhone and edited with VSCO.