I was hella tempted to name this post Dracarys and then just pop off for 500 words about everything that’s happened in the last two weeks. And y’all. It’s been a lot. I wanted to pop off about the danger of caring too much while working in the arts. How I’ve been told I’m “too passionate” which feels like coded language for saying that I should “stay in my place” and reduce myself. And how I basically was asked to…
Wait. Sorry. Let me start over.
I was hella tempted to name this post Dracarys and then just pop off for 500 words about everything that’s happened in the last two weeks. But in therapy we’re working on focusing on the positives. And not putting all my energy into things I want to burn down.
So when I took a step back and forced myself to only look at the good things that happened in the last two weeks, holy sh*t it’s been amazing.
In the last two weeks, I’ve been to Houston for a life changing convening about what it means to be queer and Afro-Latinx, I’ve received an amazing commission with Florida Studio Theatre along with three other playwrights all much cooler than me, and I got to go to Albany to hear a reading of my impossible play.
I am quite literally living my dreams. So why doesn’t it feel like it?
When I told my parents (and a couple of friends) that I would have to leave my job their first question was “but what about money?” I told them that I had enough playwriting money to cover me until Oct 1 and surely I’ll find a job by then. And then they’d ask again “but what about money?” It was almost like they couldn’t hear me when I said I’d be okay.
Or probably that they didn’t believe it That my arts career could cover 100% of my expenses.
We’ve all got this idea of a struggling artist who needs five different jobs just to survive. We just assume that’s the only way to do it. And in bigger cities, sure. But it’s not just artists. It’s everyone. It’s anyone who works for themselves. Any entrepreneur works the grind. Why is it only artists get a bad rep for it?
And why can’t we see our own successes? If someone asked me things I’d like to improve about my work and my career, I would talk forever. If someone asked me to find one perfect thing, I’d be scrambling.
We don’t know how to take a win. Or to be specific, I don’t know how to take a win. It feels too dangerous. Like if I take a minute to celebrate anything, I’m worried it’ll be the last thing. Like I’m jinxing myself.
A part of it is as a woman, I’ve been conditioned to be humble. As an Afro-Latinx woman, that’s amplified.
But a part of it is I have a very specific vision of what a successful playwright looks like and I’m not it. I have 0 published plays, I don’t have an agent, and am lucky if I have a full production a year.
But even if I had all those things, would I see my success or would I be stuck on the one thing I didn’t get into?
My last post about failure. But….I haven’t failed. I just didn’t know what was coming.
Part of being an artist means not knowing. It means taking the kind of chances that everyone else thinks are crazy. It’s about believing in yourself so much you almost seem like a narcissist.
But confidence isn’t narcissism and too many people confuse confident women as something sinister, something to be challenged.
So, pass on that bullsh*t.
I don’t have time for imposter syndrome. I don’t have time to compare myself to others. I don’t have time to obsess over my failures. I acknowledge them, I learn from them, and then I move on.
And when I say I don’t have time, I mean I don’t make time for it.
Neither should you.
This year, my Saturn’s return, has been a lot about recognizing the power I have and understanding how to use it. I thought this year would be the end of my playwriting career and thought I would have to reconcile with that.
But I was wrong and I’ve learned only I can end my playwriting career. And I’m not gonna. I’m gonna continue to work my ass off and lift up my community with me. I will continue to create, continue to fight, and continue to grow.
As Hasley says, “I gotta recognize the weapon in my mind.”
And let me say it again, for the last six months 50% of my income came from my arts career and for the next three, it’s likely that 100% of my income will come from my arts career.
It’s not impossible.
Got a dream? Let’s talk about it. And then let’s make it happen.
And when we make it happen, can we please take a moment to celebrate it? All those negative voices, let’s shut them out.
Snoop Dogg thanked himself when he got a Hollywood star and I loved it. Because yes I am thankful to the companies who took a chance on me, a no name playwright. Yes, I’m thankful for all the opportunities that have come my way. Yes I’m thankful for everyone out there, some people I know, some people I don’t, who are advocating for me and helping me along way.
But I also want to thank myself. For not giving up. For taking wild chances and making it work. For believing an impossible thing could be not only possible but achievable.
I want to thank me for my persistence, my perseverance, and my radical belief that maybe I can make a living out of my dreams.
Cheers to me. Cheers to you. Cheers to anyone out there with an impossible dream proving everyone wrong and doing the damn thing.