I lost sight of my heart
Yesterday my heart was awoken out of a one and a half year slumber. I didn't even realize it was sleeping.
Living an artistic life is hard. There are incredible highs and really big letdowns. I'm an overly optimistic person who doesn't tend to dwell on the negative. I don't think I realized that a big part of my year long crisis was in part due to my perceived failure of the two musicals I have co-written and written.
I won't go into too much detail about these projects. That's not really the point. I'll just say they are comedic full length shows, my first, co-written with Daya Curley was Becoming Britney: A Snarky Musical Adventure, a heart felt tribute to Britney Spears, a love letter to musical theater, and my number one passion since the age of eight.
The second is Real Housewives The Musical, a parody of, you guessed it, the Real Housewives franchise. They were both fairly successful in their own right with multiple productions, run extensions, fun music and lots of people laughing. Both are now published shows with Stage Rights in Los Angeles. It was a joyous experience and I learned a whole lot.
They were also extremely difficult to write despite their seemingly "fluff" material. People think that comedy is easy. It is not. Every moment must be thought out, edited down, two words may need to be changed. Did they laugh? Should I use this word instead of that? Did they chuckle? Is it clever? Is it true to my heart?
I worked hard. I had loads of help from super smart people that DO have attention to detail which is why the shows were even completed in the first place. Typically I rely on my basic talents, gut instinct, ability to learn from those who have gone before me, and a general fly by the seat of my pants mentality.
These are all useful skills to have but I can't just use that any longer, not if I want to push beyond my own boundaries. This past year has showed me success in life will be found with methodical and deliberate steps.
That all is super scary to me. Dedicating myself to something I don't know will work out is risky. I'm not sure I would say that writing something that didn't go beyond my original expectations was not worth it. They are vital to my path. I recognize they are stepping stones on my way to what I hope will be an exceptional life.
That is even more scary-admitting that I strive for an exceptional life.
That's the nugget of the problem, do you see it? I just did.
By never admitting I expect an exceptional life I won't be disappointed in myself when it doesn't happen.
That's no way to live. Sometimes I think that's what my dad yearned for and you know what? He died.
I'm no expert but I have a sneaking suspicion that this breakdown of a year is meant to teach me this lesson.
I never picked a lane and stayed in it. I'm a bit regretful. I feel as if I have wasted a lot of time doing so many things for so long. I am the jack of all trades and the master of none.
Instead of pushing through to the next level, I gave up. I got caught up in making money, pushing myself into the business world, and making myself into something I don't believe I really am. I'm good at acting the part though.
I am an artist. I know this is my identity and at the same time it embarrasses me. My two minds push and pull each day, often at odds with one another. As I've started to get healthy with the help of therapy, meditation, clean eating, and yes medication, I can see the two sides of my brain with more clarity.
The artistic side: a constant flow of imagination inside my head, swirling with movement, putting together pieces of a new creation like a puzzle, slowly forming into an eventual formed idea.
The rational side: a dependable mom, wife and daughter with responsibilities, two major health conditions, who feels time slipping away and struggles with the idea of putting so much dedication into one idea that might not work.
But what does that mean, "not work?"
You will tell me to live in the moment. Have more patience. Be more persistent. Take the long view, not the short view. I will tell you, you are correct.
The very thing I teach my students: pursuing a growth mindset instead of fixed, I now realize I am guilty of.
I have let my setbacks more or less define me for the last year. Rather than admitting I have so much to learn, so much more growth to achieve, I simply hit a wall.
I'm not beating myself up about it. I had to have this crisis to come to this realization. I've been forced into mindfulness. I must live methodically now, with intention, in order to stay well. I know that will translate into my work and it just might be a missing puzzle piece to my life.
As I was approached yesterday about a possible new artistic project I could feel something unlock that had been pushed way down deep, under all that weight I lost, under all that sleep I have not had, under all those panic attacks.
It burst open and suddenly I realized what I am missing.
I hesitate and ask myself do I really want to step back into something that is so all-consuming?
Can I commit myself to something that requires faith, hard work, discipline, solitude, and then convincing others to come along with me?
Will I be able to push myself beyond my perceived limitations and believe in myself again?
I think so.