I have a secret. I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing with my life – not my career, romantic relationships, my workout and diet erraticism or the box of mismatched socks that has been sitting in the corner of my room for approximately 74 months. If you asked people who know me, they would tell you that I might even have it together more than most. This is because I am good at putting on a face, though my childhood fantasy of becoming an actor stayed inside the confines of my diary once upon a time. This is my case for trying, despite the fear that can sometimes rattle me into inaction. A manifesto to pull myself up by the bootstraps, if you will.
Here is what I know: I want a successful creative career. Currently that means as a writer and/or director, but sometimes the mountain to recognition and fulfillment seems so big I don’t know where to begin and therefore do not. It is easier to not start an Indiegogo campaign for your short film than potentially deal with raising a total or $3.47 or even submitting a piece to a website you read every day in case no one ever reads it. Or worse so, tells you that you aren’t any good.
When I watch Kathryn Bigelow accept her Oscar for Hurt Locker and the priceless strained smile plastered on her megalomaniac of an ex-husband James Cameron’s face, who slow claps behind behind the back of her thirty something hot piece of a screenwriter boyfriend, I have a flash of beautiful clarity. That’s it. That’s the moment I want. I want to be standing there, maybe wearing a beautiful dress (something restrained and inconspicuous as I’m the “artist”, after all) staring at the faces of those who love me and have offered me their backs to carry me from A to B. I am also giving the implied middle finger to those who got in the way. I succeeded despite and because of.
I want to be loved wholly and honestly and to reciprocate without fear or reservation in a way that perhaps will one day end up in long-term commitment. I don’t know about the whole white dress idea (I am prone to stains of all kinds), but I could be warmed to the word “husband” if he makes me snort laugh and tells me he likes my hair better curly than straight enough times. Yet, at this moment in my confused, selfish 27-year-old state, I worry that I love everyone and no one. I fall in love too quickly, and then am easily distracted. I end up feeling perpetually alone despite being surrounded. Am I a flake? Am I shallow? I want to wear that once in a lifetime Holt Renfrew outfit and declare my commitment at city hall, followed by an intimate dinner at a chic, but understated top ten restaurant, but then what? What is a Tuesday in February like when you are fifty-two and married? I do not know.
I can bury my energy in a relationship and avoid what is hard. It is easier to drink a bottle of wine with someone that tells you are smart and attractive and full of promise than say, “I can’t tonight, I’m busy” and actually fill the promise of what you are capable of being. It is easier to go out on a Tuesday for a dinner that someone buys you than one you have to make yourself. An activity that may involve chopping onions that could makes you tear up. Guess what? Get a pair of sunglasses on and chop those damn things up. Things taste better with some work put into them. Even if you cry a little bit.
The road to all of what I want is very far from where I am right now; a warm but haphazardly decorated an apartment in Toronto, Ontario, sitting in my ex-boyfriend’s tapered black sweatpants, picking at my undercooked gluten free noodles and slightly overcooked chicken dish, listening to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and wondering if she’ll ever take off her crazy pants and get back to her glory days. Perhaps I should focus less on Lauryn’s long gone glory days and focus on making my own.