I am an African American Female. On most days, both of those parts of my identity would fill me with a great sense of pride. Being apart of a culture so rich and a gender so powerful often made me feel like a superhero. There's a resilience that comes innately. Nothing is handed to you, nothing is free, but somehow, we turn negative into positive and use that force constantly pushing against us as fuel.
Aside from my physicality and ethnic makeup, I am also: a Christian, a daughter, a creative, a filmmaker, a friend, a sister, a hard worker, and an educated human being. Somehow though, at my place of employment...the place where I spend more time than anywhere else, I have been reduced to nothing more than the black girl that can only do one type of thing. I heard this amazing line in a beautiful hip hop verse this morning by Maimouna Youssef, "Sometimes being a woman is like being black twice." If that's not THE TRUEST STORY every told, then I don't know what is.
I have worked for this network of companies for almost five and a half years, with three of those years spent within the four walls at this particular agency. During my time in this building, I have had four supervisors and shifted desks more times than I can remember. I have also exceeded the expectations set for me by producing excellent work. Even with the small, and I do mean very small victories that I've had along the way, working here has left me physically and emotionally spent. Recently, I started having panic attacks in the morning and general heaviness at night thinking about what ignorance I'll have to face the next day. I've had to defend my work, constantly prove myself and speak on behalf of my race way too often. Human Resources has gotten involved, to no avail, in addition to a conversation with the CCO about certain departmental issues.
I AM EXHAUSTED!
What I can't seem to comprehend is...WHAT MAKES THEM BETTER? What makes you always choose, root for and position my younger, less experienced white co-workers? What is it about my excellence that threatens your position? Am I supposed to shrink? Am I supposed to submit to your inaccurate opinion of me, formed simply because of the color of my skin or my hairstyle? Am I supposed to put smiley faces and hearts in my emails to make them appear "less aggressive"? Your ignorance is not my cross to bare, yet somehow, I always get caught holding on to things that aren't mine.
I see no changes taking place in the immediate or distant future, just lip service. Even now, I feel like a case is being built against me...a pushing out, down...away.
I'd like to think that this will ALL be worth it in the end; that I'll eat the meat and spit out the bones of the mess being put on my plate and transfer that into some great knowledge or revelation for my future business. There's also a major part of me that doesn't believe that will happen. I have faith, but I'm also REELISTIC (hince the name of my blog). I'm not sure what lesson there is for me to learn here, other than..."Don't let these people break you." As of right now, I'm still in one piece, but getting weaker by the the minute.
It's been several weeks since I've written anything. Once again, life got in the way of focusing on personal endeavors. But, I can gladly say that I've been "good busy". My role has changed at work, yet again lol. I've been producing shoots left and right and enjoying every minute of it...well, for the most part lol. Of course I'm exhausted and STILL need some sort of...wait what's the term?...VACATION, but I'm giving my all with God's help until that break finally comes.
One thing I've learned is that when I don't allow myself time to pursue my passions, pieces of my soul slowly fade away. Ok, ok I'm being dramatic but you get the point lol. That being said, I've recently been researching Master's programs. So far I found one at Northwestern that I'm REALLY interested in. For a long time I thought the possibility of me getting a Master's degree was very slim. It was always something I had wanted during my first go around at undergrad, but then, as time marched on and bills piled sky high, I let the dream fade WAY in to the background.
I'm now inspired again, and hoping to pursue this endeavor sooner than later. This time around though, I have a fresher perspective of the world around me, a deeper sense of self, and an expanded knowledge of what God wants to do in my life. I'm forever grateful for God's timing. I had everything mapped out, but He knows the course my life should take better than anyone. I trust Him to lead me on the right path, as He always has. Either way, I'm excited about the possibility of furthering my education, preferably for FREE!! Lol
"Many people have lost their calling trying to save their profession." Eric Butler
Authentic - true to ones own personality, spirit, or character; not false or imitation
Authenticity - the quality of being authentic; genuineness
So, if you read my last post, you know that I haven't written ANYthing in a very long time. That being said, I'm finding it difficult to express the thoughts and actions of my characters in a realistic way.
I came across an article (link below) that really helped me put this in to perspective. It described in depth 5 ways to get into the mind of a character:
- Method Screenwriting - "[our] work is the door that is presented to the actors while the actors have the task of opening that door to explore further."
- Research - hearing from people who have actually lived through those situations
- Atmosphere - having a sense of the locations in which your script is set elevates your storytelling
- Imagination - "Only when you truly know your characters can you possibly write about how they react to any given situation or conflict that you throw at them. That’s what makes cinematic characters believable."
- Acting - "Written words aren't always cinematic..." Make them believe it!
I'm convinced that NONE of the above is possible unless you are absolutely honest with...you. Thus, authenticity is KEY! How can I expect my characters to open up to one another or work through their inner conflicts if I refuse to do the same?! 'Writing is rewriting' - very true. I also believe that writing is walking down a very dark hallway full of memories you wish you could forget and feelings you swore you'd NEVER allow yourself to feel again. When executed from a genuine place, it can be the most raw, yet beautiful expression of the writers heart. It's healing, it's freeing, and it's what the story deserves.
Whether your script is heavily dramatic, comical or somewhere in between, it's your duty as a writer to carry that story to full term and deliver a healthy, bouncing baby. And after you've birthed that authentic story, you and everyone else around you will fall in love at first read, and all of the discomfort of stretching yourself emotionally will disappear! (Or so I've heard lol) You might even choose to take another trip down that hallway and see where other memories might lead you. Either way, there are stories locked inside of you waiting to be told!
"Feel the fear and do it anyway."
For someone who used to write religiously, a 3 year creative lag can be a devastating thing. I would get ideas for scenes all the time...during meetings, while driving, at the mall, you name it. And then all of a sudden, the well was DRY. Now of course I could take the easy way out and chalk this time up to the hustle and bustle of everyday life ("adulting" can be hard lol), but I knew it was bigger than that.
Boredom and sheer discontentment with life can be very dangerous territory for an imaginative vessel. It's hard to create characters and scenarios that evoke audience emotion out of thin air if you yourself have become numb to the vibrance that life has to offer. Once I came to terms with the fact that I had spiraled in to a deep depression, it was easier to pick out the right shovel, however small at the time, to slowly dig myself out.
On Tuesday, March 29th, I started to write again! (I consider this to be a miracle)
Slowly but surely, I'm finding my voice. Characters and scenes are manifesting themselves on the page for the first time in a LONG time and I couldn't be more excited! A good friend of mine sent me the above quote around that time, and it couldn't be more accurate. Part of the devastation during this time was the fact that I knew there had to be stories swirling around in my head, but somewhere along the line, I made the choice to not let them breathe. In turn, suffocating those voices...suffocated me.
This is not to say that my life has all of a sudden become worthy of a People magazine or TMZ feature, but I'm more determined than ever to find and savor those magical moments.
And just like that...I'm AWAKE! #grateful