Scoping out new blogs to follow, one lazy afternoon, I came accross this article. I read it, and sat before my laptop for a moment. I thought. My hand strayed up to my mouth and a fingernail was pressed between my teeth for a moment, before I reminded myself that biting your nails is a bad, bad habit and it took my father years to get out of it. So instead I shove my cold hands under my thighs. I'll have diamond shapes on my palms later, from the embossed fabric of the chair, but my circulation is a bit poor so the warmth is worth it. I realise I'm totally distracting myself from answering the question that this article poses. But that's exactly what I do if I'm confronting with a question about The Future, or even a question with Where My Life Is Headed Right Now.
Honestly I'm not too sure if I'm doing what I "should" be doing. I mean, yeah, I'm building up knowledge and skills in my chosen industry plus back-up plan (which means I'm doing English, fortified with Media and Journalism), I'm meeting some cool people whose interests and skills complement my own and who have actual contacts in the Aussie entertainment world, and I'm working my little grey cells every day, developing my ideas and exposing myself to new ones. I have a job which pays well, and it's a pleasant environment to work in and it's teaching me about people. Even with all this, I still can't help but feel like I should be doing... more. Saving more money. Eating more healthy food. Excercising more. Volunteering with charities, and doing menial jobs in places I might work in, in the not-too-distant future. Thinking about what suburb I want to live in (my boyfriend asked me that the other day. My response was to 'do a rabbit' for about five seconds before blurting out, "Are you seriously wanting me to answer that? Like, now?!")
As I said to my friend the other day, as we were doing the rounds of comic book shops in the city: "It's weird being twenty. When you're fifteen, or seventeen, even eighteen - twenty is like, this time where you'll be mature, you'll be settled into adulthood, you'll have a plan for your life. People start thinking about marriage, careers and kids at twenty. They put deposits down on houses and engagement rings, they move inter-state for work and education. That's the picture I have of twenty, but I'm twenty now, and I'm not doing any of those things. I'm barely even thinking about any of those things! I don't feel twenty. I'm scared of the thought of applying for insurance, I feel way too immature to be thinking about marriage. I still don't know how long I'll have a 'day job' for before I can get into media. It's so weird, and actually quite hard to think about."
Maybe being in university is a distraction. I don't know. I do know that I love being there, stretching my own view of the world, and Art, and history. Learning to express myself beyond rambling on Facebook and over coffee. Figuring out exactly how hard it is to be published, to be recognised, to be respected creatively, to be given the resources to create, and realising that my passion and my drive isn't daunted by that harshness, that rough reality check, that realisation. If anything, I was made more determined to tell my stories, to bring out the good in people that they overlook because of the stink bombs life's thrown their way.
I know I have a problem with spending - a lot of it is stuff I feel invested in and passionate about. That's the downside of falling for so many indie projects! I feel bad NOT buying because I'm so invested in the creative process, and the face behind the 'thing'. I relate to them because not so long ago they were Like Me, floundering through ordinary life clutching a hope that one day they'd be able to share their passion. I'm a sucker for all things indie - make-up, jewelry, comics, books, music, webisodes. It's hard to pace myself when it's all clamouring for my intellectual, emotional and financial attention. I know I need to be more disciplined in this area. It's so easy for me to over-indulge because I live at home. I don't have to worry about shit like electricity, water, insurance, rent. I don't even have to worry about petrol and car servicing, because I take public transport and bum rides (not that that's always a picnic either).
Socially, I've always had ups and downs. I've always had betrayals and secret rivalries. I've always had the nagging fear of "are they really interested in me, do they really like me or are they just playing along? Can I trust them or will they spill all my secrets to somebody else?" I have to balance my introverted personality - it's a delicate process. Not enough 'me time' and I become irritable, grumpy and tired. However, if I spend too much time alone I get lethargic, depressed, antisocial and it gets ridiculously hard to leave the house.
At the beginning of this year, I wanted to push myself. "I'll excercise ten minutes every day," I said firmly. "After a few months I'll start doing more." I had creative goals, too - "I'll start submitting things to magazines! Photographs, short stories and articles". I recognised that this would be a harder goal, both with finding a magazine suitable for my work, and making sure I didn't slack off uni assignments to do my creative stuff. "Once a month". That was my benchmark. It's nearly the end of June as I write this. Number of submissions so far: Zero. Bit fat zilch. I got sucked into the university theatre club. It chewed me up and spat me out. I retreated quickly, and nursed my wounds for a bit. I organised JulNoWriMo as an endeavour part creative, part social, and part therapeutic since I've been unable to look my 2008 NaNoWriMo novel in the eye without wanting to puke. I know it was about quantity, not quality, but dear god I can write awfully! I tentatively put my feelers out towards the theatre society of another university, missing theatre far too much to cold turkey quit, after eight years of breathing-eating-sleeping the darn thing. I've promised everyone I know not to go behind the curtain, that's where I fall in over my head. I'm only auditioning for this and if I don't get a part, it'll be a shrug and "oh well, it was a bit of a trip for me anyway".
I guess what I'm trying to say here is that... I'm still growing. I'm still learning about me, I'm still maturing as a person. In this world, things can and do change drastically every day. Why then, should I hold myself to such a rigid standard of "this is what I'll do, this is what I'll be like by then"? I need to learn to be consistent, yes, but I have to retain a good deal more flexibility of the generations before me. I haven't found that balance yet. I get caught up in the currents too much. I see that now, and seeing is the first step.
I'm scared of disappointing people. I'm scared of not being good enough. But it's an excuse, isn't it? An excuse not to try. And excuse to stay on the internet for another hour. To buy yet another comic book to lose myself in. I may not be the 'twenty' I was expecting, all the way back there as a seventeen-year-old, exhilarated and terrifed at the thought of Life After Graduation, that exotic and foreign land with so many rules I'd have to learn, but I can make my own twenty. I can build a vision of twenty-one that is both realistic and challenging. Somewhere that's far enough ahead of where I am now that I have to work for it - not so far that I'll fall desperately short and curse myself for not being good enough, yet again.
For many years of my life, it was "I want to write a book". That was it, that was the dream. Then I got into theatre. It swept me away. Novel-writing is lonely, anyone can tell you that. But writing for stage, for screen, fleshing out these people who will BE flesh in front of your eyes... it's comforting, and I loved it. It confused me, also, because I wasn't sure if the pristine pages of a book were where I wanted to end up. Then I got into non-fiction writing, and journalism, and got even more confused. Was I meant to tell 'real' stories, instead of the ones in my head? Was I supposed to search for external truth, not 'my' truth? I felt as if I had to pick, and soon! "Uni will help," I said. "I'll figure it out before I graduate, at least". But... Rob Kaay, damn him, had to go and write a book which he is podcasting and making a movie out of. Felicia Day's webseries has a comic prequel, and Joss Whedon's jumped on the bandwagon. I truly believe that trans-media is not only more acceptable but so much more possible. Now I don't know if I "have" to choose any more!
Whatever the outcome, I know I need to refine my storytelling skills, and I need to learn the art of 'finishing'. NaNo and JulNo have been wonderful at that. NanNo '08 I finished my first ever written project. After that, I was able to write two stage plays, one of which was performed and I had the dubious privelage of directing. I also need to get better at... life. At being a responsible adult, biting the bullet and sifting through the heinous amounts of paperwork that They have decided are neccessary for our livelihoods, now. Poor trees.
Tl;dr and so personal! If you read anything, read the article I linked.
Shorter posts, and praise of artists already established are incoming.
If you read all that... thank you and I'm sorry!