No Sugar Coats

It’s been almost five months since I’ve had the courage to sit here and write. My last update was supposedly an epiphany that was going to rock my world and change the game. Let me be frank: it changed nothing.

After publishing my last post, I went on to work on my first big project. In January, I premiered a dance film entirely co-created by myself and Talia Koylass entitled WHITE NOISE. In three months we choreographed, rehearsed, shot, directed, edited and premiered a 12-minute dance film. I was incredibly proud to work on this film because I was creating something with my best friend for a group of girls that really mean a lot to me.

You wouldn’t exactly know this though, because I never wrote about it.

As the project came and went and I didn’t feel any differently about myself, the same sadness and confusion I’ve been feeling for months started seeping back in before I could say a word. That film was supposed to prove to me that I could create the life I wanted and fight off any doubts I had. That film was supposed to make me believe in myself. It didn’t.

So… I haven’t sat down to write in almost five months. In those five months I’ve:

  • Quit my work/study position
  • Finished recruitment season at ChiArts
  • Reached a pause in my workload for my freelance gig
  • Lost my laptop to hard-drive failure
  • Begun choreographing a piece for 41 teenagers
  • Applied for two grants/fellowships (receiving neither)
  • Helped my friends with their projects (which yes, are more successful than mine)
  • Gained ~10 pounds (and been completely stressed out about it)
  • Been working with an *exciting* team for my upcoming leap into entrepreneurship
  • Performed for the first time post-grad at an event with my two best friends

In the past day I’ve realized:

  • I rely on accomplishments and achievements to prove to others (read: myself) that I can do things, not because I actually believe in myself

I can fully comprehend that I need faith, perseverance and determination to be the creator I know I can be; and I am so ashamed to admit that I can fight to the death with and for others, but I can’t do it for myself. I wake up every single morning and instead of being motivated to chase my dreams, I’m ridden with guilt by the fact that I can’t find it in me to do what is necessary to make the dreams on my vision wall a reality and I don’t know why.

Shame, guys. Honest to God embarrassment because I feel lesser than my peers and more importantly, lesser than the version of myself I want to be… lesser than the woman I thought I was.

I want you to know that as I am writing this, I am literally trying to weasel myself out of my truth with very sound logic. Yes, I am aware that I am a talented artist. It is definitely a huge achievement that I received my degree with a 3.8 GPA and Distinction. I’ve been afforded countless opportunities ranging from touring Brazil and being on the hiring committee for a faculty hire to speaking at open houses and perspective students because I am talented, honest, and trustworthy. I know that it’s not unlikely for artists to feel down on themselves sometimes and I definitely know that I’ll “get through this storm.” Sure, I’m good enough. I’ll figure it out! I have to put myself out there. Keep going! Yeah, just decide to change my reality if I don’t like it.

But these words don’t take away from the crushing feelings that I experience when I look in the mirror and see someone that isn’t proud of herself and doesn’t truly believe in her abilities. They don’t erase the guilt I feel for never following through on the promises I make to myself. They don’t ease my neurotic thoughts about my body that cripple me into cycles of poor eating, poor thinking; lather, rinse, repeat.

There aren’t enough material things, job opportunities, or events in my calendar to bury the fact that it’s not about what I do anymore. It’s about who I am.

I keep wanting these outside influences to make me change my mind about the fact that I don’t like who I am. I want someone else to deal with it, so I hide behind other people and their projects, their dreams, and their wants for me. I believe in myself through their eyes, but I don’t have that same vision when I use my own.

For the first time in my life, I really only have myself to rely on. There’s nowhere else to run. There are no more tests, assignments, and mandatory performances. It’s all about what I want with my life and I’m constantly stunned into a stupor that stops me from creating work that matters to me, dreaming big for myself, and honestly imagining living in a world that I create for myself of my own volition because I genuinely believe I deserve it.

And I don’t know what to do.

There isn’t an upbeat way for me to wrap this up that doesn’t feel like a lie. I just wanted to admit that I’m not my best self and I don’t know how to be. I just wanted to admit that I want to be. If you’re reading this, know that this is about more than wanting to be told that I’m good enough because honestly, you saying it doesn’t mean that I’ll believe it.

But thank you in advance for your willingness to try and understand me, connect with me, and support me. It really means the world to me.


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