Taking Risks For All Of Us
Caroline Conrad
11

Onward

The aftermath of a loss.

When I wrote this essay, I could never have known what would happen with SRSLY. We could never have predicted our fate because it was like a goddamn natural disaster — violent, sudden, and completely out of our control. A high-profile criminal heist isn’t an act of God, it’s an act of selfish, greedy people, but it hit us like a flash fucking flood all the same. It rushed over us, destroyed the home that had we built, drowned us in panic and devastation, but it couldn’t wash away the foundations of our company — the dream we shared, the dream we still share, will not be broken down.

In the aftermath of a massive theft, SRSLY was forced to dissolve. It’s been difficult (impossible) for me to write about this at any length; I was too preoccupied trying to keep my head above water to truly process what was happening around me.

Partners who go through a traumatic experience together tend to go one of two ways: the grief either lashes them together and binds them to one another inseparably, or it becomes a violent, silent wedge that drives them apart as each tries to cope with the loss without burdening the other. Unfortunately, for a while, Claire and I fell into the latter category.

There was a lot of guilt and embarrassment and just utter fucking despondency. There was no one to blame after we tired of blaming the thieves, so we each blamed ourselves and hid from each other, shrinking back in fear we had failed one another. She was so busy trying to save us both and protect me from the fall-out, but I was already crushed beneath the rubble, searching for a hand to pull me out. I called for help too meekly, and my cry was lost in the chaos of the scene.

It took some time — too much — but eventually I found my voice and we found each other again, brought back together as we finally allowed ourselves to grieve our shared loss. We’re still mourning, but we’re mourning together now, helping each other find the broken pieces of our shattered dream and fitting them to new blueprints, building new futures. We will help each other lay the pieces and fit the bricks together, but independently. Claire and I can never recreate the exact home we were building with SRSLY, as it was — but we can take the foundations and use them to create new plans for not just a home, but a whole neighborhood.

SRSLY is no longer operating as a production company, but we are still building a community. I will keep making films with, for, and about women, keep collaborating, keep encouraging girls to get into film, keep the dream behind SRSLY alive. For a couple months, I thought this flood had washed away everything I’d built but I’ve realized, with Claire’s help, I am what I built — I am the foundation, not the money or the insurance or the office. I’m still here and I’m never going to stand down again. I’ll keep working and keep fighting for women in and through film until we’re finally given the opportunities and respect we deserve — until we’re finally taken seriously.