public journal entry 02
One year ago I was right at the beginning of the most harrowing eight months of my life so far. Everything that I had ever done in my life, every decision, every dream, every goal had been one step towards that point. From the first time I picked up a crayon and began to draw maps and heroes from imaginary worlds in my head. From when I learned to write, rushing home after school every day to write stories and hiding the notebooks under my bed, away from everyone. I have always been a storyteller. My undergraduate senior thesis film had been the most important project I had ever worked on in my life.
Those eight months had been in service of one singular goal, to produce something that I was proud of.
Make the most important film of your life. Edited. Screened. Done.
What then? …and what now?
Everything that I had went into the completion of my film and now that it was finished I felt as though I was left with nothing. Wrapped up in my own stress about what I was doing I had alienated the few friends I had. I was left with no interpersonal relationships, no experience of love or intimacy, and no inspiration for the next project.
Drive is important. Aspirations and goals are vital to our existence, but if that is all you are living for are you living for now or are you living for some far off version of yourself? A version of yourself who may not even have the same desires as you do in today. A version of yourself who finds himself standing alone. What do you have when you have accomplished your goals? When you win, who can you share your victory with? That is a hard lesson to learn at twenty-two… and maybe a story for another day.
This stream of consciousness entry is about self.
I didn’t realize that I would be facing so much personal and professional uncertainty. Or maybe I did know. Maybe I just didn’t know what it would feel like.
I spent the the entire summer after graduation depressed and uninspired. I had isolated myself, no, exiled myself to dwell in my own anxiety. For months I did not create, did not write, I barely ate or left the house. I’m told that it is common for post-grads to face uncertainty and depression, my mistake however was letting it consume and isolate me. If anyone else, especially artists, find themselves sinking into a similar experience, here is my advice:
- Do not invalidate yourself for how you are feeling.
- Write down how you feel.
- Read it.
- Read it again.
- Read it until it inspires you.
Turn your pain, your uncertainty, your anger , your sadness, your existential dread into something constructive. “It’s easier to steer a ship that’s moving,” were the words I began to live by. That was my goal. To push myself to get things moving forward, if even at a crawl.
So much of my anger and anxiety came out of feeling stuck somewhere. What was I doing about it by laying on the couch wrapped in my duvet binging The Office and some Norwegian teen drama over and over? Nothing. I was only further cementing myself in place. I had lost sight of my goals for my future. Of who I wanted to be. I had sunken into a depression and uncertainty about who I was that my only goal was to live to see another day. To live to see myself inspired again.
Don’t let yourself lose track of who you are or what you want in life. Your goals are the basis of who you are. Your goals and what motivates you are the backbone to every decision you make. What you are stiving for everyday, what motivates you, what you want to happen for yourself, and what you do to make it happen all pours out of you. What you want and who you want to become can be felt by everyone around you.
We also validate ourselves through maintaining and fulfilling our goals. There is little more validating to me than being secure in my own desires. Knowing that you are working towards something and that this goal is achievable for you is validating.
This part is mostly for creatives and artists, but I think there could be something here for anyone, embedded between the lines.
The world we live in will try to invalidate your creativity. You have to work everyday to remain steadfast in some belief that art is what separates us from the animals. I believe that our individuality in our creativity is valuable despite society’s failed attempts to quantify it. When an artist loses confidence in the individuality and power of their voice, they lose themselves. I struggled with this especially. After school I struggled to have faith in my talents. I am still struggling to practice every day, to make myself sure that my artistic voice is worth maintaining. I struggle to find a place for my art in my new life. It is difficult to make myself remember how alive I felt when I was working on my film and the high that came out of seeing its successful completion. Because I wasn’t motivated to write, I became afraid of the idea that I had fallen out of love with the only thing I was ever good at.
I think anyone can relate to this uncertainty and to what uncertainty in one’s own talents can lead to. Out of the uncertainty I became afraid that I had fallen out of love with myself. Don’t allow that to happen. Don’t work hard towards one goal, come out successful, and then doubt yourself. You don’t deserve that. I didn’t deserve that.
There’s a lot to unpack here, but if any of this strikes you let it be this conclusion.
Regardless of where you are, you are an artist (or whatever it says you are on your degree). You worked hard for that and you earned it. Don’t lose faith in yourself. Whether your larger faith lies in a higher power or in science, nothing in this universe happens by accident. You aren’t here by mistake, you did not choose the wrong path if it was chosen in order to follow something you love. Do what you love every day, even if it doesn’t fit perfectly into your life as it is right now. Our passions and our desires pour out of us every day, to everyone we meet.
Let it flow freely.