“Prioritize your energy flow,” said a friend recently. “Deep down, you know that you can do anything you want to do.”
I am a pretty intense person. Sometimes I feel as though someone needs to lock me in a cage.
I like to play with fire—literally. Five minutes ago, I burned my thumb melting Crayolas onto a canvas. For eight years I was a proud cigarette smoker. As of late, there is always incense in my apartment.
I’ve always gone with the flow because I knew that I’d figure it out. My memoir will be titled “Wingin’ It.”
Fear of failure? Yeah, right. After you become accustomed to fighting a battle, it’s nerve wracking when things go your way.
I’ve always been great of two things: the art of entertaining and self-sabotaging. Throughout my childhood I pursued acting, earning bit parts in grade school plays and at my theatre camp every summer. I’d practice my Academy Award speech in front of the mirror for hours. Hellbent I was on becoming a star.
However, one semester I enrolled in a class at the Chicago Park District. It was for child actors interested in auditioning for commercials, TV and film. I was jazzed and ready to knock my competitors out of the park. These fools don’t know what’s about to hit them.
And then I froze. I was going through puberty and my one-and-only awkward faze. My formerly lithe frame looked larger on camera (screw those ten pounds) and I totally freaked. I became more concerned about my waistline than developing my craft. I couldn’t handle casting directors scrutinizing my every move.
The path I had envisioned took a totally different turn.
So I dove deep into visual art, a hobby of mine since birth. Weekends with my father were spent drawing in his studio. Like myself, he creates spontaneously and passionately. While music is his true love, he has explored a variety of careers throughout his lifetime including cartoonist, painter, and journalist.
I’ve always felt like I have a mild case of ADD and am constantly looking for a rock to cling onto.
At Lane Tech College Prep high school I found solace as an art major. During our three-hour studio sessions, my classmates and I bonded. We were angry, lost and looking for something to productively channel our frustrations into. We’d carve our wounds into a piece of paper with a #4H pencil, sculpt the shit out of a pile of clay, and lose ourselves while trying to replicate a still life. In those rooms I made some of my best friends and worst enemies. As much as I wanted to improve, I found my teachers’ criticisms unbearable.
The first time I received a D on a self-portrait I went into an almost catatonic state of shock. Next, I received a C on a photography project after refusing to follow the guidelines. Lastly, I was assigned to detention for mouthing off to my teacher. (Stupidest punishment ever because in-school detention is a party!) What the hell was going on with me?! Around this time I realized that A) I can be a real asshole B) I have a huge ego and C) There are lots of people who are way more prolific than me.
So once again, I threw in the towel. The second I graduated, I shoved my portfolio underneath my bed. As it collected dust bunnies I began working on my writing career. And off we went.
It’s liberating to see where you could have done things better and, at the same time, realize it’s all a predestined path. I’ve never really wondered if I could have been a famous actress. Visual art is now my therapy that I do solely for myself. As one of my favorite writing subjects used to say, I found my thing.
However, if you told me five years ago that I’d be where I am today I’d have responded, you’re fucking nuts.