“I think you should talk about it,” my lead assistant said to me in our team meeting.
“It” is how we’re all feeling.
As if there is *one* feeling we share.
Hell, maybe there is. Powerlessness?
I don’t know.
But I quickly pushed away from the idea for several reasons.
One: I once had a business partner who actually bought into a very common Internet marketing tactic of upping the sales machine when bad things happened in the world. So much so that he created a “Hurricane Katrina sale” for his actor coaching services. This idea that “people are scared and need something to believe in, so let’s sell them the thing we already do and wrap it up in our caring for the bad thing that has happened in the world” is not new, not unique to this former partner of mine, and not ever something you’ll see me touching. It’s disgusting. And if you’re into that, you’re also motivated by those who sell to the pain, activate your FOMO, and otherwise assume you’re too stupid to see through such manipulation.
And I guess it works or people wouldn’t keep doing it. I suppose there’s comfort in manipulation the same way there’s comfort in ice cream. When we feel out of control, we can be very vulnerable to tactics. That’s why I’m allergic to using them; I know their power.
Two: I’m a successful well-educated white woman who basically lives in Mayberry. Sure, I’m from Atlanta and grew up eating government-funded lunch and wearing hand-me-downs from my cousins while learning how to double-dutch after school in the projects, but I now live in a quiet home at the beach in a place people travel from all over the world just to visit. Every day, I get to empower artists and creatives who want to transform the world with their stories. I surround myself with brilliant, creative storytellers who know what we as a society are capable of and that means I rarely have any exposure to the deepest pain, the ugliest hate, the strongest contrast that exists out there.
And even though I may find contrast plopped nearly in my lap due to where I live and the proximity to so many hot-running emotions, at the end of the day, I am safe. When I feel out of control, I can take my vulnerability inside, fill the bathtub with bubbles from Lush, blast the Abraham-Hicks MP3s, and escape. I don’t have to idle in a place of pain. I have choices.
Three: No one asked to intersect with me because of what I have to say about society, about extreme examples of things that make me feel powerless, or about my feeling of powerlessness at times. My *function* in the lives of 99% of the people who fall into my orbit is simple. They’d say my job comes down to this: Help me get work as a storyteller and help me find joy along the journey.
And the Internet is full — dare I say overfull — of opinionated blowhards asserting their every thought about what’s going on. The last thing anyone needs is someone else saying, “I feel your pain” or “I’m confused too” or “I’m sorry” or “This isn’t the best of who we can be, we human beings.” EVERYONE KNOWS THAT. And what good does my set of words about something that *everyone* is feeling pain about do?
As with all big LIFE issues that lead to those big, searching questions I ask myself from time to time, I came around to what I always do, “How can I serve?”
And as with all big LIFE issues that lead to that question, the answer remains: “Help storytellers tell these stories. They’ve never been more important.”
That means in order to best serve, I have to talk about this.
As I’ve had to remind myself A LOT recently, our work as storytellers has never been more important. Because we have the best shot at changing the world. Not through our rage — although that has its place; not through our donations to causes — although those are necessary; not through our attempts to use persuasion on those who are determined to stay stuck in their ways of thinking — although debating jackasses on the Internet may feel really good sometimes (like popping a zit maybe?), but through our stories. Through our interpretation of history, our creation of realities that don’t exist, our ability to transport others — others who don’t HAVE the creativity to use their words, their hearts, their vision to create change — we create that change. For everyone.
You don’t have to believe your ability to hit your mark and say your lines is life-changing when it’s “just one line” and you’re working on a copy-credit-meals indie project no one will ever see. When we’re feeling powerless about anything, it’s easy to lean into OTHER places where powerlessness exists. But *I* know even that one-liner in an indie is all a part of something that is very much life-changing. ART.
And it’s part of our power.
Lean into the love you have for what you do — creating art, creating change — and don’t take the hate bait. I know it’s tempting. I know emotions run hot. I also know channeling them into something as powerful and as creative and as FREEING as the art we were put on this planet to create not only feels fantastic… it has the potential to change *everything* around us. For generations to come.
Thirsty Third Thursday is this week and it’s happening in Los Angeles *and* New York this month! Maybe London soon? I love keeping up with these pockets of the world in which ninjas gather regularly! (New York, you know I’m coming to see y’all next month! CANNOT WAIT!) Please, wherever you are, be safe, be positive, and be filled with celebration for your gifts — your EVERY project is your vehicle for sharing those gifts with the world. No matter how small the role, no matter how indie the project.
You’re healing this damn planet, y’all.
Never never never never stop.