I am liking her. Can’t wait to see who she becomes.
Thoughts and feelings usually lead me to rambling. I’ve been having lots of thoughts and feelings. Here is a ramble, bear with me.
When you grow up poor, the only thing you can ever think about is not being poor. You watch your immigrant mother who fought her way to America, struggle to reach the American Dream. You go to school with these kids whose parents have jobs that pay them enough to live that middle class life. They know nothing of the life you lead away from school. Being a poor kid, the only thing you can think about is not being poor. When you’re a poor kid, you simply don’t get to enjoy the simplicity of childhhood. New clothes for school? No. Nice packaged school lunch? Nope. The only time you’ll eat a good breakfast is at school if your bus makes in on time. Big trip to DC with the rest of the class? Don’t even think about it. Even when your parents think you don’t know the struggle, you hear the tears and frustration as they wonder how they’ll pay for rent this month. You try to be grateful for the things you have because your mother is working hard to maintain a roof over your head. But this life is hard. You tell yourself that it won’t be this hard forever because this is America and dreams come true here.
You’re given these set of rules that society has laid out in order for you to make something of yourself. You go to school and get good grades. Get into college, then get a job, buy a house and get a 401k. In the midst of that, you meet someone and settle down. You go to Disney World in the summers and have bountiful Holidays. It’s all perfect. You’re living in the land of the free. But it’s actually not that simple. This country makes it hard for poor kids to reach that dream of Middle Class wonder.
I’ve kind of always known since I was a little girl that I wanted to make movies. I love storytelling. I tried to tell myself that I could be so many other things when I grew up. Every time I would try to convince myself of a different career path, I would always say “I can play that on TV” or “I’ll write that.” There was a time when I thought I would go straight and narrow. I would get a safe job, I would be a lawyer. That lasted about a year before I was running back to a stage. Being a poor kid who wants to be an actor seems impossible at times. Trust, when I say that no actress or actor wants to be working in a restaurant when their college degree is collecting cobwebs. You’re working paycheck to paycheck hoping and praying that you’re able to pay rent. You work those jobs because it leaves you the flexibility to audition and work on projects that will lead to filmmaking being the thing that pays the bills. The cost of trying to make it doesn’t add up if you don’t have the money. Headshots, Acting Classes, Camera equipments and simply trying to survive. I have two group of actor friends and the divide between us could not be more evident. I have the friends who have the families who support them financially and it allows them to go after their dreams. They can spend their days working on their content because the rent is paid for. On the other side, I have the friends who grew up poor like me and are struggling to make it everyday while the dreams start becoming secondary. It’s hard to worry about paying for a $500 acting class when you have to keep a roof over your head and there’s no one to call to help out. Why are Acting classes so expensive? Why? Why are people charging actors so much for Headshots? You have to work a bunch of dead end soul sucking jobs when you really just want to be at that audition. It’s expensive to be poor. It’s expensive to be a poor working artist.
This country sets up the poor to remain poor. You’re told to go to college to make something of your life and acheived that middle class dream. If you don’t get grants and scholarships, you have to get student loans. Loans that will hunt you for the rest of your life and make it seem like you’re drowning. You’re drowning and you’re being pull down every time you think you’re going to break free. Sallie Mae, I can’t do nothing for you. You’re told to get a good job. Ok, but no one is hiring so I guess I’ll go work at this restaurant until someone is hiring. Or, I’m an actress and I can’t exactly get a job at some office because I have to audition. As an actress, you have to prepare yourself that it’ll probably be years before you start working. But, there’s the bills- they never stop. You got to move to NY or LA to work in this business but the cost of living in these cities are so ridiculous. Why is the rent so damn high? It’s like a maze. You keep on busting your ass but you keep finding yourself back at square one.
Working a soul sucking job that I’m overqualified for, paying student loans, paying ridiculous amount in LA rent, headshots, acting/improv classes and the list goes on- it’s expensive to be this poor.
The one thing I know how to do is survive.
I was just told that I’ve been a shitty friend these past 2 years. That hurts. That seriously is like a dagger to be heart. I want to curl up in a ball and hide. I always prided myself on being a good person, good sister, daughter and friend. I never want to be a shitty friend. I never want to be a shitty person. It’s eye opening when you discover who you really are. We always have a perception of who we are and the way we behave. I thought I was doing okay in that department. I thought I was being a good person to the people around me. I thought wrong. Until someone points it out to you, you’ll never see the truth. I guess my New Years Resolution is not to be a shitty friend anymore. Sorry if I’ve been a shitty friend to you.
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes.’
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
“Sooner or later, we all go through a crucible. I’m guessing yours was that island. Most believe there are two types of people who go into a crucible. The ones who become stronger from the experience and survive it, and the ones who die. But there’s a third type. The ones who learn to love the fire and choose to stay in their crucible because it’s easier to embrace the pain when it’s all you know anymore.”
This is from Arrow, Season 2, episode 4.
I am currently going through a Crucible. I wonder which one I fall into it. I’ll let you know.