Last night I couldn't sleep. I'm coming up on my first day school very soon; orientation starts a week from today. I have been so ready and excited, but the last few days have been filled with something I can't quite put my finger on. Anxiety...? Maybe in the way that people who don't have anxiety medication feel when something new like this comes up. Not overwhelming, but always in the back of your mind.
Today I spent a lot of time working on organizing my sewing studio. We were lucky enough to snag a relatively large sized apartment in Astoria (1000 square feet!) with not one, but two bedrooms. This way I will have a space that is completely my own for all my projects. In our old apartment(s) whenever I had a sewing project it would slowly escalate, taking over the entire house by the time I was done. The current plan is that everything will be very organized in my new space so that I can keep it out of the rest of the house/out of disarray.
Unfortunately, since I was pretty much depressed for the last two years, organization hasn't been on the top of my list. Stuff was EVERYWHERE. I spent almost a month before the move going through all my possessions and liquidating, reorganizing, and rehoming many things. Unfortunately this process was not completed before moving, so I had put a lot of things in "to be organized" boxes. I am finally getting through everything now, thank the goddesses.
In this process I realized I had duplicates of lots of items because things were in so many different places. For example, I have 5 exacto knives and about 40 extra blades for them. I have about 10 rolls of quarter inch black elastic. And about 5 kajillion pens.
My husband and my houseguest were impressed with my progress today which makes me feel great. It's nice to see this creative space coming together. I still have a corner of things to go through, but I *should* have it all taken care of by next week.
It's been important to me to feel 100% moved in by the time I start school. We've been in NYC for officially 6 weeks, and you could say that I should have been done by now, but we all know that's not how it works when you move cross-country . I didn't want to rush getting used to living here either. But I have definitely had a little last minute panic about being mentally ready to start school (calm down Kristi, you still have 2 weeks). I don't want to have to worry about where things are in case I get slammed with schoolwork. Many times when working on freelance costuming I found that I only had time for commissions or organizing, not both. Part of the "New Kristi" is never feeling like I have to compromise on my work if I can help it.
And that's the thing too; I have no idea what kind of after hours work I will have when I start school. I don't know if I will have some classes that will require as much homework outside of work as scheduled class hours, as was the case for many of my art studio classes my first time around in college, or if I will have free evenings and weekends. Or, maybe somewhere in the middle. I'm nervous about it. I don't like not knowing. I'm prepared to be swamped in schoolwork but would actually love to have a little personal time.
I have been purposefully not scheduling any other commitments for the duration of my school year. I have 2 commissions that will be taken care of likely by the end of August, but otherwise that is it. It's hard for me. I am usually juggling 5-6 things at a time, but often it turns out not so good on my stress levels. I am making an active effort to focus.
Speaking of extra activities, I have a few friends who have been auditioning for musicals back in Colorado in the last few days that have made me feel a little sad and nostalgic for my performing life. But one of the things I've been working on is to not continue beating the square peg into the round hole as it were. I am sad because I want to sing, I want to perform, but I know how much energy it requires and I simply cannot take that time potential away from a school schedule that I do not yet know.
Also I want my performance life to bring joy, not pain. And for the last year that I was doing theater productions, it brought me mostly pain. Emotional and physical. I met some amazing people no doubt, in fact, if I had not met my friend Garrett I probably wouldn't even be in New York right now. But the last 2 shows I performed in were far from fun.
Of course, I was in that delightful cycle of being unhappy with my job, so I filled my life with things I was "supposed to" love. In the end I had so many things going on it felt like I didn't truly have enough time to savor the experience. If a rehearsal felt like a waste of time I was immediately irritated because I had so little to spare in my personal life.
I also found in a particular group that setting high expectations for myself was not okay. Somehow, my experience level was used against me as people assumed that since I wanted bigger parts I was somehow a diva or a bitch, or had an "attitude". I get it, everyone is important in a show, but by feeling like I had to "earn" a spot was frustrating to me. I have been performing for 17 years, and I know my talent shows what it is. I am professional and have spent my life earning my spot as such. I am also realistic. I don't want to be ensemble. It doesn't bring me the joy that being center stage does. I can't believe how many lectures I got about not accepting ensemble. Ya'll, I had New York life waiting for me, I'm not going to stick around to just be a background character. I'm not passionate about that. Please give the part to someone who is passionate being on stage as an ensemble member.
I also think I am a good and nice person. And the last few times I have done theater it's made me feel like I'm not, that I am expecting too much, and that I am not nice and am a diva and should just give up.
And no matter how hard I tried to be in the clique I never was. I tried so hard to be accepted! I went to events, even tried to schedule an exclusive get together with this group (and not EVEN ONE PERSON rsvp'd). I found out after the fact at how many things I'd not been invited to, that were supposedly "known" events. I offered to volunteer services for events and was always met with a decline. I even offered services in sewing and fundraising and was never followed up with.
It's really stung and I've had a hard time getting over it. I've written and rewritten this blog a few times trying to process and organize my emotions. I am hurt because I was ready to jump over the moon at one point for this group. I don't think it was necessarily one person's fault and I don't want to point fingers, but I felt (and still feel) very excluded. This set of people has focus on certain things that leaves people like me with nowhere to stand. It just sucks. And now I have a bitter taste in my mouth when it comes to performing.
My next experience has got to be a joyful one, or I just can't do it anymore. I've gone over and over in my mind whether I sabotaged myself. Did I expect too much? And now, in retrospect, being here in New York and trying to follow a new dream, I say no. Set the expectations even higher, I say. Let go of those experiences that seem to bring more heartache than happiness.
A year ago I decided to stop doing the status quo. Stop doing things I felt neutral about, just did because I could. I started taking on only things that not only felt right, but felt AWESOME. If I felt kinda meh about something, I decided not to do it. So because of that I literally have been doing zero freelance graphic design work. Because of that I took on doing costumes for New York Deaf Theater last year for their fall production. Because of that I fell in love with New York and visited FIT. Because of that, I am going to fashion school in 2 weeks.
Every step of my journey to become a fashion designer has been easy. Every. Single. Step.
Sure, I didn't get into the Her Universe Fashion Show at SDCC this year. That sucked. But seeing the designs this year I know I would not have won or come close. I played it safe with my submitted designs because I had to work within the bounds of moving and starting school so I knew my time would have been limited. That's not how you win that competition - you have to throw your balls to the wall 100% and come up with something freaking amazing. That wasn't going to be me this time around. And if I do the competition again, I want to try to give my very best winning work. Last year I had no expectations of winning, just to absorb the experience, which I think worked out wonderfully for me.
This is the only show juried show I haven't gotten into since I've started doing fashion design seriously. I really feel like I have some sort of magic in this field that I've never felt about anything except theater. But I can't seem to get the rewards for doing theater that I have even in a few short years doing fashion.
A friend of mine is currently fulfilling a rehearsal contract for a major performance company in NYC right now. 10 years ago she missed a shot with this company because of an injury, and so life is coming full circle allowing her the chance to pursue it again now. We were chatting the other day about performing and I mentioned some of my frustrations. She asked me if performing gave me the sort of happiness that made it worth continuing to try making it work. I told her that the highs were so high, but the lows were just too low to continue right now. My heart just can't take it. And she responded after thinking for a moment that her career as a performer has been somewhat easy. She pretty much has gotten into all the shows she ever wanted to do, save for the one she waited 10 years for. She hasn't had that let down that kills so many performer's confidence. She's a diamond in the rough for sure, that's not a common career path for a performer.
It made me start thinking. Square peg, round hole. Or focusing on the passion that is taking me places.
Turning off the performer in me is not easy, but I know it's the right choice for now. The universe has other things in store for me. As I said earlier, it's taken me weeks to write this blog. I don't want anyone to be mad or feel like I'm bad-talking a company; it's what I feel and my experience with them. Please respect that and don't try to convince me that my feelings aren't valid. It's been on my mind so much I needed to set it free and let it out so that I can move on to what I'm here to do, which is start my life over and be passionate about everything I am putting my energy into.
And who knows, maybe there will be a little time for singing and dancing this year after all.