Saturday, May 31, 2014

Writing, Fears and Perfectionism.

You've had one of those moments, you know when you are sitting next to your To Do List and you know all the things you need to get done when suddenly you find yourself on the couch watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and you have no idea how you got there. Today I wrote out all of my goals and to do lists. I highlighted, color coded, and drew my little empty check boxes.
I was ready to go but there were also two powerful forces at work that are both production killers (in addition to my love of good indie films): my fears and perfectionism.

Fear of Failure and Success:
   It has always baffled me how these seemingly opposing fears can manage to co-exist simultaneously. After all that I have gone through you would think something as fickle (and subjective) as rejection would not phase me the way it does. Every time my writing is rejected it takes all my emotional strength to get back up again and pursue the project. Where is this thick skin they keep telling me I need to have? Well if it's out there I have yet to develop it, hence why I hate querying so much. Or maybe it's supposed to hurt this much when you put so much of yourself into your work. My art teacher once told me that all paintings are self-portraits. She was right. Every piece of art you produce is a reflection of you. Even if you don't see it at first, it is.
     Right next to my dear old friend Fear of Failure is his equally ruthless sibling, Fear of Success. The fear of success does indeed exist and is very real for me. I am terrified of being known for my writing. Of being seen, judged, and watched. The perfectionist in me knows it's only a matter of time before all my flaws and mistakes become glaringly clear for the whole world to see. If I achieve my desires and goals than a complete new set of fears creep in–that I really have something to lose. How can I bear it if such a loss were to occur?

     Perfectionism can do wonders. You know, like help you do an excellent job on an important project at work. It can also fill you with so much anxiety that you don't even want to get started on a project or you don't want it to be seen. The problem is, is that perfection is an illusion. You can't do anything perfectly. Everything we do will have some flaws to a degree, even if they are minute. Accepting this fact is what seems to be the hardest. In my head I imagine others with no flaws. Even though I see them. I know they are there. I am affected by them on a daily basis. But when I see my own flaws it is as though I am the only one in a world where everyone else has miraculously achieved perfection. 
   Is there a solution to this conundrum? If there is, I haven't found it quite yet. But at least I am still in the game. For now I will take it one step at a time. One soul-crushing query letter at a time.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Open Letter to (mostly) Rihanna: I'm Not Hating, I Just Think You Can Do Better

Now, I ordinarily don't write about celebrity issues. Actually nowadays I rarely write about celebrity issues, but there was one incident that really got me thinking. The headlines were short and sweet and quickly snuffed out of the media:"Rihanna Mocks Fan Over Prom Dress Inspired By Singer". At first glance I thought, hmm that can't be right. Surely someone who has earned millions and endless amounts of fame like you would not be putting down one of the millions who got you to where you are (yes you did the work, but there are a lot of hard working artists out there but fans tend to make the experience more lucrative). And surely a minority female in such an influential position would not be putting down a young minority female who is exhibiting a confidence that her society is constantly trying to diminish.
     At this point Rihanna you could argue that you never asked to be a role model and that it's not your responsibility. But when you are making millions from people who sadly to say idolize you then to some extent it does become your responsibility. In deed that is a large burden to bear but then again that's partly why you get paid so much. That's when I realized that this whole outfit issue was not even the real issue. I'm here to formally say that Rihanna I'm not hating, I just think you can do it better. I think you can be more than your body, the clothes you wear and your overt sexuality.

     When I look back at you as an artist and many other female artists I feel a sense of deep sadness not only for my gender but for people of color. It has become very apparent that for many minorities and females in our society we have to sell our figures and our souls in order to achieve high levels of success. I have heard the argument that you and these other young women are owning their sexuality. I'm not sure how much you are owning something when you so readily sell it off. It's not just you Rihanna though. I can't put it all on you.

     Women have always been looked at as a means and symbol of sexuality. Over sexualization in the media does not send the message that we have control, it only says that we have given in to the demands of the highest bidder. True power is keeping something that is priceless. Something that has that great of a value isn't to be shared with everyone, sadly it only diminishes its value. Diamonds (as you so casually sung about) are expensive because they are rare, not just because they are beautiful. I think many of you female artists have forgotten that. Somewhere down the line someone told you you only had one kind of beauty. I don't want to be known only for my sexuality. And it's imagery like the ones you portray that perpetuates the notion that us females do not have the minds, ideas, or intellect that could rival scientists, inventors, entrepreneurs and the like.

     So to Rihanna and many of these female pop artist you are making it hard for us females who want to be seen for our souls and not our bodies. But now that I come to think of it though the headline I originally brought up makes sense. When you are banking solely on an image it could be seen as quite threatening to have a younger girl rocking the same outfit.