Under (Imaginary) Pressure
So it's March already. I am fairly certain I think that every March. January lasts four years and then February is a blink and here we are in March with unpredictable weather, so close to spring we can see nothing but tulips and cherry blossoms when we close our eyes. And I panic.I set goals for myself. I have projects I am working on. And I am panicking. Is this going to be another 'wasted' year? Another year I say I am going to check off all my boxes and only see two tick marks on a page of twenty empty squares? How can I sit and enjoy a new Netflix series when I have so much to complete before April is here? Because April is basically the end of the year, isn't it? I mean, might as well leave the Christmas decor up BECAUSE THE YEAR IS OVER.I have created imaginary pressure for myself. Some days, this is a positive thing. I let myself sink underneath it just enough to motivate me to write my word count for the day. I sense it behind me enough to email regarding headshot pricing or to peruse auditions. It still does not feel like it is enough.I have surrounded myself with very successful people. I constantly compare myself to them. I do, I have to admit it. I can not help it. I don't get angry or hate on them for working so hard. I wear my regrets like a winter coat; it's heavy and cumbersome and I take it off from time to time. Yet it is hanging there in my closet always. I wish I had stayed near the city and kept working at my career. So much broke through for my peers and I feel I am running uphill to catch them.I haven't even been back a year. I need to give myself some credit.A good friend of mine (and I may have written about this before) taught me not to forget what I have. I was down and out about something years ago and venting to her. She sat back and looked at me with surprise and said "But you're doing so much!" and proceeded to list all the things I was currently involved in. It was shockingly a lot. Yet I was complaining about the things I had yet to achieve instead of looking at what I had in my pocket. She asked me what I am grateful for and reminded me to always pay attention to that instead of what I had yet to grasp. I wasn't seeing the forest for the trees. So let's see the forest then, shall we? I have put this fake pressure on myself to get all my hopes and dreams completed somehow before the end of 2019. I am frustrated with feeling like I lost three years when I did not live in this metropolis. I am stressed with trying to be a writer while still hanging on to being an actor. How do I do both? Have I made any traction with either in the past nine months? WHY IS IT ALMOST APRIL?I have made traction. I have made strides. I have done a lot. The forest is lush and blooming. I wrote a draft of a novel and plan to do Camp NaNoWriMo in April to write a second draft. I have started to gather my tools to do this. I have a short story I am on a fourth draft of and plan to submit it or self publish as a novella depending on its length. These are all items that I keep forgetting I have done and should be proud of. Acting still on the back burner but I can feel it creeping back up. I know it is there and waiting for me. I have faith I will know when I am ready to jump back in.I read my cards in two new spreads this week. Both said similar things that inspired this blog post: I have a lot of passion and love towards my creative endeavors. I am fueled properly but I need to still be patient, focused, meticulous even. I need to strategize where to put my energy instead of letting it explode over everything. With the right plan, I can achieve what I have set out to do. Without it, I could find myself in a pile of unfinished projects, most of which do not bring me any joy.The imaginary pressure is good at times and detrimental at others. I am feeling it hardcore right now. Again, it is the rub of being an artist. I have no one to report to at the level I am at. Just me. Only me. If I don't write today, no one will punish me. The empty pages will still be empty. If I don't sign up for an audition in the next six months, it won't matter. Those roles will still be cast. If I sit and scroll through social media and let the jealousy build a nest inside me, it will only be me that can't breathe as the tears drown me.Life is short. We all want to leave a mark somewhere on the board. I have stories inside of me I want to get out. Stories I want to tell. Stories like the ones I grew on. Stories I carry with me. The forest is so green and alive. I can see it now.