Tuesday, May 31, 2016

thoughts on being defined by the act of knocking -- not on whether or not the door opens

I knew that once I got a summer job, there would be nothing holding me back from focusing on fall job applications.

For my move back to LA, I'm looking into industry jobs first.
If nothing comes of those applications, I will continue on in retail --
no shame in this whatsoever.

My first industry application, I must admit, has me terrified.

I run on fear and discomfort and challenge -- especially
in the workforce and my creativity.

But I've already caught a glimpse of just how brutal the entertainment industry is.

I don't usually ask myself this, but this morning I have been:

Is this what I really want? 

Is it worth it?

What's all the hype about anyway?

Today I asked these questions of one of my best friends.
And he quickly, and without hesitation, responded that I'm absolutely
supposed to pursue this. And that he won't let fear cause me to back down.

Such a golden friend I have.

I think that the conclusion I have to continually bring myself back to is the reality
that I cannot find my definition in the industry and in all of my impending rejection.

I've already convinced myself that none of my pursuit can be about fame or money or status.
I'm at peace with knowing that my career as a writer might always be me sitting at a coffee shop, typing away, never making a penny off of my words.

And this is okay.

This is more than okay.

It means that in spite of all rejection, I have continued to cultivate the craft I love.

And isn't the continuation of cultivation a more accurate depiction of success, and a greater source of contentment and joy than the risk of selling out, burning out, or being in a room filled with people who want your ideas and not the root of those ideas: aka, you?

Stories of people who try for a while and then give up are excessively common.

Stories of the few who actually strike gold are one in a million, and are often deemed as luck. And, I feel that those people tend to be pretty unreachable in a relatable sense.

We talk about those who try for a small time and all too soon walk away because the pang of rejection makes a small time of trying actually feel like an eternity...and who doesn't want to feel alone in what feels like failure? Especially when the shadow of a one in a million is an exaggerated notion.

We talk about those one in a millions because we glorify status, and we crave the fruit that we assume only grows at the highest heights of a totem poll. As if the fruits of a simple life are not sweet or plentiful enough.

"It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life."

What people typically fail to realize is that those one in a millions are not derived simply out of luck. Sure, the blessedness of a right-place-right-time has proven itself real in the lives of some.

But I doubt that anyone has happened upon success without years of prior effort. And I firmly believe that right-place-right-time only goes noted when the preparation for such a moment has been made. And, made well.

What needs to be talked about is the fruit that grows in places that aren't as loud or as large as, say, Los Angeles.

And I think that this need is more applicable to the cities where individuals are striving for the right-place-right-time-if-not-by-sheer-luck moment.

What needs to be talked about is the fact that totem polls are man made;
that fruit grows in more than just one season, and it doesn't have to be
the sweetest to indicate worth or determine the amount of labor behind the harvest.

What needs to be talked about is the ability of building a door.
And if a building one's own door into (in my instance) Hollywood is
in fact impossible and improbable, then I sure as hell need to hold onto the
reality that my own definition and value isn't determined by the number of doors
I knock on, or what they might lead to, or whether or not I build my own door in a month or a year or a decade.

It just has to be about the effort.

People are only defined by their success in the eyes of strangers, in the eyes of the world.

When it comes to the self, an individual should only define his or her self
on the effort it took, the pain that was endured, the simple pleasures that were had.

The success is in the effort of knocking.
You don't even have to build the door,
just find it,
and learn from it,
and when all hopes of getting in are dashed move on and knock on another door.

Learn another lesson.

Sure -- this is all easier said than done.

But as I focus in on the career path I'm about to pursue
I feel crazy not to assure myself that it's all about standing at the door
and knocking -- and not about whether the door actually opens.

Because on this first round of knocking on doors I know that the level of rejection
against me is insurmountable. But it doesn't have to be who I am.

If I lose sight of all of the other doors, I might lose sight of my happiness.
Who I am. Why the hell I'm doing this in the first place...

I have to hold onto what I told my friend--but really said for the sake of myself:

Everything I ever write. Every job I go after...needs to be about the courage of knocking on the door. Not about whether or not I actually get to go in.

"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door."

It's the courage,
the effort,
the inspiration,
the uncertainty,
and the craving for something more
that will make me who I am.

And if in the right place at the right time happens,
I'll be ready.

If it doesn't, then I refuse to someday go the rest of my life depriving myself of the simple
joy of waking early, finding myself at a coffee shop, and writing words of my choosing.

If the big dream doesn't come to fruition,
the small dreams that will make up a good, good life shouldn't have to pay a heavy, daily price.

So here's to knocking.
Knocking as loudly and vigorously and enthusiastically as I can -- yes.

Though simultaneously knocking with the mentality that this isn't the only door,
I have the ability to build my own door, and--should the door open--it was the knock that made
me who I am and earned me what I'll have...not whatever accolades might follow once the door is open.

Thanks for reading --

-First quote by J. R. R. Tolkien
-Second quote by Milton Berle

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