I live for creativity.
That is a bit of a lie. I live for praise. I act, I write, I sing, in order for people to praise me. I’m like Tinkerbell, need applause or I’ll die.
That is mainly why I act and sing. Which is funny because I don’t get to be a lead or sing a solo very often, which makes me forgettable. I sang in my church choir mainly so people could tell me how good I was. It’s funny because I think I am good (sort of cocky) but I also think I suck (low self-esteem). No matter how cocky I get I will never be truly cocky because there are things holding me back in the performing world. I don’t know how to read music, I’ve only taken acting classes two or three times, I’m not a good dancer, I’ve only taken voice lesson for a few months. Those combined make it easy for me to see that I suck. So, I need that praise.
I think that really is the life of an actress. You live your life hoping that someone likes you enough to cast you in something. And even when you try your best and have reason to be cocky, there is always someone better than you. They have had more training, they are prettier or skinnier, they have a larger resume. Acting definitely plays a role in some extreme mental problems. I could never act as a career, I’d probably die.
During 2015, the worst and most depressing year of my life, I dropped out of two musicals. The first was Ghost at a theater that actually pays and the second was Aida, with a great cast of new people to meet. That year I was struggling with my identity. I dropped out of Ghost because I didn’t want to be the token black girl. I didn’t want to be cast in things just for my skin color. I was sick of it because it said nothing about me having talent. It was all about looks. That prompted me to drop out of Aida as well. The only show I stayed in that year was Christmas Carol and that was because I knew they loved me for my voice; I’d been doing the show for six years.
Now, I don’t really like being the token black girl, but it does get my foot in the door to perform if I want to. It helped me get the lead in Sister Act and if I wanted a summer show, I don’t cause I’m taking a break this summer, three theaters were doing Hairspray so I could have done one of them. My skin color will also help me when I audition for Aida later this year at another paying theater, though I am gonna try and get in shape physically and vocally for that. I am more sure of who I am now, so playing a role just because I am black won’t kill me as long as I have something to balance it out; at least one recent role where skin color didn’t matter.
I think my writing is really helping with that balance. Sure, you write in the hopes that someone will like it enough to publish it, but I am mainly writing for me. My trilogy is about what I like. It is about what I want to read. Sure, I hope I get published and become a huge success, but just finishing the books will be a huge accomplishment. And the books are just a nod to my creative side. It doesn’t matter that I’m a big, black women. It matters that I can create a world that hold someone’s attention.
It is hard to do it all. I am very busy so sometimes I cant act and write within the same week, but knowing I have that other creative outlet is what gets me through the day. I can share a new chapter of my story or share the song in my heart and feel validation through the applause, whether it is from others or from myself for doing a job well done.