2016: A Year of Serious Lessons
Soon, we'll be saying goodbye to 2016, an exceptionally tough year for many, and I am no exception. It's been the most difficult year of my life for a myriad of reasons, but at least I’m ending 2016 on a somewhat “good” note. I completed a successful internship at Premier Media Group, and I’ve finished rehearsals for the upcoming tour of Nihonjin Face as a professionally paid actor.
Yes, 2017 is practically here, and it freaks me the hell out. As the new year arrives, I have to make some daunting decisions and very, very soon. My friends assure me this is an exciting time and that no matter what I do or where I go, I’ll find success. I’m thankful that I have people who believe in me to no end, but I can’t ignore the zillion thoughts and doubts whirling in the back of my brain like a cloud of crazed gnats in summer!
I've never been one for New Year's Resolutions so I thought I'd tell you guys how I'm really doing in some of the major aspects of life. 2017 has me seriously reflecting on the past year. I want to be completely transparent, but that can be very difficult on social media. I'm hoping I can share with you a bit of honesty (although, through my edited voice). This is a text heavy post, but I hope that some of you can relate to the struggle, even if it's not exactly the same.
Well, I still have about $55,000 in student debt. It’s been a mild relief that Nihonjin Face pays well (at least for theatre in Tacoma), but I also won’t be able to work at Starbucks while the show is on tour *nervous laughter* Bottom line: I need to increase my income every month so I can move out and regain a sense of independence. Which leads into . . .
Towards the end of my editorial internship at Premier Media Group, it seemed obvious to start looking for editorial jobs, probably in NYC. I was pretty set on putting acting on hold for a salaried company position to start tackling my debt. But then, I had the (pleasant) surprise of being cast in Nihonjin Face, an educational-touring show about Japanese concentration camps during WWII which encompasses all the things I came back to the U.S. for: social justice, Asian America, the arts, and education. Definition of a curveball.
With the start of rehearsals, my family and I noticed an immediate change in my mood and attitude. It's clear to me that I need to perform. It is my meditation and my medicine against anxiety and depression. I've gotten over the blind, angsty chase for fame, recognition, and money which had the opposite effect. So, I’m now rethinking my plans for an editorial or publishing job unless it allows me to perform on the side, but then how does blogging and other projects fit in?
There are so many questions and possible scenarios. I feel like I’m constantly playing Tetris and the game is going faster but I’m trying to stay calm as the blocks climb higher and higher! Seattle? LA? NYC? Acting/performing? Writing/Publishing? A stable job that just pays the bills? . . . There are too many possibilities!
Recently, I haven’t been the best about regularly exercising. For a while, Blogilates was my jam! It still is, but I lost the nice groove I was in. I want to dance more, but I haven’t had the money for classes. Plus, living in my parent’s house sucks inspiration out of me . . . I’m trying to set aside a little money every week for at least a class or two in 2017.
Like I mentioned earlier, my mental health has improved with the play, but we’re on a break for the holidays which gives me too much time to over analyse every topic on this list and more. Things have been pretty stable for the most part because I've stuck to a pretty safe routine and recognised some triggers to avoid. My biggest focus for the next year is undoubtedly my mental health. Without a strong, healthy mind, nothing else functions properly.
Singledom. I am Queen of my castle (however small and insignificant it may be), and I’ve ruled on my own for a very long time. Through the chaos of this year, I haven't been able to date, but in all honestly, I don’t think I really wanted to out of fear. Not because I'm afraid of rejection (rejection and I are best buds) but rather fear I would never leave the Tacoma/Seattle area.
I left London to help support and feed the community I ran away from, but thinking about it, Tacoma was never my community. I feel like I'm back in high school, struggling to find "my people" but now more discontent because the process wasn't even a process in London. I've always been able to make meaningful connections with ease there. It's been over a year since I came back, and I don't have a stable friend group.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve met some truly inspiring, talented individuals here, and it’d be nice to become a leader in this slowly growing pond. But I've never enjoyed ponds; I need to be in the sea. I’ve always thrived on the chaos and competition only found in large cities—cities that are already developed and saturated with creatives. Sadly, Seattle is not that kind of a city, yet.
However, I've learned to never say never. Things could work out with someone here, and at the same time, more and more doors may open to me. My perspective, attitudes, and priorities could change, and I'll lose that chip on my shoulder. Maybe I can learn to make the PNW my community, but I don't know if I have any more patience or willpower to find out . . .
If you've made it this far, congratulations! That was a lot to read through, but I hope you enjoyed!
I don't want to forget the hardships of 2016—otherwise, what will I learn and grow from? At the very least, I can say I reached rock bottom, lived there for some time, and survived. 2016, you've been quite the ride and will definitely never forget you, but 2017 is a chance to turn things around and move forward. LET'S GO!
All my love,