word of the day: sustainability

For the past four-ish years I've been working to situate myself in a place where I can produce artistic work on a consistent basis that feeds my community and provides paid work for myself and other artists. Like The Flight, which we tour every February to colleges around the U.S. pic 14

There are many times when I wish I genuinely didn't have this artistic heart burning deep within (lol is that dramatic?)  Many days I wish I could be like the other friends I know who value their financial freedom enough to get "real" jobs that allow them to have things, to own things, big things like cars, houses, spouses, children. J/k

::insert evil emoji here ::

Seriously, they can buy name brand shoes and clothes, take a nice vacation and get some much needed dental work. I think what I envy most about that life is that they have a much easier time getting some kind of sustainability (you will hear that word a lot in this post lol). I live a charmed life, a life that I actively choose over and over again. I understand that and take full responsibility for my decisions because I understand the trade offs. I can't go on luxury vacations but sometimes people pay me to go hang out with celebrities in the Caribbean for a week, or teach in Africa, or Haiti. I consistently find myself at random events that are cool and exciting (check those adjectives out).

I make sure to eat free food and take pictures while I'm there and post them on Instagram so people think I'm sorta D-list famous and I get more followers. It works sometimes. My life happens in bursts of excitement followed by long stretches of uncertainty and despair. And Instagram followers don't necessarily translate to a better reality. They shole don't pay no bills!

My goal is to figure out how to stay authentic to my truest self, while still maintaining a healthy financial life. Is it possible? Has to be. Or else what am I doing living in one of the most expensive cities on earth? Isolated from all my family and childhood friends? Sweating because I'm carrying groceries up three flights of stairs? But if I don't genuinely believe I can make my deepest desires a reality, then what am I doing here? People like me, who have left everything to make something don't have the luxury of doubt. We have to believe that what's possible is larger than what we currently conceive of as reality.

Which is why I keep going with The Sustainable Theater Workshop. It's something I'm building for myself & my larger community. Not only is it work I truly believe in and am passionate about, but it allows me to create opportunities for myself to make money (SUSTAINABILITY). Which is important. Some people think artists should work for free or that charity work should be free and I say, "Why?" Maybe if we invested more money in educators and service workers we would have a more positive, tolerant, well-rounded community that could really think about who they are in the world and not just spout off something they heard on the news. Sorry that was snarky. I am having flashbacks of a meeting where I was pitching the workshop and they said, "Why do you need to be paid? You're an artist you should do it because you love it."

Chile I nearly fell out. Yeah I'm gonna pay my Sprint bill with passion & love. :: side eye ::

 

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So as I stress (SHOCKER) about meeting my fundraising goal, I'm actively trying to focus on all the skills and tools I'm developing by doing this and the invisible toolkit I will have cultivated that I can use to continue building a strong foundation for myself. Things aren't happening as quickly as I would like. But every project, every campaign, is an attempt to create a tiny bit of my dream world where artists don't have to beg for money or scrape by all the time. A world in which art isn't on the fringe, extra-curricular, or frivolous.

Here's to the dreamers turned entrepreneurs. However long it takes.

BONUS: Here's a video if me explaining a little more about what exactly I'm doing in Senegal.

https://vimeo.com/108485958