God, I love creativity. I love music and podcasts and television and movies and everything in between. I feel privileged to be able to pursue something I love so dearly. Others are not that lucky. Others don’t love creativity. I do not fault them for this, but I can’t help but wonder what the difference between us really is. Yesterday, I watched the impassioned speech Emma Watson gave to the United Nations regarding feminism and the need to change the connotation of the word–I will not comment on the subject now. I may at a future date, but I have a lot of feelings on the subject that are personal to me and would seemingly be cheapened by sharing them with the world. She did mention, though, several people in her life that were “inadvertent feminists”. These were people who told her she could do whatever she wanted or supported her in many ways in spite of, and perhaps even because of, her gender.
I have had people like this in my life, though they have been “inadvertent creatives”. These are the people who taught me that I was funny. These are the people who taught me to care about my grammar. These are the people who taught me that anything I wanted to do was attainable–I just had to pick what I wanted to do. This is an immense privilege. I fully realize how spoiled I am in my life. There are dozens and dozens of people who have done this for me, whether or not they know this. Why was I so spoiled, though? Why have I been afforded these opportunities? There are millions of people more deserving than me, and yet, I got this privilege. I take this for granted–I realize that–but I’m a human, and I am flawed, and I am often immature. Please don’t fault me for that. We’re all a little like that sometimes.
I was working last night. I work at a small improv theatre right in the heart of Hollywood–that sentence alone is evidence of the amount of creativity in my life and the lengths to which I will go to seek out that creativity. The group performing that night was full of people who were doing it merely for fun–they are not professionals, though some hope to be, and they even pay just for the opportunity to perform. These people must love creativity to some extent, or they wouldn’t sacrifice their time or money to perform for a very small audience entirely made up of people they, themselves, have invited. I have had endless experiences with being able to display my creativity. It started in fourth grade when I told my mom that I wanted to be a part of a 500 person youth choir. I had never really sung before that–I’m not kidding. This creative streak took me to places I never thought I’d go–I joined a children’s choir and was whisked away to perform at places like Carnegie Hall, St. Peter’s Basilica, and everywhere in between. The percentage of people, let alone children, that get to do this, is so, so miniscule. I, of course, knew it was a really cool thing to be a part of, but I’ve been thinking a lot about just how many experiences like this I’ve had. I went to high school and the first time I auditioned for the small show choir, I got in, and was able to perform dozens of times a year for so many people. The very first time I auditioned for a musical, I got a callback. I didn’t get the part, mind you, but still, I was fourteen years old and that’s dumb that I didn’t have to work that hard at the beginning. I was asked to write for my high school’s parody sketch show my senior year–after months of hard work, I was then asked to direct the production. I auditioned for eight universities for music programs, and I was only admitted to four of eight, but two of those four were the only two schools I was actually considering–they are the top two schools in the country for the program in which I was interested. I went to college and got to perform for incredible people and I got to sing with incredible people and I would never in a million years change the musical experiences I had in college. My sophomore year, I applied to write for my college’s sketch parody show, and I got that position. Junior year, I applied to direct that same production and I got that opportunity. Then, with some people who are even more creative than me, I created and wrote a news parody program for my school. Then, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in comedy writing.
I do not say these things to brag, though, I absolutely know that people will view it as that. Through every single one of those experiences, I got to perform and display my creativity to people who were not just there because I asked them to be there–yes, there were people there because I did ask them to support me–but, there were also tons of people there because they wanted to be there. They supported creativity, and therefore, they supported me.
I will never forget the discomfort in my cheeks that I felt after directing my college’s sketch parody show. I never stopped smiling. We sold out two shows. I brought a new life to a program that had been around for years, but I changed some things and I was immensely proud.
Honestly, how did I get so lucky? And why do some people, like those I witnessed performing last night just because they want to, not get the audience and support I’ve been granted?
A lot of it has to be luck. But, I also can’t discount the hundreds and hundreds of hours I’ve put in to make my creativity better and more relatable.
Look, I don’t have an answer for this, but I suppose this post is just a way to say thank you. And I hope I can support someone as much as I have been supported.