I was wondering why sitting down to write this felt like such a heavy task.
I realized it’s because I haven’t really written like this in a while—definitely not as much as I used to, well, for some time now.
Well, for about two years now.
I had a creative wave from 2015-2019 with writing and producing three seasons of my comedic web series “The Pineapple Diaries” and had hoped to start writing for a hopeful fourth season production for 2020 and well….
A global pandemic hit. Whatever ideas I had for that possible fourth season just seemed absurd and I accepted that it wasn’t going to happen.
I was just grateful we were able to make that third season happen in 2019 and that I could edit it safely from home in the early months of 2020.
I probably don’t need to go into what this meant for me or for all of us—our individual experiences varied in degrees and globally it has been devastating. It has impacted all of us.
For a solid few months in the first year our real connection to the outside world was virtual.
On one hand, there was a bombardment of memes and TikToks encouraging artists to take this time to create their magnum opus, and on the other hand there was this emphasis on self-care and rest that permeated IG posts in ways that the previous year’s “booked and busy” did, and self-help words of wisdom photoshopped on photos of walls and landscapes became daily reminders that we are all probably completely lost—or at least, just as lost as the person next to us—well, 6 feet away from us.
In the first few months I did what was natural to me—dive into a project and stay creative and stay busy! I started an IG Live, “A Show with La Gringa Loca,” where I invited friends and artists to play virtual games with me, like categories or charades.
I did a show every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I turned that show into a homemade variety show of 45-minute episodes for YouTube, promising myself and to anyone watching that I would complete 10 episodes.
After three completed episodes and pushing myself to the point of tears, I was like, “What am I doing?”
I probably laugh-cried the words out.
I am use to pushing myself—holding myself accountable to complete the things that I started, holding myself to a deadline, even when I’m the one who created the deadline in the first place. I broke down.
With a relentless surging global pandemic, daily anxieties from persistent presence of the “unknown”—like being in a waiting room and never hearing your name called, like waiting on hold for customer service and they say the wait will be 200 hours, news of constant loss in numbers unimaginable, with the tragic and enraging reality of our society bubbling to the surface in the summer, institutionalized racism that has been the core of this country for centuries and a chaotic and polarizing presidential election. I was like, “Girl, just stop.”
Putting my mental stability first, I stopped. I stopped with the self-made deadlines and stopped with being creative for a while. Something I never do.
I stopped pushing myself so hard and just focused on doing each day. Focused on little tasks, smaller moments—smaller triumphs like just getting through a day, like wiping down my kitchen counters, like cooking a nice meal for myself, like hearing the voices of the people I love in WhatsApp voice notes, like laughing at something funny, like seeing family and friends getting through it too, like feeling like we were all in this together.
I didn’t feel motivated to create, really. I felt motivated to just be and rest and cry. And pay my bills. And for many months that is what I did.
By September 2020 I was given the opportunity to work a commissioned job directing short documentary films for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and it felt like spring.
Spring in the fall, I felt like something was blooming in me again—an opportunity to create and to be inspired by other artists navigating these times in their own way, kinda felt like Dorothy, kinda felt like each of these incredible artists was teaching me something, sharing their wisdom; they were awakening something back in me—the passion that I have for telling stories. The passion I have as an artist, to create.
After a year of having the immense privilege and honor and luck to be able to share the stories of these incredible and inspiring and wildly talented artists, I started to feel ready to tell my own stories again. This is what I hope for in 2022.
To go for it. To create.
For me, the past two years have been about abundant gratitude for each day and gratitude just to be here on this earth, trying to do my best and stay safe for myself and my family and to rest. I still prioritize all of that in 2022. I still prioritize joy and not “glorifying busy”—which I never subscribed to—and at the same time I feel ready to dive back into a project, as an artist to be more vulnerable than I ever have been before, to grow in my craft and to continue to tell stories, to get lost in stories, to open up my imagination and to be guided by my dreams as an artist.
Writing this was challenging for me (as weird as that might sound because I’m a writer haha).
It was challenging. But I did it.
And I think that’s the energy I want to take into this year.
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