...of the Second Chapter
I couldn’t figure out what to call this post
First, I know that every time I post something, I say thank you about a billion times. I worry that it comes across as insincere, but it’s really really not.
I never dreamed that so many people would be excited about this little show, so I really do thank you all so very much for watching and writing. I know that I can be pretty slow to respond. But please know that I read everything and it means the world to myself and the cast and crew to hear from people. Tis truly muchly appreciated.
Okay, here’s where I take off the corset and get real.
A couple of weeks ago, GLOW actress Betty Gilpin wrote this amazing piece called “Why Acting is a Seesaw of Death.” The piece explains the huge emotional journeys that actors go on as they try to land, and then keep, roles. It describes how exhausting and confusing auditioning is, how even when you’re on a show, it doesn’t feel like you’re going to be for long, and how landing a great role is no measure of job security.
I read this piece when it came out--as you might expect, lots of my friends are actors, so the article was widely shared in my social media. And when I read it, I tried to immediately forget about it.
My anxiety has been a constant companion for years. It’s kept me up for nights on end. It’s disrupted my eating. It’s made me cling to toxic people and shun healthy ones. It’s made me sabotage great opportunities and settle for repeating mistakes. And it nearly kept me from making Black Girl in a Big Dress at all.
I’ve made huge progress in the last few year or so. I got a coach who really helped me put things into perspective. I built an amazing library of really effective self help books. I started meditation. I got my eating under control for the first time since I was a teenager. I’ve rebuilt friendships and had the courage to say goodbye to ones that weren’t working for me. I’ve learned to accept that sometimes I’m gonna feel terrible but that the feeling will pass and that I can just observe those challenging emotions instead of indulging in them.
And I’ve felt amazing. It’s awesome to wake up excited most days and it feels fantastic to not be terrified of every decision. But it takes work. Every day. It takes serious, focused work every day. And when I mess up and slip back into old thought patterns, it takes extra extra work to get back on track.
One of the things that has allowed me to feel better is that I actively avoid pieces that talk about how difficult this career I’ve chosen is. There’s a mantra in the personal work I’m doing that says “that which you focus on, you make more of.” So if you focus on how hard things are, that is what you will notice and draw toward yourself--the struggle. But the truth is that yes, things can be hard, but they can also be easy. And if you focus your thoughts and energy all the opportunities around you, that is what you will see more of and that is what you will draw toward you.
I’ve found that for me, this mantra holds true.
So when I read Ms. Gilpin’s piece, it felt nostalgic and real; but it also felt like something I didn’t want to spend much time with.
Until I started producing Season 2.
And all the insecurities and anxieties came rushing back. Imposter syndrome took hold and I spent a couple of days back in bed with my old friend anxiety. The dozens of daily phone calls it takes to pull a shoot together triggered my introvertism. And the hundreds of decisions one has to make every day made me want to call the whole thing off.
And I thought of Ms. Gilpin’s essay.
She ends the piece by saying how important it is to get back up again and how ultimately that’s what makes a career. I totally agree.
She also reminds us that part of being a creative is that you have huge feelings. Those huge feelings are what compel us to express whether it’s through paint or film or dance or flower arranging. It’s been great to feel freedom from some of the pain of the past. But honestly, it was nice to be reminded that it’s so near the surface. The self-love I feel from creation helps keep the demons at bay. And descending into filmed fantasty helps me fight the fears.
And as nervous as I am tonight, I know that tomorrow is going to be spectacular!
Join us, won’t you!
Moments of self-reflection notwithstanding, we really are so excited about Season Two!!
All the characters you love are back and we’ve got some great new folks to introduce you to! There’s new dresses! There’s dancing! And there’s a great story underneath it all about how all of us are just trying to write our own fairy tales and find our own happy endings.
You can also help us make this season. Black Girl in a Big Dress is an independent, self-funded venture and we could use your support to finish bringing it to life. If you have a moment, check out our Indiegogo page. If donating isn’t for you right now, that’s totally OK!! Sharing the link or any of our episodes will be a huge help and we’d super appreciate it.
We’ll be sharing tons of stuff from set, so please keep in touch.