I dream big. I am an artist. For those of you who don't know me, I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Performance from Baylor University (Sic 'Em!!). And unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the job market isn't too hot right now, especially in a field that has never offered steady employment anyway.
Actors live a hard life, but they do it because they love it. It's their passion. They don't quit. Not if they're like me. If they can't shake the bug. If they're unhappy doing anything else. Sometimes dreams change, but we creative types, we are constantly asking ourselves, "Am I happy? Am I chasing my dreams? Am I fulfilled?" I always worry that if I change my career plans that I will always think, "What if?" I have to give this a shot. And if it's not meant to be, maybe someday I'll find a new dream that fills me with just as much passion. But I won't settle.
Some people are satisfied with simple jobs and quiet little families and comfortable routines. That's great. I wish I were one of those people. I know that living a normal life still has meaning. I would still matter as much as any celebrity or athlete or politician. But I can't just go quietly into the night. I won't. But searching for a job in arts and media in a small town in central Illinois is difficult. Especially when you're new to town and don't know many people. Sigh.
I got very frustrated last week looking for a job. There's not just a whole lot of options out there. Then I got hit a few times with rejections, and that mixed with a healthy does of PMS had me in shambles. I love my husband more than life, but sometimes I wonder where I'd be if I were still single. Would I be a starving artist in New York? Would I be in grad school in California? Would I have gotten an amazing internship back home in Texas? But none of that matters because I am here, with him, for him, supporting him, investing in him, because I know he would do it for me. I know that one day it will all pay off. I know that I am on this path for a reason.
But it's still scary moving across the country for someone else without any prospects, without much money, without many friends. I miss home, I miss Texas, I miss Baylor. Sometimes, I feel like there's nothing for me here. I'm naturally very independent, but I've currently been VERY dependent on Robert and his stipend. It's scary not making money, it's scary not knowing anyone, and it's scary being so dang far away!
Illinois: The Prairie State? More like The Scary State.
But, I'm trying to make a life here. So, last Thursday night we went to see the local community theatre's production of the musical "Thoroughly Modern Millie," a show about adventure and chasing your dreams, only with a very happy (and unrealistic) ending. While we were there, however, we got to talking with a member of the theatre board, and he seemed very interested in having me come out and volunteer. Not exactly a job, but it's a start.
My theory is, I started out paying to do theatre at Baylor, now I'll do theatre for free in Champaign, maybe one day I'll do theatre for profit. But right now I'm kind of like Millie, in a new place searching for a way to make my dreams come true. Only, she's in the greatest city on earth (New York), and my front yard is a corn field. I guess I'll keep pushing on, and maybe I'll get to see the bright lights of a big city... in 2-5 years. Sounds like a prison sentence, doesn't it?
One thing that keeps me going is the respect and support Robert gives me. Sitting out in our "yard" looking into the field of tall, green crops, we talked about how so many people think that pursuing a career in the arts, especially in this economy, is stupid and unwise. But he told me that he thought anyone who chooses to follow their passions is very brave. It takes a special person to work so hard for so long with so little reward aside from loving the art. He told me he was proud of me for following my dreams and for having the courage that many lack.
So I can't let him down. I can't prove those other people right. I'm going to find success in this world someday. After all, dreams only have an expiration date if you give them one. And I have a lot planned. Like I said, I dream big.