Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Hero's Journey

A few years ago I had the incredible opportunity to perform in NYC Player's "Neutral Hero". Unbeknownst to me, the story was inspired by Joseph Campell's The Hero's Journey.  And no, I didn't play the hero, but I did play Karen Elliot, the Goddess (yes, I still laugh about it myself).  I never gave much thought to the hero's journey before I joined the cast, and I haven't thought about it much since, because well, I'm no hero. I've never saved a life or healed the sick, I'm just a girl from Long Island, who wants to entertain people through stories and music, and who would like to one day pay off her credit card debt, but that's another story for another day.  And honestly, I wasn't planning on writing this post, but the feelings I've been dealing with recently have dictated to me that I needed to talk about what I've just figured out.

Working on this film, trying to raise money for it, and writing this blog has given me the keys to open up my very own Pandora's box of fears.  You name it, I've experienced it in the past two weeks. Some fears are normal, like not raising enough money to make this project, to feeling like the work isn't good enough.  I say they're normal because I've experienced that type fear before. But other fears are just completely irrational.  It seems like one little negative thought leads to another one that's a little bit bigger, and before you know it I'm catching Ebola, being falsely imprisoned, and/or dying alone. It's been a rough week.

My fears had become so overwhelming that I began to feel physically ill, so when I saw Elizabeth Gilbert was on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday, I sat my ass down on my couch and watched that sucker immediately OnDemand.  I was transformed in an hour.  See it was there, I was reminded of The Hero's journey but in a more personal way.  A very abbreviated explanation of the journey is the 'hero' answers the call not without self doubt, struggles on the path, then reaches a point of no return which leads to a battle, where Gilbert says that "every single one of those obstacles prepared you for the battle, then you lose your fear and then you become the hero".  Me. And you, if we answer the call.

See I answered my call.  And it is a very different one from most people I know. No one else in my family, or friends for that matter, has received a similar call as I, and if they have then the have rejected it. They all went to school, got jobs with that degree, got married, had kids, because that is their call; but that's not mine. Sometimes when people see you making a different choice then the one they are accustomed to, they assume you must be unhappy.  But no worries, they're here to help!! They have all the advice in the world and know just how to fix you.  And even though I didn't know I needed to be fixed,  I began to doubt myself, and my call.  What if they're right?  Maybe I should  just forget this crazy dream of mine (it's really hard anyway), find a good paying job with health insurance (I too have a degree), get a man, a marriage license, and pop out a few kids (Lord knows that would make my mother very happy).  But honestly, I'm not unhappy without those things.  Yes, there are a few things I'd like to change about my current situation, but I'm happy on my journey.  Nothing makes me feel more alive and grateful than writing and performing, and nothing makes me feel more trapped then having to do something that takes me away from that.  This is the life I want to live.  And then, like a light bulb, I realized that I was feeling all this anxiety because I'd let the opinions of others affect my own.

Sure it's not without struggles or trials (this indiegogo campaign of mine is just the tip of the iceberg) but they are just obstacles on my path.  And I welcome them.  I don't enjoy them, but if they are prepping me for what's to come, I welcome them.  So now, I have officially chosen to become the Hero of my own story!  If I'm not, who will be?  That's what my film is about...characters who have received and accepted their call, no matter how difficult, no matter who doesn't understand, no matter who tells them "No", because I don't believe you will be truly happy unless you follow your own call. As Paulo Coelho author of The Alchemist says, our only obligation is to find our "personal legend" (or purpose), honor it and fulfill it.  And at the risk of sounding like a Hallmark card or an advertisement for OWN TV,  I hope I can continue to be brave enough to continue my journey.  I may not be a hero in terms of a summer blockbuster, but I see now that I am the hero of my life.  I can only hope you're the hero of yours.  You deserve that!  Hell, he world needs it!

No comments: