Broke, Daring Artfully
For the past three years, I’ve been working with broken equipment. And every year, every month really, I vow to replace and repair my tools of creation so that I can properly and professionally do the work that I love doing so much; creating content. It started when the LCD (the display screen) on my DSLR camera stopped working, limiting my camera usage to only when it’s connected to my laptop. That was manageable enough, unfortunate for my freelance photography work though, but manageable for creating my YouTube videos. And then, after a software update in 2016, the keyboard and trackpad on my laptop also went kaput, forcing me to get an external keyboard and mouse, which makes commuting with my laptop extraordinarily fun (reader, it is not). Throw in a few phone mishaps (I finally had an upgrade this year so we’re all good there) and I have been the face of 1st world millennial struggle.
Like I said, it hasn’t been very professional, and I’m not sure what’s been more discomforting, my stung pride when those around me are subtly judging me like “Girl, get it together” or the fact that I’ve just sort of made do with what the electronic gods have dealt. I may have justified my circumstances, foolishly thinking that working while broken builds character. Like, “Wow, look at that girl taking spilled milk and making an even bigger mess when she could just ask for a paper towel and clean it up.” This all makes sense with the realization that I haven’t had steady income for more than a year for the past six years. I’ve been on this rollercoaster of working and not working, picking up any and all random gigs, getting fired and quitting, just running the gamut of employment bingo. With all my income going straight to rent, being able to budget/afford replacements and repairs is not even properly prioritized in my poor choices to make.
If I’m honest though, taking an observant step back, I guess my equipment reflects the state of things in my career/life as well. From being broke financially, to feeling broken in esteem and purpose, the pieces of my life got shattered at some point and I haven’t found the glue to put them back together. And sure all things broken can be fixed, unless it’s glass (and of course the jury is still out on broken hearts), but what about the task of fixing my broken sense of purpose and sidetracked ambitions? What if I fix the broken gear only for it to be broken again because somehow I missed the sign that the real brokenness that I needed to deal with is what’s broken on the inside? What if I’m just stalling? And if I am, why?
The first acknowledgement I can make is that I’m not satisfied with where I am right now. I often think about shutting down The Storyscape because I don’t see the point of its existence anymore. Not that I don’t have ideas anymore, there are plenty, but without a purpose I don’t have the passion that begets consistency and direction. There’s no message. There’s no thread. There’s no glue. It’s like wanting to create a film, but not knowing what the story is; wanting to write a story, but not knowing what it’ll be about. Should you just attack a blank page blindly with words and punctuation? Do you just set up a camera and fill it with random footage of anything? Can I just make a bunch of noise and call it music? And while I’m there yelling into the abyss and hoping for a Grammy, my Pro Tools subscription is about to be deactivated because I’m delinquent on bill payments. (I don’t actually have Pro-Tools, but substitute any bill and hopefully the metaphor sticks its landing).
This is the kind of confusion clouding my mind right now. All my dreams just scattered about, waiting on me to be put back together, and me waiting on some metaphorical glue that may or may not do the trick. Maybe my purpose will make its grand entrance any day now, and I’ll make sense of who I am and what it is I set out to do. Then I can finally get about the business of putting all these broken pieces in working order.