For artists questioning themselves due to COVID-19

There's no shame in the game.

Obviously, the Coronavirus pandemic has affected all of us in ways we could never have imagined. What I’m about to talk about doesn’t compare to the lives lost, families shattered, or anyone’s direct experience facing this virus. This virus is very real and for those who haven’t directly been affected by it, check yourselves and your privilege, because damn have we been lucky. But, I’m not here to talk about that today. I’m here to talk about all you artists out there who need a little reminder.

I don’t want this to come off like I have all of my shit together. Trust me, I’m faaar from put together at this moment. But I have realized a few very important things when it comes to who I want to be, where I want to go, and how I see myself getting there — all thanks to acknowledging my mortality.

Some of you actors, dancers, and creators might not agree with what I have to say. That’s okay, you don’t have to. (That’s the whole point of diversity, right?) But if there’s anyone out there who was also experiencing an identity crisis amidst being in isolation, these little truths might help ease your scattered mind:

1. You’re exactly where you’re meant to be.

Yes. The old, insensitive phrase that you’ve heard from countless bad listeners.

But have you considered the truth in this? What if you changed your story of things happening to you to things happening for you? No one’s path is the same, ESPECIALLY as artists. This is just another part of your story. Stay open and optimistic — don’t let yourself become bitter.

2. Success is on your own terms.

Does this always feel true? HELL NO. But is it true? To me, yes.

Defining what success means to you will help you better reach your goals. One person’s idea of fulfillment will be entirely different from another’s. We must define our own success, work our asses off, and continue to give ourselves grace. What’s one thing you could be doing right now that you’re not?

3. Choosing to pursue more than one thing isn’t “giving up.”

Mind-blowing, right?

Yes, it’s okay to want to pursue something else you are passionate about alongside your artistic endeavors. Don’t let others tell you that you can’t because you can. If acting or painting isn’t the only thing you love and you’re also passionate about yoga, why can’t you dedicate time to getting certified? Being able to support your craft doesn’t have to be miserable. We need to eat, right? So put your energy towards things you enjoy instead of pigeonholing yourself and remaining unsatisfied at your day job. You will never be your career, so what will you choose to be?

I choose to be fulfilled, vibrant, well-rounded, and dedicated. My passion lies with acting and creating, but also with wellness advocacy and writing. I won’t listen to the old story preached over and over that I can’t put my attention on anything other than my art. Look at Julianne Hough, The Rock, even Leonardo DiCaprio all dedicating time to other things they are passionate about. You don’t have to be a celebrity to do the same. But hey, that’s just my opinion.

4. It’s okay to feel uninspired, but it’s not okay to stop trying.

Giving yourself grace is incredibly important. Try finding harmony in being gentle with yourself and pushing yourself. Unfortunately, it looks like we’re going to be in this for quite a bit of time; let’s attempt to take advantage of this downtime in ways that serve us.

Reading plays, becoming a student again, writing morning pages, planning and daydreaming, artistic exploration, moving the body… these are all different ways we can be exercising our artistic muscle. Yes, it is a muscle. Just like we dedicate time to exercising our physical body, we need to dedicate time to strengthening our artistic self. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron talks a lot about this and I highly recommend reading this book for a light kick in the booty.

5. DON’T. GIVE. UP.

Reading the words is easy, but for some it’s really hard not to quit right now.

Giving up is easy, but resilience is hard.

I want you to know that I’m in your corner.

I believe in you.

Have faith in the Devine and you will find your way.

Stay safe and healthy, xoxo

Leah <3

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