It’s been…a while… since I’ve updated anything on my site. I apologize for being so silent for so long. The truth is, I haven’t really felt like I had much to update about. But today, I heard something that just about broke my heart.
For those of you who don’t know, this school year, I returned to my Alma Mater to teach. Going back to Richardson High School to lead the Freshman and Senior Magnet students is the best choice I could have made. I have felt so incredibly blessed and supported this year, and I am so excited to see how these students continue to grow in the years to come.
Today, I was talking with some of the students. One is a senior, about to graduate. The others are juniors, about to embark on their senior year, and thinking seriously about what they’ll do after high school. They were comparing their desires to pursue performance with the desires of their peers to pursue science.
“They’re saying ‘Bioengineering.’ ‘Neuroscience.’ And then I say ‘Acting.’”
Why are they so embarrassed by their choice of career? Because it’s not scientific?
Why does this stigma around performance even exist? Without actors there would be no movies, TV, etc. The things people spend their money on to enjoy their free time would not exist without artists.
I know that anyone who has ever pursued acting, or art of any kind, has been met with some variation of the question, “When are you going to get a real job?” And I cannot adequately express how angry that question makes me. Without art, we wouldn’t have any of the things that people spend their time doing, or that help society function. Music? Movies? Company Logos? Television? Radio? Paintings? Sculptures? Family Portraits? All of these things, and I’m sure many more that I haven’t named, would simply not exist.
Honestly, I am tired. I am so tired of having to defend my work. Not my teaching, I don’t mean that. I mean my acting. My performance. It’s been 2.5 years since I’ve been on stage, but I still consider myself an actor. I worked on a student film and a Suicide Prevention video this year! And my goal, ultimately, is to be able to act full time. And I should not have to defend that choice to anyone, least of all myself.
And so, to my students, please hear me:
Never be ashamed of what you do. Your artistry matters. YOU matter. You are not less than. You are not unintelligent. They are not smarter than you.
Choosing to major in science is a completely different choice than choosing to major in performance. That’s all it is: a choice. It’s not a better choice than yours. Do not be embarrassed. Do not be ashamed.
You’re choosing to study and pursue Art? Great! Give those scientists something to enjoy and unwind with at the end of their day.
Do not be embarrassed. Do not be ashamed. It will only give other people permission to ridicule you. And they have no right to make you feel small.
You’re an artist. Go make art. And be proud of what you create. The world needs your Art.