At some point during my childhood I realized that I needed a career. I needed a career I felt passionate about. I mean, what was the point otherwise? To live a boring life, doing things that meant nothing to me? That was not an option. I became determined to find the thing that made me tick, that made me feel alive and creative. So, I set out on a journey toward self-discovery.
Part 1: The Magnification of Small Things
The first career I pursued was Scientist, broad but relevant at the time. I was five when this passion woke. What I really wanted was to follow my curious mind and explore, to breakdown the world around me and take a closer look. I began doing this by looking through magnifying glasses and my microscope at things I wanted to understand- a bug, a spec of dust, a cut on my skin, the fibers of my clothing.
Eventually the dream of being a “Scientist” morphed. At one point I wanted to be an inventor. I wanted to understand technology and how that technology worked. I saw creativity in modern inventions and solutions to problems.
From there, I moved on to a general examination of my surroundings. I watched the movie Harriet the Spy. Harriet wrote down everything she saw and contemplated the lives of others. I started doing the same. I carried a notebook around with me everywhere, pretending it was just a diary, when actually it was more, a whole world that I observed and captured in writing.
Part 2: Meet Jo March
There were two films from my childhood that really set me on the path to become a writer. One was Nickelodeon’s Harriet the Spy, as mentioned above. The second: Little Women, the 1994 film adaption. Jo March was a female heroine that I related to and who represented me- strong, rowdy, and career driven. She wanted to be a writer and I saw myself in her. I wanted to write. I had to write.
The first stories I wrote were essentially plagiarized versions of my favorite books. Little Women, Ella Enchanted, and A Wrinkle in Time went through the Elizabeth-retelling. In time, I started making up my own stories. I wrote short fiction, plays, and movies that I forced my friends and brother to help me produce.
This was the foundation for my writing and eventually I would learn about style, structure, and mechanics. In high school I found Journalism via my school newspaper, where I really learned how to write and give purpose to my writing.
Part 3: Textile Dysfunction
I remember the moment when I first thought about my clothing on a level beyond basic necessity. I was ten, on my way to graduating elementary school, and a member of my school’s Safety Patrol. Manning my post, which meant keeping the flow of pedestrian traffic moving and yelling “no running” at any speedy rebels, I noticed a girl in my class wearing flared jeans. It was 1999. I looked down at my own tapered jeans, a fashion staple of the 90’s, and felt that I didn’t fit in.
Going into sixth grade, I insisted that my mom take me shopping for flared jeans, new tennis shoes, and a tattoo choker necklace. That was the seed of how fashion appeared on my radar. I soon got over the superficiality of “fitting-in”, but clothing became an interest, a form of self-expression. It’s cliche, but when you’re a shy kid, like I was, you find what makes you unique and hold onto it. I poured through the pages of Vogue, Teen Vogue, and Marie Claire as a teenager and discovered fashion that suited me.
Both my mom and grandmother sewed and I learned from them. First constructing clothes from patterns and then from my own sketches. This interest stayed with me for years. During my second year of college, I decided to change my major to Fashion Design, taking studio art and design classes. My third year I transferred to Savannah College of Art and Design. I sewed, sketched, made patterns, and draped. After two years of Fashion Design, it set-in that I did not enjoy the work and it was not what I wanted. I transferred back to my previous college and pursued a Journalism degree.
My college experience was not traditional. I transferred schools four times and settling into a major took a while- but that’s a story for another day.
Part 4: On the Media
I finished undergrad with a degree in Print Journalism, which allowed me to do a lot of writing. Right before my final year of college, on a whim, I changed my minor from English to Film/Video. I had no real experience in Film, but I wanted to try my hand at screenwriting. I ran into a problem, though. When I switched my minor, I didn’t realize that the Screenwriting class was full for the Fall. I was given the option to take the Film Production 1 class instead. It ended up being a blessing in disguise that launched my career into what it is today.
I took the Advanced Production class in the Spring and began finding freelance work in video production. A year after earning my Bachelor’s Degree, I was accepted into Florida State University’s Film Production M.F.A. program. I wrote and directed short films that screened in film festivals across the country and worked with very talented people.
I wish I could tie up this story in a little bow and say “that’s the end”, but it’s not and I don’t want it be. I do currently work in television production. I have a great job with a great company, but the reality is I’m more than just one job. There’s no telling where my career might lead. The writer that sparked life in me as a child has never gone away, obviously, because I have this blog. I’m writing a novel now and constantly produce short fiction. From time to time, I freelance. My curious mind still asks a lot of questions about the world some twenty years later and I seek to understand how things work.
Where does this history end? I have no idea.
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