A Creative Leap of Faith
A reflection on the pursuit of creative passions, despite the delayed or entirely absent reward and success.
Let me introduce myself…
Hi all, my name’s Simone and welcome to Byte Your Expression!
I’m a recent English and Philosophy graduate based in Toronto ON and I suppose I’d define myself as a writer and amateur filmmaker—though I don’t always feel like my skills are worthy of these titles quite yet. I have experience in written work that ranges in style from academic to creative. If I had to define my areas of specialization, I’d refer to copy writing, storytelling, script writing, and poetry as my areas of expertise.
I have recently completed my very first, no budget, one-man short film titled BAD CURTAINS and I am working on an AI assisted short comic titled Agent of God. I am an avid cinephile and in my free-time I watch anime, write scripts/stories, read and challenge people to card games. I hope that in this creative space my writing may be of some value to the creative community. I am looking forward to refining my skills alongside my fellow B.Y.E. contributors.
See more of my work here.
This post contains a lot of pseudo-philosophical discourse that may make you wanna barf
Let’s first give Søren Kierkegaard a round-of-applause for conceiving the notion “a leap of faith.” Although Kierkegaard attributes this phrase to the unwavering belief in God (despite the lacking evidence), creative individuals like myself may resonate with the notion in an alternative context.
I’d like to first note that my family is no where near wealthy or even well off, and by extension neither am I. This means that as an adult I can’t rely entirely on my parents for financial support, and I understood this inevitable fate of mine from a young age. I am well aware that my economic-status doesn’t make me special, nor is it the worst of circumstances, but it is precisely why I never considered my interests in literature, writing, or cinema as practical means of employment. If one is concerned with the costs of shelter, food, and transportation, the smart choice is to acquire the means for these resources in the smartest, easiest, and fastest route possible. I did what was the smart move because like most second generation children in low-income households, I fear poverty. I went to school and completed my Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy, and planned to study law thereafter. But guess what? I detest law as a discipline and always have, though most people don’t like their jobs anyways—right? So long as the salary is attractive, all other factors such as joy become irrelevant.
Isn’t it such a funny idea to pursue a career you don’t enjoy, despite it occupying most of your living days on Earth? I didn’t think so until very recently. I was a conformist plagued by deliberation—as Kierkegaard would say—and I was more than willing to sacrifice the joys of existence for the comfort of a liveable wage. I will admit that this notion of sacrifice sounds dramatic and a tad ridiculous, but what are we to live for if not for our passions? What is the meaning of life outside that which we construct for ourselves?
THE CREATIVE CALLING
The creative calling spoke to me many times in the past and I often wonder how far along on my journey I would be if I had listened to it earlier. During the second year of my undergraduate studies I dropped out to pursue a degree at film school, only to cancel my admission and return to my BA program a semester later. This was my initial brush with what I pretentiously refer to as ‘the calling’. My backing out of film school was an act of cowardice, cowardice that stemmed from deliberation, and it set me back significantly. It was not until I graduated from my BA that I realized law school was not the path meant for me. Not because I was unintelligent or undisciplined, but because my heart wasn’t in it. I understood that law school, for me, would have been a 3 year sleep deprived sacrifice not worth making a second time over. The sacrifice I needed to make was that leap of faith—the pursuit of something meaningful to me even if it meant diving into an abyss and risking my chances of attaining that warm, inviting, livable wage.
OH SWEET NEPOTISM …
I often wish I were a nepo-baby that could just frolic around writing here and there without a care in the world, but not all of us are so lucky. I do not think that it’s impossible to acquire financial security as a creative individual , but it is definitely a difficult thing to achieve when you don’t have a disposable income and simultaneously need one to sponsor your creative endeavours. This is what mostly fuelled and continues to fuel my anxiety of pursuing the creative calling, but I know in my heart I couldn’t live a meaningful life if I rejected these passions that so desperately demand my attention. Aside from this crippling anxiety of living the starving artist life, there is also the fear of immeasurable failure that lingers in my mind.
As an over-thinker and a bit of a self-deprecator, the scariest thing for me is to pursue a creative career without certainty that I’ll succeed. Of course, if I studied law there would be no guarantee I would succeed at that either, but the chances of employment would be greater and the cause would seem nobler to most people than spending the next few years studying film production or creative writing.
Ever since I graduated and was forced to be honest with myself, my back has felt as though it were up against a poorly designed wall. In my anxiety ridden imagination, this wall is located on a 50-story building that is bound to crumble against too much pressure. The best I can do for now is work on my craft, develop my skill set, network, and mostly importantly, persevere. Perseverance is integral to success as we all know, but knowing is much different than doing. The act of settling still provokes me now and then. I often see friends and old classmates of mine pursuing prestigious career paths and I wonder if I would’ve been better off doing the same? I wonder time and time again whether the creative calling was nothing more than something hobby or pastime-worthy. And although I have already taken the creative leap of faith, so-to-speak, I often wonder if it were a mistake going down the path I’m on.
I am no expert on the creative leap of faith and I certainly do not know whether the decisions I’ve made are worth standing by or not. I do not know whether my work is good or how long it will take me to reap the rewards of my labour—but I suppose that is why the leap itself is faith based, right? You can never know what could have been without it first being, and perhaps I may fail and may never rise to the standards of my hero Christopher Nolan, but it really is about what fate would be worse; To disregard external pressures and follow your creative calling to an unknown destination, or to ignore the calling and become a well-paid cog in the machine? That is the ultimate question. I choose the former, at least for now anyways, and I hope that someday I can look back proudly on my creative leap of faith with no regret in mind.
I’ll see you fellow creatives on the other side!
Check out Simone’s contributor bio, and encourage her by leaving a comment!
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