Focusing on the Passion and Making It the Mission

passionOver this past week, I’ve been pondering what I would like to do with this site.  My friends assisted me with the items they would like to see, as well as identifying the items they already liked about the site.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret…keeping up appearances for this site is very time consuming.  I plan on changing that.  My personal goal is to start posting on a daily basis.  That means planning what will go up on this site well in advance.

Planning leads to doing.  I started creating the content, cooking up recipes, taking the photographs, writing the posts and then began to feel overwhelmed.

As I was slicing up the pumpkins for the October recipes, I started to feel that pang in my gut.  It was that pain of feeling stressed and overwhelmed as I was trying to do something right for myself.  It’s that irony of the site’s name…wanting to be perfect.

I stopped what I was doing and re-evaluated why I was doing this.  What was my current mindset?  I realized I was stressing myself out and not enjoying the ride.  If I didn’t change my mindset then I was going to end up with a bunch of crap meals.  You see, I am of the belief that how you are feeling as you prepare your food is a direct correlation with how well your food will taste.

People who love to cook tend to make food taste incredible because you can taste their emotion in the food.  I used to watch one chef create meals for me on a whim.  I would watch him as he poured his love for food and cooking right into the meal.  A simple fried egg tastes so different when such care is taken than one created with no emotion or feeling.  It’s about passion and sharing that passion with someone else.

I didn’t want all of the food I was making to taste horrible, so I changed my mindset and focused on why I love to cook.  As a result, everything turned out so well, my friend was surprised at how flavorful everything tasted.

Changing my mindset was all about reminding myself what I am passionate about and why.

I met with filmmaker Edwin Walker today for lunch.  He is in town from LA filming a new movie.  We met last year (see link to our story).  There was something about the timing when we met last year.  He mentioned to me that when we met, it was like a turning point in our lives.  There was something about the direction our lives would take and the people we would become after our first meeting.

We became so inspired by each other to live life fully and passionately.  Since we met, I have been trying to find my passion in life again.  I only find that my passion comes when I write and when I am being myself and not focusing on what other people want from me.

You see, we live in a world filled with mediocrity and false lives.  We struggle every single day to be perfect in our Instagram photos, Twitter, and all forms of social media.  Reality TV makes people believe that these stories we see are real lives, when it’s just an act.  We become depressed when we don’t have over a thousand friends or followers.  We feel like we are failing at life when people are not following us or reading our work or we’re not getting hundreds of thousands of hits on our sites or Youtube videos.

Life for most people has become about the get rich quick schemes, becoming viral, and making a ton of money in the process.  It’s not about creating a passion project and putting your blood, sweat and tears into it.  It’s about the instant gratification, not the eternal happiness.

We have to constantly think of how to falsely entertain people to make you think that our lives are super glamorous, even when, for many people, it is not.  People become superstars for portraying a life on reality TV, even though there is nothing real about their lives on that TV show.

It is like a drug addiction.  It’s about that instant high that makes you feel happy for a moment, instead of working on what will make you happy for life.

People don’t watch real artistic movies or qualitative television programming anymore. They’re flocking to the latest ‘explosive’ blockbuster where it’s very little script, and more action with everything blowing up every other minute.  The shows that make you think are constantly being canceled.

Children don’t go home and watch cartoons for half an hour like I did when I was a kid.  They watch four-minute Youtube videos for entertainment, because they can’t sit through a half hour cartoon anymore.

People complain about the ‘long form’ on blogs.  They don’t want to read a long drawn out story.  They want glamorous photos with very little text…maybe one paragraph of text and that’s it.  They want to see people living these lives that are so far fetched.  It’s like watching a fairy tale or a soap opera.  They assume it’s real, when it is only a glamour.

It’s depressing isn’t it?  It’s like comparing ourselves to the Joneses.  We try to emulate these people on a daily basis, as if that is how we are supposed to act and live, even though what they are doing on that reality TV is an act.  It’s not real.  People assume it is real and follow suit, like this is how they are supposed to act, think, live and dress…no matter how outrageous it is.

We’re supposed to get plastic surgery to be pretty.  If you’re ugly, that means you’re too poor to look perfect.  As one friend said, it’s what separates the rich from the poor.  That is the culture we live in.

People sweat it out and diet, not for themselves, but to look and be thin and accepted.  I mean, Donald Trump talks about how horrible it is for women and girls to be fat or ugly.  If you are overweight or gain weight, you are called nasty names and meant to feel less than what you are.

When you look at street style photos, they never ever photograph fashionable women that are not thin.  I know because I’ve watched thin, beautiful women pulled out of line at fashion shows to be photographed for street style, while the fashionable curvy ladies are overlooked.  I have yet to see a single curvy blogger be selected in the slideshows for street style photos, even if they do have more followers than that thin, pretty girl that was pulled out of line to be photographed.

It is as if to say that X is the only thing acceptable in society, which then creates the unhealthy narrative of what it means to be a human being.  We see what is on the outside, the shell, and never what is on the inside that makes each and every single one of us great individuals.

The narrative in our society today is about the false perceptions of reality.  It’s the quick fix drug that makes you feel something for a moment, to make you forget what is real in your life, instead of focusing on how you can make your life better.

People don’t want the stories that help them self-reflect, connect and learn something.  They don’t go see movies that will inspire them to be better human beings.  They don’t want to see movies that will fix what is wrong with them on the inside.  They only want those things that will help them escape reality, instead of focusing on creating a better reality for themselves and the people around them.

People focus on how they need to be fit, thin, beautiful, well-dressed, rich and famous in order to be accepted in society.  You have to have thousands of followers before anyone takes you seriously.

I know there are publishing houses that have said that they are not interested in talking to you unless they see you have over 1,000 followers on Twitter (and yes, they do check to see if your followers are real or if you bought a bunch of dead accounts).  That puts you into the 5% of people that do.  That’s the 5% they are willing to talk to and work with.

Back in the day, when I was working with bands, each record company said they were only interested in talking to bands that had a following already.  The artist needed that following before they would even listen to their music.  This, of course, was before blogs and social media were in the picture.  It was a lot harder back then to create a following, because they didn’t have social media to help spread the word.

What I’m getting at is this…

I’m glad I started talking about re-branding with my friends.  What they were asking of me was to be raw and real on this site.  Even Edwin today stressed that being real is what made this site unique.  I was sharing the stories of people that needed to be told.  These are the people that are living their lives passionately.  They are living their dreams.

Edwin wanted me to focus on my passions in life.  For me, that is writing, books and movies.  In my universe, all of those things are interconnected.

Last year, I discovered that my main followers and readers of this site were the entertainment and film industry.  I was doing something they needed.  I wasn’t putting out stories or reviews like everyone else.  I was telling the narrative untouched by the big dogs of the entertainment industry.  I was sharing the art and the passion…the reason why people got into acting, directing, filmmaking, writing, art, etc.

No one ever talks about that anymore.

I noticed recently that a film short that is turning into a feature film soon has been publishing their poster with a quote from me from this site.  I didn’t even notice it until I started reading the film’s poster and was like, ‘Wait…that sounds like me…’ and then I saw my site’s name underneath it.

I kind of did a little leap for joy when I saw it, because that directs more people in the film industry to this site.  This site, of course, is not about entertainment news.  It is about living life passionately.  In a way, the site’s name is about me being that perfectionist in the same way all artists strive for perfection in their art.  They are just looking for people to understand that dynamic and passion that went into their art.

Unfortunately, the art is always 80% business, 20% art.  I learned that a long time ago.  I’ll be honest, it is that 80% I hate about writing, because that 80% is what stresses me out all of the time.  It prevents me from being me and writing more.

I believe that is the real reason why I don’t post as often as I would like to do on this site, because it becomes more about business than it does about the art.  I plan on changing that mindset.

The business side is going to need to be something I am passionate about so that I can create.  I need to ask myself if what I am doing is a true reflection of who I am, because truthfully, I am not going to share anything that is not true to who I am.  There is too little time in life to waste it sharing the things that have no meaning.  I am not going to participate in the mediocrity that has consumed the lives of the world around us.  This is about being raw and real about everything.

What I do not share on this site is in actuality the side of me my friends have asked that I start sharing.  They want me to share my journey in life.  It is the narrative I don’t share completely.

You may think, ‘oh, this is going to be a dull and drab journey,’ when in actuality, it is quite surreal.  Like the irony of sharing the Russell Crowe binge on the site is that 15 years ago, would you believe he actually serenaded me in Chicago, Illinois?

Or that when I started the Russell Crowe binge, Paul Haggis (“Crash,” “The Next Three Days”) had stalked my Instagram account and liked a bunch of photos on it?  I hadn’t even gotten to “The Next Three Days” yet, and here the director was on my Instagram liking a bunch of photos on it.  How is that for irony?

Or how about meeting fashion designer Malan Breton and just being so enamored with our conversation that I looked at him like, if I could talk to you for the rest of my life, I would be one happy woman?  He was the first person that ever looked at me and told me right off the bat what my ethnicity was.  No one has ever been so spot on.  I think what was even cooler was that he knew who I was before I even introduced myself.

This is the world my friends want me to talk about.  One friend said that I had always told her these stories about the life I lived.  She said that she never even imagined how real that world really was for me until she saw how famous people would walk right up to me and we would have these long, drawn out conversations that were so intriguing.

It amazed her even more when she realized these people knew who I was, even if we were just meeting for the first time.  This is the world she wants me to share, because it is so surreal.  She wants me to share the gowns I wore.  Others want me to share the fashion I wear on a daily basis.  They want me to talk about the events I go to, because not everyone has that kind of life.  It’s a dream life.

It’s about that VIP status.  It’s a status I’ve had since my days in Washington, DC, where I could hear other society women complaining that I had what they wanted…status.

When I first moved to NYC, my boss told me that he knew when I was hired that I was known in societal circles in DC.  He told me that if I wanted to enter NYC society, he would help me, but he warned me that it was pretty mean.

I remember thanking him for offering to introduce me, but I would rather go at it alone, choosing who I would like to surround myself with, rather than trying to be accepted by a group of people that seeks to destroy the people around them.  In NYC there are different forms of VIP.  The number one thing you need is money and being constantly seen in those VIP circles.  After a while, you stop paying for the VIP treatment, because it comes to you for free.

You get the invites.  You stop running around trying to be accepted by the in crowd or pursuing people for interviews by going through their publisher or agent.  After you’ve established yourself, they come to you.  You don’t have to pursue anything in life anymore because you are ‘in.’

That is the world my friends want me to share, because not everyone is allowed into that VIP world.  It’s not always about parties, getting into clubs, etc.  It’s about being in a room with incredible people like yourself and learning something from them.  It’s about experiencing life in a new way beyond just attending an event.  It’s about learning how the event came into being (like a film), meeting the people involved with creating this art, and letting yourself become inspired by these people and inspiring them by sharing your own journey.

It’s about the human aspect beyond the celebrity.  The celebrity part…that’s not real, you know that, right?  Celebrity is a false illusion.

I remember there was this guy who told me years ago he was famous.  I told him I didn’t believe him.  He spent the next year trying to prove to me that he was.  I still don’t believe that he is, but during that time, it created a friendship.  I never saw the celebrity.  I saw him.  I saw his passion in life and I wanted him to pursue it at all cost, so I helped him wherever I could.

You see, that is the true essence of who I am and what this site is about.  I am drawn to other people like me, the creative types and the people pursuing their dreams and living life passionately.  Why?  Because these are the people that inspire me to be the person I truly am inside.

We are always learning from each other and inspiring each other.  It’s about sharing our journeys together and helping each other in our own ways.  That is the life I’m talking about.  There’s the glamour on the outside, but the true essence at the core is what is more important.  This is the stuff that The PW is all about.  It’s not about just the glitz and glamour of life.  It’s about the things that make us self-reflect in order to be true to our very own being.

This is about finding the true reality that is life.  What’s on the outside is always just the shell of a being.  It is not the true essence of what a human being is.  It’s the glamour.  In other words, it is not real.

It is the drug that makes you feel something for a moment, but never truly changing who you are on the inside.  It’s the drug that gives you temporary happiness, instead of focusing on healing what is inside of you and finding what true happiness is, your eternal contentment in life.

The Goal of This Site 

In trying to develop content on a daily basis for this site, and remaining true to myself as a writer (i.e. to write the novel, as well), I will be incorporating a version of the KonMari practice in minimizing my life.  I am setting out to learn how to make things simpler so that I can post daily.

I am going to attempt to accomplish this goal beginning today.  Along the way, hopefully, I’ll discover new and easier ways to create content without feeling overwhelmed (don’t worry, I’ll share my discoveries, because I’m sure that can help many others out there looking to simplify life).  It’s that overwhelmed feeling that keeps me from being passionate about this site.  I seek to change that, because this is supposed to be my passion project.  I just need to focus on what makes me so passionate about it.

For now, I’ll be testing the water in new ways.  There will be movies, books, home, arts, fashion, This Is 40, and more on this site.  It’s not about what I think people want to read.  This is going to be about the passion in life.