Watching Hamilton for the first time in July was a life changing experience. . . Not because of the story itself, but because of Lin-Manuel Miranda.
I’ve been watching YouTube interviews with Lin-Manuel Miranda every night for the past two weeks. For probably the first time in my life, I’m seeing someone who creates in the same way I do. His creative energy feels the same as mine, like siblings or twins. We’re both drama nerds, actors, writers. We live in that weird cultural middle-ground: he’s a child of immigrants, I’m Canadian-Australian. And the way he loves people and characters and creating, and is just so PRESENT, it’s magnetic and I can’t tear my eyes away. I feel like my creativity tank fills up just being around him, even if it’s only through the internet. I’m inspired, and after what feels like forever, I finally have energy to make things.
I am jealous of Lin-Manuel Miranda. I don’t envy his success or his fame; I envy his freedom to create. I envy the support he has from his family, his fellow actors, and his co-collaborators. I envy his community. I envy his mental stability.
When I create I have to climb past and wade through
depression, anxiety, ADHD
utter lack of encouragement and support from people close to me
childhood trauma, international moving trauma
fundamentalist ghosts and church don’ts
and the ever-present brakes I put on my passion and enthusiasm.
Now, I’m sure Lin deals with his own hardships. It’s impossible to walk through life smoothly, and there are always obstacles on the creative road. (Though I’m quite sure Lin hasn’t dealt with evangelical purity culture or fundamentalism.)
But seeing someone who makes things freely, and (to my point of view) just has to deal with the regular junk that comes with creating, instead of a mountain of other stuff in addition to normal creative obstacles, well, it shows me how not-free I am. And that hurts.
It just eats me to see people doing the things I desperately want to do, but am not doing. (Acting. Creating. Writing screenplays. Running a sewing business. Living in their own cute apartment.) I’m jealous, envious and frustrated.
I can feel the flood of condemnation and “encouragement” coming in now.
Turn the hardships into creative energy! Now you have amazing experiences you can turn into art! Stop complaining and just work harder! The difference between you and Lin is that you just dream and Lin actually works. You shouldn’t be jealous of other people; it’s your own fault for not doing the things. Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure. . . How DARE you be jealous. The jealousy is your fault and it’s sin and you need to squash it IMMEDIATELY or else you will be a terrible human being.
Yes, this a woe-is-me post. But since when did lament get downgraded to complaining and stuffed into the “do not touch” box? We need lament to move forward. I need lament to move forward.
See, every time I would feeling longing and sadness which I also called envy, it would come with that ton of guilt and shame as well. That only shut me down further and made me even more frustrated. If I push away the envy, I also push away the desire and the energy to do the things I want to do. So I will sit with the envy and frustration
I am sad about not doing what I want to do. I am grieving the things that I’ve not done because of all the hard things I have to walk through. I will talk about how I hate the things blocking me.
It’s time to untangle lament from shame and silencing, grief from guilt, and longing from fear.
It’s ok to want things, and it’s ok to be frustrated that I’m not getting those things.