We need more female directors.
That was my first thought after watching An Invisible Sign which was directed by Marilyn Agrelo. A woman. Which is nice.
But then I got to thinking about my childhood and about my life now. When I was little I was (and probably still am) a weird kid. I wanted to know everything. I wanted to do everything. I wanted to like everything. Except pink. I didn’t want to like pink.
Pink was girly. Pink was everything I didn’t want to be. It represented vapidness, shallowness and above all it represented meanness. The girls who liked pink didn’t want to know everything or be anything. They wanted the boys to notice them, to make the cheer squad and to be as feminine as possible. They made me feel bad for not feeling that way. I wanted to go to space camp, dig up dinosaur bones and be the best catcher in my softball league. They didn’t understand me and I didn’t understand them and in the end that was totally okay.
We are all okay now. We are adults with lives and ambitions and just because they weren’t the same doesn’t mean any of us were wrong. But, what it meant for me was that I had a little adversity to overcome and most of it was brought on by me. When I think back to all the times that I felt isolated and mocked I realized that most of the time it was in my head. When you are one of the few people who thinks a certain way you have a hard time seeing from anyone else’s perspective. I didn’t like how I made myself feel and I took it out on them and I think I’m still working through that.
Now though, I realize that it’s these same issues that I think a lot of people, including myself, are blinded with today. We grow up seeing movies and television and reading books that enforce how we all felt as children. They hone in on the way society made us all feel and how we made ourselves feel and that perpetuated the stereotypes of girly and manly and everything in between. All of that causes what I think may be the biggest injustice which is the fact that we forget how we actually feel. I hated pink. Not because pink was a bad color but because it made me feel less than the girls who did. And I missed out on a lot of great pink.
We all feel the same. What I mean is that we all have deep, crushing feelings and we forget that everyone has them too. We don’t need more female directors per se. We need more directors who know how they feel. J.K. Rowling successfully wrote a book from the perspective of a young boy. She did this because she realized the one thing that most people don’t. We all feel the same.
Harry Potter’s feelings, reactions and emotions were exactly how we all felt growing up. She wrote a character that could be any of us. Take away the gender and it’s still the same. That’s exactly what we need.
Fear is not forever.
When I was in middle school I wanted to paint my walls like Lothlorien. We didn’t have the money and even though I hated my pink walls they had to stay. I couldn’t understand why people painted their walls solid colors. A wall that’s a solid color is a wall. I wall that’s a forest could be anything.
Now that I am out of school and experiencing all of rigors of the real world I keep thinking back to my childhood and wondering why I thought that I could never have a truly creative job. I feel like I am dragging myself, kicking and screaming, into doing what I want to be doing. I knew I could be anything as long as anything was a lawyer, a scientist or a graphic designer. Being a writer, director or sculptor? That as never a realistic thing.
Now I’m surrounded by options and I have no idea what I want to do because I want to do it all. I want to create things in several mediums and express how I feel. I want to make movies, write a graphic novel and write a children’s book. I want to make completely immersive environments in parks, museums and galleries so that any kid can walk in and experience what it’s like to be somewhere else. I want to find my imagination again. The imagination I lost when I thought I couldn’t be something.
After that, I want to teach. I want every kid to know what they have at their feet. I want the limitations to stop and I want them to have someone to talk to about how they feel and to help them find the best way to express how they feel to the world. Because we need more people who feel.
We all feel the same.