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Big Country Blues Trailer
Sarah e Jacobs recognized as OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES at LA Webfest! And nominated for BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA at ITVFest! Click to watch the trailer!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Universal Language

I sat on the makeshift bleachers in the middle of the trendy Soho office. An office I’ve been in multiple times over the years from my days as a promo model, hired by the Events company that inhabits the colorful space. In the past, I would be there to get briefed on the upcoming event I would be working. Usually it entailed standing on a street corner for long hours in all weather patterns selling or explaining someone else’s product that started as someone else’s dream.

From the event.
But this time was different. This time my Business Partner and I were invited as young, creative entrepreneurs and Co-Founders of The Wellness Project. We were invited to add to a wine-abetted conversation about what it means to Protect Your Magic, a movement started by another young, creative entrepreneur. I sat there, conversation swirling about the room, teeming with passion and purpose, and ethereal intelligence, and I couldn’t help but have a slightly less grandiose version of Oprah’s “full circle moment.”
How in the hell did I get here?
I don’t write much about The Wellness Project, but my life right now is consumed with my building this business. And there’s something that people don’t really tell you when they’re in the thick of building something new. It usually comes out later, and they say it with some nostalgic look on their face, as if it wasn’t really affecting, it was just something that happened and was left in the past. But here goes – starting your own thing is fairly terrifying.
Rachel and Me. Boots on the ground in SoHo.
And, I’m not a stranger to anxious energy. I’ve made a life of feeling terrified as I stand, costumed, in the wings. The light spilling from the stage to just before my waiting toes. It’s a discomfort that, over the years, I grew to find comfort in. But recently, the discomfort comes in waves unfamiliar to me. I’m trying to find my legs in a foreign sea of KPI’s, google documents, and PowerPoint “decks.” And aside from the general challenges of starting a business, I’m finding that I’m having to explain myself to certain people now more than ever…
Him: “So, what do you do?”
Me: “I’m an Actor and Nutritionist. Currently starting a business - a Corporate Wellness Program.”
Him: “Oh. Really? …That’s …so cute.”
Cute?
Or after giving an overview of TWP’s program, I've gotten, “look at you sounding like you know what you’re talking about…”
Sounding?
Ugh. I wish I were kidding.
With certain men (it’s just fact that no woman has ever responded like this) it’s like clockwork. He crosses his arms and the air around us becomes dense. His voice deepens, resonating in the space between us. Macho bullshit taking precedence over substance and progress. Without even knowing our business model, all sentences start, “you know what you should do…” or “let me tell you what you need…” And the questions come in swiftly and in numbers, the language getting more convoluted and ridiculous. I’m no longer participating in a conversation, I’m in front of a firing squad.
I am tired of my curves and long hair informing obnoxious assumptions. Sick of my face’s symmetry being confused for unintelligence. My conversational, friendly demeanor being mistaken for naïve exuberance. And my open and sentimental heart being seen as weak. It seems I have to lash my sharp tongue in order to get people to pay attention for the right reasons, and even then, I’m regarded as sassy or bossy – because it seems people have a hard time saying “smart” and “assertive” when it comes to describing women.
What upsets me even more than the feral condescension and immediate doubt is how it sometimes affects me. Frequently, I can very effectively shut down any joker that meets me with haughty resistance. But other times I seem to fall back, windless sails, and allow for such bullshit to commence before my eyes. My knees buckle, Nancy Kerrigan style, beneath my unsuspecting body.

I’d love to say that my skin is impenetrable, a force field of self-acceptance and confidence. But honesty is my goal here, not perfection. And, while I’ve clearly always accepted my sentimentality (this blog can attest), my sensitivity is something I’ve been fighting my whole life. I grew up with people constantly saying, “Sarah, you’re too sensitive.” And the pugilist in me always said, “Psh. Whatever. You don’t know me.” But #truth - they know me. And the honest fact is that despite what my face reads and my demeanor implies - I feel it more. Genuinely and quite viscerally, my body translates it to sparks just under the surface of my skin.
And I’ve been “feeling it” a lot lately. (Not to mention having made myself vulnerable in my personal life recently. More so than I have in years. …it didn’t fare well, but that’s a story for another day…) Anyhow, on top of the stress responses like wanting to eat cake for breakfast, this can be a bigger detriment if I allow it. But, I’m learning it can also be an incredible asset.
My authentic handwriting.
...like that of a 7 year old.
Back in the cool, SoHo office, in passionate discussion about "Protecting Your Magic," I fervently explained with conviction how I must protect my Authenticity, my chosen Magic. And I do this by investing in myself, saying yes and saying no, and by knowing when to fold.
The Devil’s Advocate came in the form of an Interior Designer sitting to my right. He kept arguing, “Why Protect? Why walk away? Why not share with everyone, spread your magic without boundaries?” The room joined in the bandying of ideas and thus the conversation got oxygenated life. I had already started writing this post, so my position in that room was timely. And my passionate disagreement with the Interior Designer (whom I hugged it out with immediately afterwards and we're now Facebook friends, btw) got me thinking. Am I being too protective?…
But after some thought, it’s not about not sharing. It’s about not giving it all away. It’s coming to the table with openness and complete vulnerability, but knowing that I will get up from the table with the same energy as when I sat down. That I will be as authentically me and as willing to put myself out there moving forward. And sometimes, that means being the one to push my chair back first.
Staying open is a daily practice, one in which sometimes I fail horribly. On occasion, reactionary, I do curl up, knees to chest and make myself as small as possible. And this goes for in my personal life, too.
But, I’m learning to use the porous nature of my skin to my advantage. Inspired by a common theme at SHEsummit, a conference I attended recently - succeed not in spite of my gender, but because of it - turn all of this energy I’m collecting, and make the decision to use it for fuel. Kindling that gathers at the base of my sternum. And when I do find myself in vulnerability hangovers, I work to pry my legs away from my chest and unfurl my ego from the fetal position. The key is to remain resilient – give credence not to the curling up, but to what happens afterwards.
So, I do need to protect certain parts of myself, like my Authenticity. That's contributed to how I got here. And it’s how I’ll get to wherever it is I’m going, while maintaining that same sense of who I was when standing on that street corner selling someone else’s dream.
On a run, lost somewhere in South Brooklyn, my mind was gripping onto various conversations I’ve had with naysayers, and I was missing relationships I’ve recently let go of. I turned an unfamiliar corner, hoping my brain would take cues from my body’s pivot. And on the next block, I was met with this –
I laughed. Out loud.

Then, about 10 or so blocks after that, I came upon a swingset and settled in. I faced the opposite direction of the little girls on the other end, opting for the view with more trees. On the backswing, between the links of a high fence, my eyes settled on the top of a distant building. And in bright pink letters, there it was again:
 
Ha! There are no accidents. Coincidence is merely listening when the Universe decides to talk.

1 comment:

  1. Very informative, keep posting such good articles, it really helps to know about things.

    ReplyDelete