I am already a star.

In the last three days I have created several pieces of art. At least. I have authored, shot, edited, and produced three videos. These videos are woven out of very different fabrics. They were constructed with very different intentions, but they share one commonality: Not one of them is guaranteed to provide me any money for my efforts.

One is for a band or group that many of you are fans of, or minimally will want to investigate after viewing.  It is a video that you will probably see in the coming days. I created it because I was in the right place at the right time and I saw a need. As a fan of their music and being in possession of a camera that day, I figured I would do them a solid. It resulted in my development as a shooter and editor. I made many errors in the filming of this piece, one of which was not switching the XLR cable and sound input to the on camera microphone, leaving me with just video and no audio. Frustrated, I stepped away from the project for a few weeks and only recently revisited the footage. I completed it last night. It is one of the best videos I have done to date.

Yet another piece is a video representation of what many in my collegiate peer group would refer to as their “favorite holiday”. My digital camera was broken, so where I would normally flick off, I shot video with my laptop. (#Laptape). The purpose was to showcase the celebration for those who were there and for many who were not in attendance. Additionally, I felt a responsibility to shed a positive light on an institution, my institution. We had been under so much recent scrutiny that I felt a happy “holiday” video would even the scales, if not tip them back in our favor. It became one of my best videos to date.

The last is a video for a singer that I do not know. It was the first time I have ever been asked to sit in on a studio session with an artist I didn’t know and film. The artist’s camp was fully aware that I did not own a digital camera and specifically asked that I Laptape it. I did. It is shaping up to be one of my best videos to date.

I have a mixtape. I am calling it a “Sitcom Mixtape” and it is a reflection of many of the ideas that I employ on a daily basis. These ideas center around my belief in what I was put on this Earth to be and to do. Both of these infinitives became the core of a curriculum that I taught this summer to kids who would not have had the benefit of my unique instruction had I not discovered my purpose in life. The Mixtape is called “Turn off the TV” and it is jamming. It is arguably my best work to date and definitely my best musical output.

Oh and I have this one man show called “Any1Man”. I have been told by people of all ages, races, and walks of life that it inspired them to turn their lives around and follow their dreams in a way that no material ever had.
But I am still thirsty.

People have told me that they read my blog, watch my videos, and listen to my music for inspiration. I have been thanked for my tweets, I have been lauded for my stage show, I have even received multiple text messages of gratitude for events I have thrown or attended simply because my “presence” was appreciated. Yet, I probably have less money in my account than they do. I haven’t purchased any clothes or luxury items in many months and only barely keep up with my phone bill and student loans. If one were to really examine they’d probably find me in some debt that I don’t know about. When I do get paid for a project, it is usually a hassle or an inordinate amount of time. It isn’t often that I can go on a “non-working” vacation or buy my mother anything nice. I get nervous when the bill comes to the table and rarely order what I really want to eat. Oh and when I travel, I secretly pray when I put my oversized bag on the scale, because if it’s overweight I may be skipping a meal.

Shocked? Sorry, but it’s best that you hear it from me. For I am not ashamed to live my life as an open book.

I am content, and more often than not happy. I get up every morning and for the most part, I do what I want to do. I am talented and I believe that for the most part, I use all of my gifts to glorify God. I do my best to turn the light towards Him when it is shined upon me. Being talented and charismatic would have netted more financial dividends at this point if He wanted it any other way. I am humble, because I am humbled every day. Oddly, I thank God for that because it is so obvious to me that it is His will–right now.

I have looked in the faces of those that appreciate my work. I have maintained contact with students I taught years ago. I have received letters from high school classmates that still remember the time I convinced them to share their poem at a school wide assembly. I know that there is more to life than money. I know that I am completely alive even when I am completely broke.

I don’t know what He has planned for me. I used to want to be famous, now I just want to stay happy. People tell me all the time that I am going to be a star. But if I can shine bright enough to lead someone else towards their path, if I can be a light that provides inspiration to someone, anyone on the path towards their Nirvana, then I am already a star.

“I give what I give to prove that I lived.”


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