In the fall of last year, I entered into a magical contract. With myself.
Put another way, I received four Yak Sant tattoos. You can read more about the practice here. While in Cambodia with Habitat for Humanity I visited Master Seven Say (the actual yantra I received from one of his students) in Siem Reap and Master Chan Tra in Phnom Penh.
Yak Sant tattoos require the wearer to do good works, and to abide by certain principles, or their magical properties can "backfire" and bring bad luck. I am far from sainthood, but I do my best. I had been fascinated by the practice of Yak Sant for years— I discovered it when I first lived in Asia in 2007. But at the time my personal life was too unstable— I was too unstable— to have been able to live up to my end of the contract.
In 2016 when fate took me back to SE Asia, I finally felt ready. The Yantra tattoos I received in Cambodia are charms for protection, success, wisdom, and peace / balance. The promise I made was to uphold these values as a leader, a producer, and as an ethical businesswoman.
All of my tattoos are a promises have made to my body. On my side I have a huge heart with the words “MY BODY / MY HEART” (my yoga intention), on my ankles I have the Chinese immortal bird Feng Huang in its male / female aspect intertwined with a Triforce from The Legend of Zelda (for power, wisdom, and courage!), on my left arm I have a crown from Where the Wild Things Are and the words “BE STILL”, and on my right arm I have an orobourus and the words “RISE UP” (it’s not necessarily a #Hamiltat, but it’s not NOT a #Hamiltat), as well as the NC or “noncompliance” signal form the comic Bitch Planet.
I knew that 2017 was going to be a time of great transition and rapid professional expansion.
- I committed to earn income solely through POE Global, my production company. I achieved this goal. My dream job is (for now) also my survival job.
- I received a Tony Award nomination for Best Musical (as part of the producing team of NATASHA, PIERRE, AND THE GREAT COMET OF 1812).
- I hung out with Josh Groban!
- I attended the Sundance Film Festival for the first time, and it was Fancy as Fuck.
- I held a backers reading for a new musical in development with Preston M. Allen, and am working towards further development.
- POE Global took on two additional properties (including a television show!), and I have identified the next Broadway musical I want to co-produce.
- I landed my first major client as an Executive Producer, and am currently working towards an off-Broadway production with some really exciting partners.
- I mentored multiple #ladyproducers, and worked with multiple clients to develop their work towards production.
- I have been interviewed by several major companies for fancy positions with fancy salaries and while each time I opted to continue working as a free agent, it’s definitely nice to be validated as an Exciting Professional That People Want to Work With.
- I more than doubled the amount of investment dollars I have raised for theatrical projects than in 2015 and 2016.
- I was interviewed by the New York Times and the Guardian, and was a speaker at multiple public and private events.
- I secured an A-list creative team for a new musical I am developing with a fellow #Ladyproducer who makes my life wonderful in a million different ways. Together we have raised the full amount we set out to in front money, and this was no small task. This project can be announced soon, I promise.
This is all, objectively, Pretty Fucking Cool. I’m absurdly grateful.
But this was a hard year too. As a first-time self-employed CEO, there were times when I didn’t know how or when I would be able to pay rent. I went through a (very loving and compassionate, but) painful breakup at the beginning of the year. Prince died. David Bowie died. A number of relatives died in quick succession. A show I care about deeply closed under a whirlwind of controversy.
Privately, I struggled inside one of the hardest and long-lasting stretches of depression I have been through in decades. Even with therapeutic and medical support, there were days and weeks where I couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t work, couldn’t find the energy to call friends for support.
And, of course, the world has been on fire.
Going through periods of professional accomplishment under a cloud of depression and alongside political upheaval can be confusing and disorienting. Most people assume that because you’re “doing great” you must be feeling great.
However, having gotten to work more closely with a number of creative powerhouses this year— I also discovered that I’m not alone.
My colleagues and my heroes are those who fail big, fail again, and fail better. They are willing to be creatively courageous, and creatively messy. They work to make changes to create a more just and inclusive creative industry, and in doing some are sometimes ungraceful. But they try again. They fail big, fail again, and fail better.
In 2018 I hope to continue living up to the magical contract I made in Cambodia. I will work to take the creative projects I have been developing towards production. I will work to make POE Global bigger, bolder, and brilliant.
I hope to have wisdom.
I hope for the strength to earn my success.
I hope that my heart, and the hearts and bodies of my artistic family, will be protected.
I hope for a world that may one day live in peace and balance.