I wore a red outfit the other day for the first time in my life. To look at me, wearing red while interacting at an industry event, you wouldn’t have known it was a big deal. But it was a significant milestone, because I was willing to be seen.
In this business, there are so many cultural biases against me. I’m a woman. I’m overweight. I’m so not hip – I’m a mom from Sherman Oaks. But I want to play with the big boys because of my passion for storytelling and filmmaking. I have to be a director, I am compelled to do it, even though I don’t fit the standard description. But none of that external stuff matters when the inherent drive is to tell a story visually, to bring a script to life. We are all the same underneath.
I was at a meeting yesterday of the Women’s Steering Committee of the Directors Guild of America, where women talked passionately about their own desire to direct and the cultural roadblocks in their way. I’m one of the lucky ones who has been given the opportunities to express myself and tell stories and command a set. I count my blessings every day, but I know now that I wasn’t claiming ownership of that director’s chair as well as I could. In past years I would have worn black and sat in the back of the room. At this meeting I wore turquoise and sat at the front. I’m no longer afraid of judgment.
Before recent evolutionary jump, I didn’t want to call attention to myself. I wanted to blend in, to skate under the radar, to be part of the middle and not the top. In work, that meant that even though I was the director, I was quiet. I didn’t have a big personality or a big voice. I still think that’s a good way to go, but now the difference is that if someone sees me for who I really am, I’m okay with that. It’s about self-acceptance, self-love. It took me all these years to love myself for who I really am, so it’s okay for others to see me and love me too.
I had to take a deep breath just now and be willing to let that sentence stand without backpedaling, without hitting “edit” and “cut”. It’s my time to own myself for all that I am. It’s my time to wear red.