Season 2 – epiBLOG 2:

Happy Tuesday to all of you! I’m excited to be writing on this month’s theme of “Freedom.” In these United States we have the freedom to be whoever we want to be. Whoever we create ourselves to be. And this is a good thing. Sometimes.

We create an image for social media and present our lives online, but we are only telling half-truths. Some of us like to share all the good stuff in our lives. Some of you share nothing but everything bad that has ever happened to you since the beginning of time. Some of you… well, a little balance of it all. Your social media is what you make it.

Today’s “epiblog” isn’t about Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networking site, but rather I’m wanting you to think about the half-truths that you present to the world, even in your personal connections with those that surround you. Those that you can actually give a live flesh and blood handshake to. Couldn’t we be stronger artists with deeper connections with people?

How can anyone get close to you if they don’t know who you are as a person? Who you are at your core? We lie for two reasons: (1) to get out of trouble or (2) to make ourselves look better than what we are or what we believe ourselves to be. Is there any other reason that human beings lie? No. No matter what, it always comes down to those two reasons.

I’m not suggesting spreading your personal life on social media, although I know some people do. Some may even say that I’m guilty of doing that through this blog series. However, my goal is to reach out to artists. To inspire artists. The only way that I feel I can effectively do this is if I exercise my FREEDOM to tell my whole truth so that others can relate.

But I digress… let’s remove social media from the equation…

Take a look at your personal life…

Do the people who you feel you are closest with know you at your core? Or do they only know you on a superficial surface that is as thin as an empty, unused plastic sandwich bag without the benefit of transparency?

Artists HAVE to be honest. This honesty shows up in your work, your painting, your sculpture, your book, your song, your music… your film. I believe that most of us [artists] allow ourselves to be free in our art, but what about with the people who love and support us along the way?

Speaking as a screenwriter – a filmmaker – we crave experience so that we may be authentic in our work. I imagine that all artists crave the same authenticity, the same freedom to not only truly live every moment, but to find the meaning behind the why’s and the what’s, and to capture them within art.

You have to have honesty in the relationships that you cherish most. The relationship with your wife, husband, partner, girlfriend, boyfriend, friend, sister, brother, son, daughter, extended family, and so forth.

Let’s imagine the following scenario…

What if you thought the world of your father because he presented an image all of your life as a person who creates an income to support his family? He spent quality time throwing the ball in the backyard in the evenings with you cause you just loved football growing up, and took you, Mom, and your siblings on trips to Disney World and the Grand Canyon for summer breaks? Maybe he helped you with your homework growing up and made sure he made time for you when you needed it. Awesome Dad, right?

Perhaps he even taught you the value of life by volunteering with you at a homeless shelter to feed the homeless once a month and by saving an injured dog on the side of the street when you were ten years old?  Maybe he taught you how to shoot your first gun as a teenager and how you have to respect the power that comes with a gun and to respect human life. But then, as an adult, you find out that he’s living a double life as an assassin. Far-fetched, but what if? All of this time, you knew a Dad that was “perfect” in your eyes, but really was far from perfect.

We fall in love with who we want people to be.  But the real love comes when you love people, despite their imperfections. Or despite what WE want for their lives.

I’ve disappointed my parents several times throughout my life. I missed curfew at times on the weekends in high school. I loved hanging out with my friends and I had no real excuse of being late other than the fact that I just wanted to hang out longer. I got married without my parents’ presence at the ceremony. It wasn’t done out of spite, but I know it was disappointing for my parents to not be there. Coming out of the closet at 32 years of age when that meant breaking up my traditional family was also disappointing to them. However, what I remember most about that time was that they said they love me no matter what – that there isn’t anything that would stop them from loving me. That’s something that I carry with me always. It’s something that I believe I carry with me in my subconscious every time I speak with them. To know that I can be who I am without lying or apologizing for it, is the freedom I always seek to have. It’s this authenticity that allows me to go deeper within my writing. To develop stronger characters and to explore the human condition in my stories.

Today’s LESSON is to NOT hide behind lies and to make sure you’re surrounding yourself with people who love you for you.

FUN ASSIGNMENT: Think about your closest relationships. What is something that you can share with that other person (or persons) that will allow your relationship(s) to be that much stronger and more authentic?

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