Resolutions for 2023

I know some people think it’s cliche, but I think it’s a good thing to use the beginning of the year to re-evaluate one’s goals as a human being and set some new goals for the upcoming year. Being a human is an ongoing process, and we can all find ways to improve. 

I can personally think of a million ways to improve myself. As always, I do want to lose a few pounds, save a few dollars, and spend more time doing things I love, but like many people, I can dig a bit deeper to  find something harder to work on.

One thing that has dominated my life since I started it 20 years ago is the theater that I founded in 2001. I realize the only reason that I ever thought that a two bit actress with a working class family and literally no safety net whatsoever in anything had the ability to  start and run a theater was because I was young, and social media did not exist yet to force me to compare myself to others. Because of my complete ignorance and desire to do something genuine, it not only happened, but has existed for over 20 years now, chiefly on my own steam.  It has had its highs and lows over the years, with more successes than failures, and I’ll never be sorry that I made it happen, but it’s also been a source of a couple of significant nervous breakdowns. Not because I didn’t believe in what I was doing, but because I let other people hold power over how I felt about what I was doing. At some point, you have to admit to yourself that you are the one who controls your power, not other people.

It really used to get to me that I was the only one giving up my life all the time for the theater’s projects. Other people wanted it there when they could use it, but would often be MIA unless they were directly benefiting from it. And the people for whom I was creating a place to shine were usually the ones who always got all the credit when something was good. Often, I would take a huge risk to give a young artist a place to begin and have a real project to do, only to have them make it clear that they had no respect for me when they decided they had enough experience to move on. I took that kind of thing personally, until I taught myself that having a generous nature and giving some power to others to use is not a bad quality. Ungratefulness is. It’s not a negative reflection on me when others behave badly.  I can’t change who I am, or how people react to me. I can only control my own reaction to things and who I allow into my life. I don’t always succeed at this, but I am doing much better with it now that I have resolved to stay mindful of it.

Most of why I have taken things so personally has been because of some traumatic relationships I endured growing up. That’s true of many people, and it’s really hard to unlearn those patterns of seeking approval from people who will never give it to you, or being afraid of disappointing others to the point where you’re constantly letting yourself down. It takes a lifetime of work just to set boundaries, but I feel like I’m finally getting somewhere with that.

So my resolution this year is to not only continue the hard work of remembering my own value and not letting others define it with their words and actions,  but also to compassionately refuse access to anyone who does not treat me with respect. It is also to remember that just because I hold someone in high esteem doesn’t mean they return the sentiment. I have often thought I was good friends with someone who made it clear at some point that I wasn’t even on their B list. That’s on me, not them.   At the same time,  I don’t owe anyone a friendship or support in a project. I don’t even have to go to any show, party or event I don’t want to or call anyone back who constantly wants something from me and never returns the favor. 

My time and talents and love are all valuable, and people need to earn those things from me.  Nobody takes your personal power. You have to give it to them. 

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