Over this past weekend, a picture showed up in my memory feed on Facebook. The picture was from the Borealis Film Festival, back in April 2015. In the picture, I’m holding the two trophies for the honors that my short films received. Lights won “Best Dramatic Film” and ms and me won “Best in Festival”
At the time, that was exactly the boost that I needed. Both of those short films were a culmination of everything I had come to learn during my academic career, and as my time in academia was ending, I was scared that I wasn’t where I should be.
I knew that the Borealis Film Festival wasn’t a huge prestigious event. It certainly wasn’t comparable to Sundance or Cannes. It was being held at my university, and there weren’t many submissions. Nevertheless, it was my first time showing my work on a big screen in front of people at a public venue. It was a milestone event for me.
When my films received the honors that they did, I was floored. It was an amazing feeling. What started off as an amazing feeling, however, soon became more stressful.
Despite the fact that the festival wasn’t prestigious, I started having lingering feelings of anxiety. Would my future work live up to this? How would my future work be received when compared to this? Did my career just peak? What if it’s all downhill from here?
These feelings aren’t good at fostering a creative atmosphere for writing new projects. I found myself growing stagnant. I was still working, but I wasn’t working on creating anything new of my own. I was too worried about meeting this imaginary standard I had set for myself. Nothing seemed good enough.
I’m still dealing with this anxiety, no matter how much I try to nip it in the bud. My work pace has slowed. I’m far more critical of myself. The best thing I can do with this hyper-awareness is try to use it positively. I can continue to try to create work that I’m proud to stand behind. I can continue to better myself and continue to grow. That’s the plan anyway.