HATe

There are feelings that we hide inside and they keep building up. And when they do, they can either be tamed and transformed into something worthy or they can come out in the worst possible way.

In this post I would like to examine ‘hate’. It has been around for quite some time now but these days I feel like it’s growing stronger. During the past week one of my former teachers got accused of spreading religious ideas during his physics lessons. A long article on the happenings was published in an online magazine. The thing is, none of these accusations were true. People who know that man are aware of that. But the people who hide behind n/a in the name section, the ones wearing the cap of invisibility without grace started to offend him in so many ways in the comment section. The more they kept writing the more it was becoming obvious that they are not aiming at him. They were aiming at themselves, the pandemic, all their own faults, the people who were mean to them, the government. And it’s obvious that these reasons behind being angry apply to us all. It is all about what you do with that frustration.  Observing this situation from the perspective of an outsider made me more aware of what is really going on when someone hates “you”. Especially online.

 “Run” 2021

I brought this subject forward because from my perspective; as an artists, as one of the people who create something to be publicly viewed, we have to learn to defeat this hate and find the way to let it go. I had a chance to conduct a few art-in-public actions. They were published by the local online magazine in my city. Unfortunately, readers had completely different vision of aesthetics than I had, to say the least. I’m not talking about constructive criticism here. It was a big-time hate session. From offending me personally, through suggesting I should pay a fine for damaging the common wealth (although my actions lasted only 24 hours and were completely harmless to the surroundings) to claiming that all artists should quit taking drugs because we lost our minds. And I’m not writing it all here to pity myself or to show how wrong these people who wrote it were.

I’m coming forward with this concept because maybe lately you have heard something hurtful, maybe someone made you question what you do, whether it’s art, writing, dancing or something completely different. But could you easily put a face and a name to that hurtful comment? Did they really say it based on some relevant reasons? Or maybe, just maybe they’re the negative observers and you’re actually the one living your life and trying? Think about that.

Confidence comes with time and experience. I’m still learning that as a young artist and also simply as a person. If we want to do something great, and we want to achieve our goals we need to be prepared for the so-called ‘hate’ be it online or in real life. When we reach the point when it all stays outside and we gain the strength within what we’re doing- this will be the turning point. I really believe that.

Stay healthy,

Stay cool,

Maria

Being an artist to me means writing is my therapeutic outlet by Maria Baker

  • Name: Maria Baker
  • Occupation: English Tutor
  • University degree: BA Journalism
  • Favourite Artist: Lang Leav
  • Favourite Colour: Mint Green
  • Favorite Sound: Birds chirping outside my window early in the morning, the clickety-clack sound of the keyboard.

Being an artist to me means writing is my therapeutic outlet. Writing is the bedrock of good mental health for me. It works as an outlet, I spiel my woes, projecting them onto fictitious characters. I filter my experiences into stories, it’s an entanglement of reality shifting into fiction. Somehow laying out my troubles like this, takes me out of the equation and I can see more clearly. It also helps push me into the cold waters out of my comfort zone; it forced me to believe in my skills further. Something therapy does itself is exposing you to the scary world bit by bit.

I didn’t think of myself as a genuine writer right away. It wasn’t as soon my hand could form magical words, going to uni for my degree, when I worked for work experience for a leading multimedia agency, or even when my byline was published in print. It was the time I stepped into the Guildford Spectrum, like every other weekend during the autumn/winter season for a hockey game. The ice rink welcomed me swifter than my friends could with its choppy breeze to the face, and my throat was tugging me the whole time. For months, my friend said my writing was going places. I didn’t think much of a destination at the time, my writing was a timid attempt at trying to crack open a look at the bigger world, the industry was daunting, but it was something I enjoyed. But she was clawing at my potential and had bigger dreams for me, the ones I prayed for but was too afraid to see come true. The hockey game was a mess for the first period, though it needn’t have mattered, as my mind was claiming elsewhere the whole time. I thought: why would I want to change my writing into something daunting? It was the only antidote to my anxiety, and it held my hand supportively through my depression, so why would I shift the scene to make it the antagonist of the story? It was a new reality I had found myself in where anxiety was king, and my comfort was in peril. My friend swung herself around where she was seated in front of me, “let’s go,” stars painted her eyes bright as the lights overhead. How could I say no?

Michelle Obama had once said: “Don’t ever make decisions based on fear. Make decisions based on hope and possibility.” If I had backed down then, my writing wouldn’t make progress, and then it wouldn’t have been therapy to me, it would have claimed to be the very device that stunted my growth. It felt like the longest lung dragging walk to the other side of the rink to meet the guy in charge of my future. He was a sweet man, but anyone that held a wisp of your dreams in their grasp marked a little intimidation.

He asked me why I wanted to do this, “it wasn’t because she pulled you into it?” thumbing my friend, he joked. I would be lying if I hadn’t said it was a dream come true if I had got to write about hockey and that I did. I was Bambi skirting on ice as I clambered to my first interview with a player well over 6ft. My hands clammy and my voice jittered as I spoke, but it was then, when I finally said it to myself: “well you did it now, you’re a bonafide journalist.” and believed it.

After this, I called my writing exposure therapy. It yanked me out of my comfort zone, struck a jabbing finger to my chest and went off about exposing my deepest thoughts and fears. Face them and bleed. It’s not necessarily the reason why I write, but the cathartic sense is a welcoming side effect.

My route towards fiction writing began with a rocky start. I was never really good with English, so it was a surprise that when I was thirteen, I had a sudden urge to write my first horror short story, and in the same winks of summer, I branched out further and wrote my first novel-length romance prose. Maybe just a little nudge to how I have become an avid horror and romance writer now. After that, I knew what I wanted to do.

When it came down to earning a living, I became an English tutor. I teach kids about the average age of eight, the wonders of writing. The majority wanted none of it. They were hesitant to tap into their imaginations, but this was the most exciting part of my job, it was to persuade them otherwise, that writing and art, in general, is freeing, it’s therapeutic, it’s an outlet for a lot of people. I remember when I said those words: “you can write just about anything.” How their sullen faces immediately lit up and to my humour, came up with the most whacky descriptions to write. Though, that’s what writing is all about. You word vomit what’s been rattling in your brain and sort out all the mess later. That’s the beauty of it, that writing is about accepting imperfections.

My days usually wrap around my writing schedule, I had just spent a full month of July doing Camp NaNoWriMo writing a draft of my novel. Other moments include writing for writing contests. I do occasionally wonder what really got me into writing fiction seriously. I believe it was when I started reading Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles when I hit gold. I wanted to romanticize words as she did. My interest in journalism piqued thanks to fashion, over the years, my interests have changed, but all the same, I wanted the same journalism outlet.

I say if a person has a passion for something, a strong one, that filters everything else out of your mind, heart and lifts your soul, don’t lose faith in yourself now, go for it.

An Introduction

To start off – the title of this column is technically a little fib. Considering my journey into the mystical and slightly terrifying world of the arts began in my A-level drama class at 16. Shout out to Mrs Carr with the constant energy level of someone who has drank five red bulls at 9am to hype us up.

I wasn’t a person who honestly thought that I might end up going into the arts. Yes, I did like musicals and went to a lot of them but I wouldn’t proclaim myself as a ‘theatre kid’. Although, to my friends dismay, I can talk about why I love Jesus Christ Superstar all day if I was allowed. But hey, art is subjective and my sister thinks it’s just a one big drug trip.

I always thought of the arts, in particular acting in theatre, as just a hobby and not something I would consider having a career in.  So instead I wanted to be…an archaeologist. Mainly because of Indiana Jones. Who doesn’t want to be almost crushed by a massive rolling boulder?

But there is that moment  which I believe all young people may have when they get out of school after GCSEs and they start to wonder what do they really want to do. Would they be successful in chasing a dream they have or would they rather play it safe and get, what is sadly perceived by their elders as ‘a real job’.

 Especially for someone like me who hadn’t really dipped their toe in the arts world. This made the decision all the more intimidating  and caused a lack of confidence. Those two factors hold a lot of people back from what they really want. That is a prominent problem for young people who may be around others who don’t take the arts seriously.

But the next time someone says to you that you won’t be successful in the arts industry or tells you it is not an actual job, I would advise you to say to them – ‘Are you successful in your ‘actual job’ then?’ As if they have a right to judge your career choice, they must be pretty secure in their own jobs.

What is the one thing I have learnt as a young performer? If you decide to go into the arts professionally it is a job and with the same amount of success rate as other occupations in different career circles.

This is where I wholeheartedly agree in the motion that having a degree or any level of schooling will not guarantee you a job in any industry. Your career is what you make of it. Which is not to discourage but instead to say to my young readers that you are able to have as much success as anyone else if you keep working towards your goal. You shouldn’t feel like the arts is a lost cause and I encourage all of you to put yourself out there if you are a young artist, actor, writer, dancer, musician, director, producer and everything in between.

I am now at University in my Second Year- studying theatre and drama and I don’t regret it one bit. I  enjoy my course and learn more and more every day about the industry and add more experiences to my career. Whether it be forming relationships in my drama society or finding the confidence to pursue outer projects such as playwriting and doing performances with outside theatre companies.    I believe I am already paving my way and so will you.

So, to my young readers I will leave you with this as my main introduction. Don’t give up before the race has even started- As your aspirations are valid  and can lead to  great things if you let them.

Em  x

Em’s tip:

Get yourself out there now! Using Instagram to display your work can be used as a great online portfolio if you don’t have access to websites such as Spotlight or Backstage.                                            (Although I would recommend investing in one in the future!)