I recently had a chat with a wonderful woman about what a success Life In Perpetual Beta had been up to this point for me and how I wanted to use it as an example for other women who were struggling with following their interests and passions. She listened thoughtfully, and said, “You Know Melissa, if it becomes a financial success, that would make it an inspirational story, yours is just a good start towards success”.
At the time, I was hurt, I was incensed, I was furious! Wasn’t the fact that I was following my passion enough? Why does it always have to come down to measuring things in dollars? Making this film on half of a shoe string budget is a point of pride with me, and why did what she said make me so mad, I had a lot worse phrases shoved into my psyche than that? Shouldn’t my foray into filmmaking be inspirational in spite of money? And that’s when I caught it… SPITE.
Definition: Spite n: malicious, usually petty, desires to harm, annoy, frustrate, or humiliate another person; bitter ill will; malice.
Could I hate money, could I wish it ill will, do I really wish to humiliate it, do I hope it curls up and dies? Was making this film the way I am coming from a place of spite and not triumphant creative overcoming of obstacles?
But I love money, I need money, I appreciate money, everybody does right? Now, I do hate it that I need it so much. I hate that in order to be perceived as successful I need to accumulate it. I hate that I don’t know how to accumulate it. I’m afraid that if I do accumulate it I won’t know what to do to keep it. I hate how easily I let it toy with my emotions, my bank account, and how much food eventually fills my children’s bellies, I hate how if I make any misstep around it, I could end up on the streets again (actually I lived in my car for a few weeks, but that was enough, believe me). As I think about it, maybe I don’t just hate money, maybe I’m terrified of it?
No wonder I’ve had so many challenges holding on to the stuff! As fiercely independent as I am, I would sooner eat mothballs than hold onto something that makes me feel so defeated, so needy, so unable to do it myself. I drop it fast, least I let it have any power over me, but I guess, in that act of fearful abandoning of it, I let it have all the power didn’t I?
So maybe she was right, maybe the making of Life In Perpetual Beta is not an inspirational story yet, maybe I have a few more fears and grudges to overcome before I’m there, maybe it’s just a good start.