Picture of students using computers in the library

Sand Shark Shading in the Creative Work of Life

March 03, 2014

Whether it's midway through the semester, or midway through your twenties, or midway through your life-- it can be all too easy to find yourself: unable to find yourself.

Maybe you are mundanely uninspired, maybe severely lacking a sought after focus, maybe despairingly unsure: muffled by hopelessness, or confusion, or frustration, or a lack of discipline (despite yesterday’s self-made promises to be disciplined)… yet, I hope your eyes may be softened and then too reassured-- filled with some segment of comfort from these words: you are not alone (so don’t abandon ship!) and furthermore you can find yourself, your drive, your passion, your purpose... And while it may not result in any immediacy-- in an outcome of your heart’s deepest desires, you can build toward it, and it is so often “that building toward it” which makes it all so worthwhile.

It is not easyespecially in the midst of it. I cannot offer you a secret solution-- well mostly because as a young doe myself, I keep becoming acquainted with new times of these kind, but sometimes being through one round makes the new ones sweeter and less painful and more adventure-filled. I also realize now (at least in this moment) that it will be okay. Because there is always hope and inspiration to be had, truths to be sought, adventures to be discovered, circles to be completed-- because the depth of our world and our universe is endless. Nothing has taught me this more than being a student. Nothing has taught me this more than being back in Beaufort, SC. I am not only a student at an amazing school but a student of life, and I am not only a dweller of Beaufort, SC but a dweller of the ever-mysterious, always beautiful, constantly-moving  world.

It was five years ago I thought I put down my vocation of theater. It was three years ago that I thought I put down my passion of acting. It was two years ago I thought I put down my beloved pastime of writing. It was one and a half years ago I thought I put down my dreams of finishing school.

Yet there I sat in class in the Hargray Building at USCB, January 2013, and there I sat in the City Java coffee shop of downtown Beaufort writing my first USCB blog on an internship offered to me that following Fall 2013, and there I sat in my first text analysis / rehearsal for the role of Lady Macbeth for "MACBETH" with the Shakespeare Rep artistic director, Dr. Charlton at the USCB Center for the Arts January 2014—HOW?  How could all this happen? I certainly realize so much factors into this answer, but some of those factors were implanted:

  • in my studies of Spanish with Professor Palmer, where I became reacquainted with the capability and beauties of language.
  • in my studies of Human Biology with Dr. Zientek, where I became reacquainted with the wonder of the human body as a house and instrument.
  • in my studies of Communication with Dr. Cooper and Dr. Borton, where I was reminded of the mystical powers of story and all its components.
  • in my studies of Psychology with Dr. Spirrison and my studies of Cultural Anthropology with Dr. Cavanagh, where I witnessed the depths of our humanity’s stories.

…then outlining my desires motivating my currently unnamed vocation, what had been driving my pursuit to finish school at that moment, what sat at the root of my heart and seemed like an indescribable fuel from an unknown galaxy leading to a totally unknown field or craft to myself-- Dr. Haist (my Interdisciplinary Research Methods professor) pointed out to me: Erin... this is a career in theater-- this is acting.

What drove me back to school is another story in itself, an amazingly dear one and one that continues to unfold... Yet it was the power of my education that blossomed from one amazing story into another and continues into another and so forth and so on... I am reminded in my life, at this school, in this town, in this world—that beginning is not easy, that hard work is required, and that not giving up is worth it. Education is one of thee greatest catalysts to our dreams. This is an education of seeking more and discovering and rediscovering ourselves in a world so often beyond our grasp. The opportunities USCB and Beaufort has provided myself, the doors which have opened, the gifts which have been placed in my hands-- has made me feel as though I have traveled the world. Discovery is awaiting, and it certainly is a treasure with your name on it, I guaruntee this.

And while it is easy to lose hope and easy to give up --even though we know our passion and drive well, even though we know to a great depth within our heart what we want, even though we know our expectations and desires of our dreams in a craft or goal or future-- we can muffle out that passion and drive, that knowledge, those expectations, dreams, crafts, goals, futures, frustratingly quitting them, painfully setting them aside…burying them alive-- but if you find your way to keep at it, to constantly seek--  it will come with amazing discovery. You will find new ways, and you will find yourself in new ways.

I must share how I recently fretted to my academic advisor: “I just don’t know if I am supposed to plan everything with my coursework as succinctly as possible to bang through my remaining time here so that I can graduate and start this 'life' I see waiting or if there is another route other than ‘go with the flow’ that I am supposed to take or...-”  she replied “What would be the benefit of the rush Erin? Is it so you can graduate sooner?”... “No, Dr. Cooper...” I replied, “It’s so I can GRADUATE SOONER!!!” She smiled and said “Erin, if you rush through everything so you can reach opportunities, you may miss the opportunities along the way.”

And once my mind stopped rushing, the next two days after that conversation, the world seemed to magically unfold "plethoras" of opportunities, as if Dr. Cooper knew it was coming herself. My education does not solely feed into me from my school, it is from every crevice of my life, but I can certainly say my school has made me stronger at receiving and seeking that education. I was rushing because I felt behind in comparison to others, but the second I was reminded of the falsities in that I began to see all the opportunities opening around me that are propelling me ahead--forward to an amazing and powerful future. A future in writing, a future in acting, a future in blogging, a future in teaching, a future in research, a future in travel and adventure, and…a future in so much more. I could not be more excited. I could not be more thankful .

The inspiration of these thoughts come from Ira Glass's (Host of NPR's "This American Life")  discussion on the Creative Process shared with me by peer, coworker, and good friend, Taylor Glazier of August Night Productions.

The Creative Work of Our Life

 Your Truly: Sand Shark Shading in the Creative Work of my Life,

                                                                                                        Erin Dailey

p.s. always remember with each struggle, you are making an impact... whether in your life or in someone else's-- and this is good-- the world goes round with this.

You're gonna be amazing, and  you're gonna be remembered.