I’m sitting in an airport, somewhere in the middle east, all alone, waiting to board a flight to India.
That’s pretty cool right??
I thought about the younger version of myself, and what she’d think of it. I came to the conclusion that she’d be thrilled, no doubt, but surprised?? Hardly.
You see, the little girl version of me had BIG plans.
Since the day I mumbled my first words, “Hit Me Baby One More Time” I knew I was destined for stardom. Fame was all I wanted.
In seventh grade I met with a school counselor, and together we filled out a paper discussing my goals, and future career paths. She asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I told her point blank,
“I want to be famous.”
(Think, the little girl from vine, eating the chip, but with braces and acne)
“For what?” My counselor replied.
I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know, I just want to be famous”
And she laughed.
“Thats not a job, sweetheart.”
BUT YOU KNOW WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE MS. STEINFIELD TELL THAT TO 5 YEAR OLD ME, WITH CRIMPED HAIR, GLITTER LIPSTICK & PLASTIC MICROPHONE IN HAND, WALKING INTO KINDERGARTEN ON CAREER DAY.
Yep. Among a sea of veterinarians, police officers, fire fighters and chefs, I walked in dressed as a rockstar. I came to school equipped with two songs from my latest EP. The first was titled “Greatest girl in the world” (maybe a little over confident? Maybe just building my brand from a young age??) and my next single, “You’re lookin so fine.”
But when Mrs. Reese decided to kill my 5 year old dreams and DENY me of performing in front of the class, I decided I needed more options.
I had a flair for the dramatic, so naturally I took up acting. I’d memorize monologues in my room and recite them to my loyal, and brutally honest, collection of stuffed animals. When Hannah Montana came onto the scene, it nearly killed me. I couldn’t believe a young girl that wasn’t India Blue Severe had her own Disney Channel show. Did they not know that I had been practicing my “Hi My name is Indy and you’re watching Disney Channel” mickey mouse ear drawing special effect sequence for the past four YEARS??
I knew right then and there that I was running out of time.
I was also 8 years old.
My powerpoint presentation of why my parents should move me out to California to pursue my dreams fell on deaf ears. Apparently they couldn't just “pick up and leave” even if I had already arranged potential buyers for each of my other siblings.
It was also around this time, where I discovered the devastating news that fame required talent.
What a buzzkill.
I had spent my whole life rehearsing my first interview post-Oscar win, only to realize I actually had to be GOOD at acting to be nominated for an academy award??? What a joke.
I didn’t give up though. This new revelation narrowed my list of potential careers, for sure, but I was pretty confident in my plan to launch myself into the spotlight. The good news? It required hardly any talent at all. Just a hood mentality.
THE NEW AND IMPROVED INDY SEVERE - 3 YEAR PLAN FOR FAME AND FORTUNE:
- Make it to the Top 4 on the Bachelor (take the shy & ‘not good enough for love’ approach. better for endorsement deals)
- Stay relevant enough to appear on Dancing with the Stars
- Stage a scandal with your hot ballroom partner
- Write a “tell all” exposing all of your enemies
- Somehow have a child with Drake
As I was writing this down, I was reminded of my 7th grade self writing down “famous” under the column “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
And remembered the conversation I had with my school counselor.
She asked me what I wanted to be famous for, but she never asked me why. No one did.
I didn’t even know why.
And it’s been years since I walked into career day, with a plastic microphone, dream and cardigan in hand. It’s been years since I put on a blonde wig and performed “Best of Both Worlds” for my third grade talent show.
It’s been years since I begged my parents to ship me off to Hollywood. And it’s been years since that day in the counselors office. But it wasn’t until recently that I discovered the why.
I was desperate to be remembered.
I was/am absolutely terrified of leaving the world, not having left a mark on it.
It dawned on me that I simply wanted to live a life good enough for other people to care, and notice. Which I realize, isn’t a good way to live your life, but I'm getting to the bottom of my ChIldhoOd PsYchoLogicAl IsSuEs KAREN!!!! SAVE YOUR CRITICISM FOR THE END
In my little girl brain, the opposite of living a mundane life, was being famous for something. Writing a book, organizing a movement, directing a play, exposing Taylor Swift on my snapchat story, saving a kitten from a burning building, getting blocked by Donald Trump on twitter, ANYTHING to solidify my place in history.
I wanted people to tell my story, long after I was gone.
Well, here’s the thing.
No one was coming up to my door, begging for the rights to make a successful movie about my life. (But like, when that day comes, I’m contractually obligated to make a cameo at some point, and it must be a love scene with Timothee Chalamet)
No one was emailing me, begging me to give a ted talk. Offering me a book deal. Inviting me to speak at Women Of the Year award show. I realized, a couple years ago, that it was up to ME to live a good life, and it was up to ME to tell my story.
And that, my beautiful, supportive, angelic, blog readers,
That is why I film.
It’s pure storytelling, putting together a sequence of real moments, of real people, of a real life, MY real life, and I’m in the directors chair. I have full creative control.
It started as a hobby, but I was soon aware of how special this talent was. My videos, are essentially, my mark on the world. They’ll be here long after I'm gone. My grandkids friends will pull up my Bahamas video someday, and say “damn your grandma was thick” and thats all I can really ask for.
I think the ultimate goal in life, for all of us, is not only to create the life we want to live, but to create a life we’re proud to live.
My passion for video, my desire to tell stories and document life, was now taking me around the world, and I was actually making money from it!
This weekend, I flew into Florida to film a wedding. I was filling out some paper work with the front desk at the rental car garage, and the agent asked me who my I worked for.
“Oh, I work for myself.” I said, fumbling with my drivers license.
He took it from me, looked at the 16 year old girl on the license, looked at me in real life, squinted his eyes, raised an eyebrow and said, “And how old are you?”
I told him I was 20, and he looked even more confused. “What do you do?”
“I’m a videographer, and I’m here to film a wedding this weekend.”
He looked impressed, but still confused. “And how long have you been doing this?” He asked.
And when I said that, his jaw hit the floor. “You’re telling me, you’ve had your own business since you were seventeen years old?? Sure. Okay.”
And I beamed with pride. “Yep!” I said happily. I loved when old white men underestimated me. He laughed to himself, sure that I was messing with him.
So I flipped my hair, told him his mom was a hoe, and drove off in my mini van rental car.
My point is, sometimes it doesn’t hit me, how far I’ve really come. And today, it hit me as I sat in the Qatar airport, waiting to board my flight to India where I’ll be for the next two weeks, playing with local kids, and raising money to build schools for them.
My life didn’t really turn out how I envisioned it, sitting in that office with my school counselor 9 years ago. I’m not a rockstar. I’m not an actress. I’m not a former Disney Channel star with a drug problem.
But I'm traveling the world, telling important stories. Stories that will be remembered forever.
And I have a feeling the little girl I used to be, would be really proud.