I have always loved acting and have always believed that it was my calling. This summer, I actually started thinking about why I believed that.
I started working for a company called Vector in June. My job was to sell Cutco products to people that were personally recommended to me from my own contacts. (For anyone who doesn’t know what Cutco is, it’s a brand of high-quality cutlery and other kitchen tools and outdoors items.) This was my second job of the summer, and I was really just picking it up to pay my way to Dallas for school. (I was granted money to be enrolled in school, but I didn’t know how I was going to physically get there.) Vector hires thousands of college students around the United States and Canada and offers oodles of scholarship opportunities, job experience, and chances at personal growth. I thought to myself, as an actor, that I wasn’t going to get as much out of it as a business or marketing major might, but that I would try my best to learn from it and, ultimately, make a lot of money. I didn’t expect to gain nearly as much from it as I did in the end.
I won’t go into too much detail about my summer with Vector, but what I will say is that I learned the true meaning of motivation in the span of a few very short months. It was a rough start for me in that particular business. I didn’t believe that I was cut out for sales and I wanted to quit several times during the summer. However, I was blessed enough to have a few friends and family members that served as an incredible support system. They listened to me complain and were excited for me when I hit a milestone in the company. Not to mention it is entirely unlike me to start something and not finish it. I had to keep telling myself that I would be happy I stuck it through till the end of the summer. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to get myself to school in August, and that was something I wanted more than anything thus far in my earthly life. So, despite my scattered bouts of discouragement and relative unhappiness, I kept on trucking.
When I say that I learned the true meaning of motivation, I mean that I honestly had a warped definition of the word instilled in me. I thought motivation was just an inherent sense of drive and the desire to do things properly. I have always made good grades in school because I thought I was particularly “motivated.” I stayed in shape, mentally and physically, as a result of “motivating” myself to go to my martial arts classes. But what I didn’t realize is that I didn’t truly have a why. Vector taught me that I would never truly be motivated until I discovered what it was that made me want to succeed. I couldn’t just sell Cutco because I wanted to make money. I had to sell it because I wanted financial independence. Or because I wanted to take the burden of my own expenses off of my mother’s shoulders. Or because if I didn’t, I would have spent all of my hard work on getting into SMU and earning the scholarships to go there for nothing, and I would have missed out on the wonderful experiences I’ve had just in the first week of school.
So this new understanding of motivation got me thinking about why I wanted to act. What in the world was I thinking when I followed my heart to SMU to learn how to become a professional actor? People always ask, “So what do you do if acting doesn’t work out?” The idea of my career as an actor not working out doesn’t really scare me, though. (Not yet, at least.) I know acting is what I was put here to do, but I still don’t think I have fully developed a distinct why yet. When I ask myself “why,” the first thing I think is, “Well, it’s my calling.” I consider myself a woman of faith and I cherish the relationship I have with God more than anything else in my life. I believe with all of my heart and soul that acting is what I was created to do. I have been blessed with other skills and talents, but none other that makes me feel happier than when I’m acting and learning about acting. But that’s not enough. There’s more to my desire to pursue acting than a spiritual connection. God has not only instilled in me a desire to act, but a reason to do so. That reason is not entirely clear to me yet, but I know that it’s there.
The closest I’ve come so far to defining my reason is this: I want to live a life doing what I love and one day raise a family that will feel free enough to do the same. It’s sort of a complicated objective, but it’s as close as I can get right now. I have always hated the saying “life is short” — life is the longest thing we do here on Earth — but for lack of a better expression, life is too short to spend it unhappily. I want to tell the truth on and off stage and live in a way that shines the light of Jesus Christ on others. The only way I can do these things is if I am happy, and the only way I am happy is if I’m doing these things. These things are my divine calling.