As I enter my last year of graduate school, I’ve found myself reflecting on my undergraduate years, almost longing for that simpler time. I’m only 25, yet I’ve been feeling far older, like my age is a scary number that keeps getting larger and larger and more overwhelming. But that’s a different story – one that I may return to in a separate post.
This sentimental reflection on my past has led me to revisit some of my older work, such as my senior thesis film, Fruition. So much has changed since I started making Fruition in 2012, and although I haven’t made a notable short film since, I know that my perspective as a creator has evolved significantly. On the one hand, I’m not as naive and am instead somewhat disillusioned and overwhelmed by how little I understand about life itself. On the other hand, I feel more empowered and able to embrace who I am and my unique perspective. I know that I’m somewhat smarter and more equipped to understand others and the world around me. That being said, I’m still far too inexperienced to think I’m wise or somehow enlightened; I have so much to learn, and knowing that is both terrifying and liberating.
But what does all of this have to do with my thesis project?
When you set out to make something creative, you draw upon all of your experiences up until that point, including your background, interests, values, frustrations, likes, and dislikes, among other things. Everything that makes you who you are also makes your project what it is. Of course there are significant restrictions put on one’s work depending on a number of social and economic factors, but what we make and how we make it is inherently reflective of who we are.
What’s interesting about this notion is that we’re constantly changing. If I had the same resources today to make a short film, and I had never made Fruition, I can’t help but feel that my project would be entirely different. When I watch my thesis film I can relate to the person I was when I made it, but I also must acknowledge that I’ve changed so much. I’m still that young woman, but I’m also not. What interests me today about life and adulthood and womanhood is entirely different. When watching Fruition I can see my questions and curiosities about life, gender, politics, and society beginning to bloom, but I read it as a short film made by someone who is so inexperienced. And when I come to terms with how naive I was just a few years ago, I realize that in two more years, I’ll surely look back at who I am today and question my choices, my ideas, and my art. I feel as though I’ve found myself in this constant cycle, where I keep looking back and asking, what the hell was I thinking?
But I guess that’s the point of life? If we remain stagnant and never change, are we really living? If I exist for another entire year and don’t learn anything or change at all, am I truly alive? Is looking back at what we make and asking what the hell was I thinking? simply a part of growing more into the person we’re meant to be?
I sure hope.
So for the rest of my life I’ll keep making things and evolving and reflecting and questioning myself; but I’ll remember that who I was, who I am now, and who I will be is all apart of this crazy mysterious thing we call life. And that’s okay.