I'll elaborate a bit, but first the nutshell version of a story that has ultimately brought me to this time and place. I've been writing and questioning the status quo since I could put words together. My mother said she almost did not have a second child because my energy and refusal to accept a simple answer almost drove her crazy. There is a reason why the hashtag I use most consistently is #YoureNottheBossofMe . To this day, when I tell her of my latest project, she asks me, "Well, how are you gonna do that?!" my response is the same: I don't know; I'm just gonna do it.
Flashback to my sophomore year in college. I was an idealistic Radio/Television student, at the end of my A.A. Degree about to start my B.A. Degree program. I had a Student Emmy Award to my credit for a documentary on teenage alcoholism I had written, produced and edited. I had a summer internship at a network TV station, and I was on a mission to change the world. In the back of my mind was what the seasoned professor and broadcast news veteran who taught my first TV news class had said the first day of class. He walked in the room, went straight to the chalk board and drew a big $ in the middle of it. He said, "That's what a career in this business is all about. That's the bottom line. If you can't handle it and don't want to play the game, get up and get out of my classroom right now...and take all your idealistic dreams about changing the world with you."
Boom! I thought, Whatever. He's just cynical. I can work in this industry and affect people's lives in positive ways... And I stayed in my seat, feeling smug.
Fast forward to the end of my internship. I had been allowed to produce a segment for the live morning show. I booked guests to address a VERY sensitive subject involving sexual abuse. They agreed to come on the show if-and-only-if I wrote the script/questions and they pre-approved it. Done and done. And the show host (who shall remain nameless) agreed to it. Yeah, right. On live TV, she manipulated the topic, not to mention the guests. Had them in tears. Shattered. Script? What script? Oh, but it was just the kind of sensationalism that gets ratings. BIG ratings...which mean big $...just as my professor had warned.
Well, I was offered a job at the end of said-internship. I declined. My college friends all wanted to kill me. They could not understand how I could let such an "amazing opportunity" slip through my hands. But it just didn't set right with me. I knew that I could not spend my life manipulating the heart of any story--and any group of people--for what supports the status quo and brings me a fat paycheck. Plus, who wants to spend 40+ hours a week with colleagues you want to stab with a dull, rusty knife??? Just kidding. Sort of. ;)
I walked away and never looked back.
And now...I am caught up in the momentum and joy of an industry that CAN and DOES and WILL INCREASINGLY affect countless lives and future generations, exponentially and positively.
As I said in a group email to one of my Hemp colleagues the other day, "I have worked my whole life to find a group of like-minds." To be united with and supported by people who share your idealisms instead of squashing them is a beautiful thing. Isn't that what we all want, ultimately?
You are my tribe...and there's room for many more around the camp fire.