We all know her. She is well known because of her phenomenal directing of Selma. But for those who are film people, we have known about Ava DuVernay for years. I Will Follow, Middle of Nowhere, and her short films… especially The Door are films I could (and have) rewatched several times. So… why bring her up? What does she have to do with “The Tenth Muse”? Everything.
I watched Ava’s keynote address from the Independent Film Forum back in 2013. I don’t remember when, I just remember I got all the direction I needed. I wrote about it on Facebook, Tumblr & Twitter. I was so hyped because everything made sense after she spoke.
Back then these were occurring thoughts: gosh I’m never gonna make it because I am a trainer, but I don’t show my ass. HOW will I get any type of following if I simply enjoy wearing clothes when making fitness videos? I know what I’m talking about, but does that even matter? I don’t have a mentor, I never had one and I have no idea where I’ll get one! Ugh what is my niche?… So forth and so on. I had great ideas, but my own self held me back more than anything and anybody.
Ava talked about not needing a mentor (11:00). As you keep asking other people for time, advice, relationships etc you are, essentially, taking time away from Your Doing. Taking away from being active in this process of transforming dreams into realities. A couple minutes later(16:30) she dropped this gem. A gem that I hold near & dear every time I stumble or get frustrated.
“When that feeling of yearning is coupled with action, that’s not desperation. That’s passion. If you channel your desperation towards things that you have, that’s passion. If you channel your desperation toward things you don’t have it’s desperation. It’s stagnation. It stinks & people don’t want to be around it.”
Do you all understand what that means? Until I was able to understand what I could do with who I knew, with the tools I had all around me and with my knowledge & personality I was stuck. I was stuck needing this and wanting that, and never happy. After hearing this, I changed. It wasn’t immediate, but it was fairly quick. I started thinking differently about the Tenth Muse, and I created a plan, vision and mission that was consistent and one that used my strengths. As I stopped looking for mentors; women who wanted to see me succeed and offered their resources, support and guidance seemed to be everywhere.
A muse serves as a source of inspiration. Ms. DuVernay is, without a doubt, one of my biggest muses. When I am in a funk over progression, mobility & impact of my business I am reminded of this keynote and my funk morphs into a 2-step. We are in completely different fields, I may never meet her- when she visited Rutgers, I was at USC , but now I have a focus, I have myself, and I continue to press on…I keep doing, and I do not need your permission to be this great jawn. So, Ava…thank you so much for the energy you exude, AAFRM’s mission & your continued work. Oh, also- if you ever need a fitness trainer, runner or tennis player who can look between 14-25 I am that chick!! 😀