As I write this, I'm sitting in a Starbucks in LA getting ready to "take a meeting." Take a meeting. That sounds nuts. My man told me that ten years ago, I would've been going crazy about these opportunities to meet with Los Angeles based agents and managers. But the truth is...ten years ago I would've had any context for being in LA to "take a meeting." Ten years ago, I didn't know who I was or what I wanted to do.
I'm a natural planner, so I like to know what I'm doing ahead of time. But the problem with also being creative is that there are a lot of different things I could be doing and a lot of different directions in which I could be heading. I was passionate about a lot of things, and my parents had no idea how to point me in the right direction. So, I spent most of my teenage years being confused and frustrated because I had no plan. I spent a lot of years hating myself for NOT knowing.
Sidebar: this is not a post about how I have it all together, and how I've arrived. I'm an actor, and in many ways I'm just getting started. I told my godfather a couple months ago that I feel like I'm stumbling through my life blindfolded just feeling my way around until something makes sense. There is no map or blueprint to get where I'm going. BUT I do know this: I am finally clear on my purpose. I love what I do. I'm good what I do. I feel alive while I'm doing it, and I'm finally getting paid to do it.
I hope by the end of you reading this post, you'll be okay with not knowing and give yourself permission to just stumble around and try new things until you figure it out.
Here's my crazy journey to figuring out I wanted to be an actor.
1. I started as a figure skater! That's right, as a kid I wanted to be a young black Michelle Kwan. I wanted to be a legend in the USA skating world and eventually win Olympic gold. While training as a skater...
2. I took ballet classes, and fell in love with dancing. I danced in church and in some classes. Then...
3. My family moved to the metro Atlanta area. The city we lived in was NOT a skating town. All the rinks were too far, and training was too expensive to maintain, so I stopped skating. It broke my heart, but I kept dancing.
4. I went to Spelman college and danced in their dance department. At the time, they required their dancers to take acting classes. I was cast in a theatre production because I had some acting potential, could dance and could sing. I still didn't take acting seriously.
5. Mom passed. My world stopped, and I was suddenly fearless. I jumped into an opportunity working as an assistant to the owner of AGI Entertainment in Atlanta and starting taking acting classes there once a week. I threw myself 100% into that job and the acting class. In that class, I learned that acting was therapeutic. It was my outlet. Between God and acting I made it through those first two years of grief.
6. I fell in love with learning about acting and took other classes. I loved how free I felt when I was acting and figured out that I have a knack for it.
Now I have a crap ton of acting friends. I've worked in multiple productions, and I'm writing my own material. I definitely haven't arrived yet, but I feel like "my thing" found me. It found me because I was open and willing to take risks. I was down to learn and not pretend that I knew everything.
My point is I think our path finds us. We just have to pay attention. My mom told me years ago that she took me on an audition when I was really little. A New York agent was interested in working with me, but my mom didn't want to have to travel back and forth between Delaware and NY for auditions. I used to wonder what would have been if I would've started as a kid, but I don't anymore. It's just another sign that God was leaving me breadcrumbs my entire life. For that I'm thankful.
Look back over your life the last five years or ten years. Have there been any recurring themes or breadcrumbs that could help you identify your path?
About me . . .
I'm Cyrah Hill. I'm a woman of faith, an actor and an everyday black girl.