My good friend Annie is a children’s librarian. She has three children, like me, and works three full days a week. I recently told her I really envied her. She has an awesome job, and most importantly, when she is not working, she is NOT working. I can’t relate to this. Making a movie is, for me at least, a pretty obsessive and intense process. When I got started with Taking Our Places, I felt that familiar feeling and I remembered the intensity of making and releasing FRESH. I thought, there’s no way I can do that with two (at the time) really young children.
It’s not that I literally couldn’t. Women with young children do many challenging things. It’s more that I didn’t want to. What I had learned the first couple years of being a mom was that I most enjoyed being with my daughter when I was able to SLLLOOOWWW way down. When I was able to get to her level, to get over my “need” to go places and do things, then I could really be with her and truly enjoy it. (Trying to get anything done with a toddler is a form of torture.) And although I found it hard to switch back and forth between the rhythm of work and the rhythm of childcare, I could do it. What I found almost impossible to do was to be present with her when I was anxious. Making a movie, unfortunately for me, was anxiety-causing. Now, to be clear, I don’t need to make a movie to get anxious. That happens anyway, but making a movie certainly guarantees surges of anxiety.
So why did I started making Taking Our Places, you ask? Simply because by the time I was having all these questions and doubts, it was too late, and I was hooked. Nevertheless, I was moving forward with a lot of ambiguity and doubt, not the best way to go through your day. I finally decided to bring up the issue in counseling. Kathy, my counselor, helped me identify and understand all the different concerns battling in my head. I was able to realize that my priority was really to continue to focus on my children and move at a slow pace. Once that was clear, and I also had clarity that it didn’t mean I was going to stop production, I had to figure out how to make a movie part-time!
How did that work out for me? Ha! Well, overall I think that I’ve done it. FRESH was released almost exactly 5 years ago (when Maayan was in my belly, she will be 5 in August) and I don’t have anything else to show for (professionally, that is). (Ain’t it weird that I’m counting NOT having anything to show professionally as a success!) Moving slowly has been its own cause of stress and anxiety though, and I’ve had to remind myself regularly that this was a choice. What I think is most interesting is that I wouldn’t have thought of the format of Taking Our Places if I had not been clear and focused on making a longer, slower project. And, for what it’s worth, Taking Our Places’ format — following 3 families over time — is what makes it such a special project.