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Breaking The Rules


You steered me into the ocean

Ripped from my hands, my imagination stifled

I begin to drown

Fool I am to give of myself so freely as you run rigid

My individuality melting away



I love writing. In high school I wrote poems all the time. However, as I began to get more serious about my career path as an actor, I completely forgot about writing. That is, until I had achieved my acting goal - to be in a Broadway show. Once I was in that show I realized I hadn’t been in control of the stories I was telling. I was following everyone else’s rules. Everyone had an opinion about what characters I could play and how I should present myself to industry professionals. From not having visible tattoos to the style of clothing that would work for the characters people thought I should be playing. I wasn’t in a position to be creating the narrative, I was simply acting out someone else’s vision. Suddenly, that wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to be the painter, not the paint.



I began writing again. I script edited a web series and soon began writing my first pilot. Guess what... there were so many rules I had to follow. How the story was to progress, when to introduce certain characters, how many pages it could or couldn’t be. The list was endless. These rules helped guide me on my new journey of screenwriting, but the more I wrote the more I realized I wasn’t coming from a creative place. I was writing for a specific audience. Who would read this and want to produce it? Who would want to watch it? What parts of my authentic story needed to be re-evaluated to make it sellable? It was about what other people thought and how much money I might be able to get for it. I was in the same position once again. Surrounded by rules I was allowing to kill my creative spirit.



I took a break from it all for a long time. Once I got some space I began writing again. Poetry at first. Then stories. Stories of my life. Stories of struggling. Stories of healing. Now, I’m creating without expectation or regulation for the first time since high school. I‘m finally creating without any want for a result from it.


Breaking the rules feels so satisfying. I’m unlearning a lot around rules and rigidity.



I recently went to Maui and saw Eucalyptus trees with rainbow bark. They were so beautiful and nothing like what I thought a tree could look like. If a tree can peel away to reveal the colors of the rainbow then why the heck am I following all these rules?


There are so many places in my life that need to be freed from regulations. I was always taught makeup was meant to enhance my features. I was told clothing was meant to “flatter” my body - the thinner it made me look, the more flattering. People said, “if you want to be a writer then you need to figure out how to monetize it.”



I’m done following other people’s rules. We are walking pieces of art. Our bodies and faces can be canvases. Makeup and clothing can be our paint and brushes. We can color outside the lines and create our own authentic and honest stories without rigidity.


As I awaken to the truth of you

Afloat on the surface of my own water

I remember how to swim

And I ride the wave that carries me home



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© 2018 MARISA KENNEDY