Reflections on 2018

Reflections on 2018
Juatla de Jiménez

I'm sitting here in Mexico City, about to start New Year's, and reflecting on the past year. It's been a whirlwind.

I want to offer some story, some regrets, some gratitudes, and some resolutions.

In October 2017, I decided I was probably done with the film industry. I'd seen a decade of several successes and many more failures. Of waking up in the morning and pushing ahead on my own to countless no's. Film is brutal. Very few people succeed in it. I was done. It was time to recognize the wrong path and move on to somewhere I could be more successful. I thought about other plans: wander the world, live off the grid, become a teacher, work towards a job as a PM at a tech company, start a tech company. They all sounded more fulfilling . I had just met Colin and he wanted to travel around the world, and I thought about going with him.

But here's the thing about making films: while the lows are low, the highs are extraordinary. And when January came, I decided to give it one more shot. I had a story I wanted to tell, and a brand new way to do it. And it offered the opportunity to work with hundreds of my friends. I started commuting to LA and went to 60 meetings in one month. The most impactful one was when an admired mentor told me to just do it. So I did.

The next few months were striving and struggle. I didn't know how to fundraise. I didn't know, really, what I was doing at all, and I dove into it headfirst.

Putting myself out there like that awakened an incredible vortex. I remember the feeling right after I had announced it, when I was on calls daily and planning the course of this project: I AM BEING USED IN THE WAY I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO! It was a feeling of finally having the cylinders on that I had wanted to be on. It felt extraordinary.

Then came fundraising. Fundraising is difficult and soul-sucking in a way that is really hard to communicate unless you've done it. The year started with days of five hour-long meetings with people who didn't get or care about what we were doing, me not being very good at explaining it either. I would explain patiently why the project wouldn't fail, why I wasn't wrong, stringing a stringing a grand narrative of success by myself and returning home exhausted.

In this process, I found distance from the thing that I love the most, which has kept me so alive and sane and creative these past five years — my community and family in San Francisco. And for this I apologize profoundly. I apologize for not being present, for being self-centered, for focusing on this thing that has meant so much to me but not as much as you. Perhaps it was necessary for part of my ties to our community to die with the faith that it could be resurrected, or perhaps there was another way. At the time I did not know another way. I still am not sure whether a restless impatience is required to create great things, but I am seeking another way.

To all the people who I reached out to, who have helped me along the way, who have opened doors and made introductions and provided feedback: I know it has been both taxing and gratifying. At some point I was reflecting with a friend about how much I've asked of so many people and they told me "You're not spending social capital. People are inspired that you're doing something. People want to be part of big things." For those of you for which that is true, I am grateful we could dance in this way. For those of you for which it is not, sorry for all the emails :)

At some point this dark phase ended. I found people who were aligned. I learned to work smarter. I figured out who was interested in what we were doing. The funding came in (some of it), and it started to feel more like dancing. I made some great partners. And I feel like I'm back and ready to be HERE.

I learned in this process that if it's not working with one person, move on to the next person. Now I don't try to talk to people who don't want to talk to me. It's an abundance mindset, and it was hard to learn.

And now, it is SO COOL we're spending that money! It feels so good to be bringing friends with us to Sundance to create shenanigans, and it's going to feel amazing to watch this project come to life, through our community.

And now the gratitudes. There are SO many gratitudes. This year I have had so much joy with all of you, have dove deep into creative realms and built castles in our collective imaginings. I have been inspired by your selflessness, your dedication, and your LOVE for yourselves and one another. I have learned so much about community and resilience. I have seen so many relationships flower, and some end just as beautifully. Living in this dynamic community in the Bay Area is one of the greatest blessings of my life.

I am grateful for the times we have shared: hikes, dinners, 2am conversations, sex, and strange adventures. I am grateful for our diversity and what I have learned from you. For the places we have seen together. I am grateful for so many new relationships and so many old. I want to do a list of shoutouts and moments but it'd just be too long.

In this new year, I want to practice quiet presence. I want to achieve much through allowing things to happen. I want to be in community, to live and breathe in community, and do my part in creating community.

We are not young, and we are not old. Time does not stretch infinitely forward, for us nor our species on this Earth, and in this liminal space we must live dually in appreciation and action. I want to do my part, with you, to make this as beautiful a world as we can. I'm also gonna try to get a six-pack.

So thanks friends, for being part of this dance. May 2019 be a year in which we all can say we found home, once again.