GABRIELLA WILTZ

7 of 8: the return to 1

Seven out of eight semesters completed — 2016 coming to a close — means time to reflect.

I am halfway finished with my final year of undergrad. It was a hurricane, tornado, whirlwind to say the least. It was the same ol’ juggling trick college has always been with looming future in my rearview mirror and a doozy of a senior project to settle into (in addition to working part-time, classes, internships, personal projects and a social life). It was long and hard and very stressful on me physically, emotionally and mentally. I came out on top regardless, and in one week I start my final semester: the victory lap.

There is a lot of work to be done, ranging from producing my own show with three of my peers for my senior project to auditioning for jobs (eek!), but I want this post to be a reflection on this past year.

If I had to describe this year with one word, it would be U N R E A L, both positively and negatively. There are always hard times when you’re a young adult constantly changing and constantly learning about yourself. In addition to those personal hardships, I had to deal with Donald Trump being elected president and a family member being diagnosed with breast cancer. The insane number of celebrity losses this year is absolutely relentless, but there are so many great things I experienced this year as well.

— Although it feels like a lifetime ago, the Brazil Rep Company toured Salvador, Bahia in March and changed my life forever. Being in the company taught me about service through art. I felt I truly had a purpose for the first time in my life. I created bonds that will last a lifetime and I fell in love with dance, videography, my friends, that city, those people. Everything.

— I gained a new creative confidence in my filmmaking that I didn’t have when I did Project Playtime in 2015. I started generating my own visions outside of class assignments and the confidence to own the work I created. Being the resident videographer for the Brazil Tour Group was a lot more work than I anticipated, and I was so overwhelmed I had a hard time motivating myself to start the mini-doc, but that made completing it and showing it to others that much more rewarding. That experience has made me confident enough to create my senior project and help my peers out with dance reels and videos.

— I went natural. After going back in forth for over a year about cutting my hair, the time for me to big chop came at the end of July. It was crazy to see myself with a little honey blonde afro and now I feel a new embodiment of #blackgirlmagic that I hadn’t experienced before. Long story short: it’s awesome.

— I started my YouTube channel. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since Project Playtime but I never knew what I’d talk about. It’s still in its beginning stages, but it is just a space for me to be my unapologetic self while practicing my filming and editing skills and creating content. You can check out my videos here!

— I got more in touch with myself and became more at peace with who I am today. It all started with my post during summer solstice that I really dedicated time to getting in tune with myself and my needs and claiming what I want. I’ve become more direct when I look myself in my mirror and am finding it less necessary to hide from what I really mean or how I really feel.

— I stopped fearing my future post-grad. It’s still very unknown, but I’m not afraid. I’m just excited to be entering a new chapter of my life!

2016 was one of the best years I’ve had in a while. It was a year of transparency, honesty and authenticity. It was a year about soul searching and relationships with others but most importantly, myself. It was a year overflowing with love and happy tears. It was a year of unbelievable opportunities. It was the year that proved you should trust your timing because it is perfect for you.

2016 was just setting me up for the greatness to come in 2017. I’m claiming it and manifesting that greatness. No turning back.

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