I'm riding the D train as I write this. There is a man, who says he is the conductor's friend and a born-again Christian. As a person with no formal religious affiliation, I don't know what that even means. I think it means he was a non-believer and now he is? Either way, he started singing a song about how Jesus sacrificed his life for us, and how no one will do that, and only him. I wouldn't say I'm a religious person. My mom always taught my brother and I to believe in ourselves, and not to believe in anything else. She said religion gets a little messy. It also takes a lot of time and effort to honor something, especially when you're working so many hours a day and have to worry about buying offerings for the gods.. even if it only means oranges and incense.
Don't get me wrong--technically, we're Buddhist. And the only reason why we're Buddhist is because of me. I was a non-stop crying child as a baby, and my grandma suggested that my mom should put up a Buddhist statue. It might stop me from crying, and it did.
I never really saw praying to the Buddha as a religious thing. I always thought it was another way for me to eat more fruits and eat more traditional foods that we only eat during the holidays.
That was until I met a supervisor last year who was a Buddhist. She told me it's more about faith and a way of thinking. Sort of like philosophy. I took what she said and thought it might help my brother, and myself for overcoming the past. Letting go and looking forward. Two things I desperately needed at the time (still do) and will make moving on easier.
That thinking skipped my mind for a few months. Lots happened. Long story short, I lost track on thinking about how faith can ever affect me until I left the job. I felt lost for so long, and I think I'm still in that lost phase. I always wanted to figure out what I wanna do, how to do it, and how to do it now. Especially with that piece of writing/short film I've been working on.
The hardest part is to take a step back, reflect, and figure out a way to move forward. And within that, I realize that maybe I don't really know what I want or what my character wants. I constantly have to go back to the drawing board and did tons of rewrites. I have so many versions of this one character. For a while, I lost faith on writing. What's the purpose of this?
Then, I see the subjects I'm writing floating around in the community. Even though the subjects aren't the main subject of the film (man, am I being vague? Hahaha..), it just kills me to see what people are willing to do to make a buck in nyc. It is weird, but it gave me a sense of hope and faith that I never really had. And so, I went back to the drawing board, and the final draft became a last draft. For one last stab, I thought I finally have something to say.
So what's the point of this all and how does it relate to religion? I guess it's keeping the faith and keep pushing until something clicks. It was so easy to give up and let it go, but if you firmly believe in what you're writing, keep thinking. Unthink, then write again. It's so hard, even borderline painful, but it feels really rewarding once something clicks. I'm so happy I went through this process. It taught me a lot about not giving up. Is that what religion is all about? I don't know.