“I can tell you’re not professional.” The Words Said to Me This Week

“I can tell you’re not professional.”

A real statement made to me while I was directing my first play (well, staged reading). When they said it, I nervous laughed and changed the subject but it really has been bothering me. The statement came from someone who doesn’t know me and had literally just met me.

So, I began thinking, what would make me a professional and more importantly, what about me isn’t professional.

The rehearsal this was said at was located at a beautiful facility.

The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts

The cast were all trained professionals, and incredibly talented.

Ari Veach, Gaia Visnar, Sabastian Zeqharr, Broghanne Jessamine

The reading was being held at a highly sought after location.

It was being produced by Elemental Women Productions, and full fledged production company (shout out to my homegirl, Broghanne Jessamine).

We had an incredible turn out. And not only that, they we’re a super supportive crowd.

Sabastian Zeqharr, Broghanne Jessamine

The crowd even asked questions at the talk back after the show!

Broghanne Jessamine, Charlotte Giles, Me

I had done my work as a directing in and out of rehearsal.

So, how could I be not professional? This person also asked what I did besides this and I said “bartender.” And that was it, the label that stuck to me. As if bartending is bad job, or the people who do it aren’t serious. Some of the hardest working people I know are bartenders, the hours are long, guests are rude, and overall all customer service jobs are emotionally exhausting.

It’s been a little over a week since I was told I’m not professional and I think I finally know how I feel about it.

F*** that.

Being a professional isn’t about how much money you make or time you can give, its about passion. If you are an artist, and make art, guess what? You’re a professional.

Professionalism is an attitude. And I’ve got plenty of attitude! So, it doesn’t matter if you have a ‘survival job’ or you can work in your desired field all the time, you are still a professional.

Moral of The Story: don’t let other people’s negativity make you feel down or put you in a box. No one can label you without your permission. So, make your own labels! Here are mine right now!

Mikayla Labels As Defined by the Only Person’s Opinion that Matters (Her Own):

    Strong
    Witty
    Creative
    Rebellious
    Opinionated
    Smart
    Accepting
    PROFESSIONAL

A Love Letter to All My Co-Workers (Past and Present)

There’s something magic and tragic about coworkers. You spend 40 hours a week with them. You form these intense bonds. And then life steps in and before you know it, you’re practically strangers again.

It’s the most pure relationship out there because (for the most part) the reason your friendship ends isn’t because of anything malicious, it’s just life. It’s like the most mutual breakup.

Co-workers see you through your day to day life. They listen to you complain about your dating life, or when you tell funny stories about what your cat did that morning.

They take you out for drinks to commiserate and celebrate.

They make your annoying work life, bearable (and fun sometimes.) We all have that work friend (or friends) that we get excited to see on the schedule.

Moral of the story: Here’s to work friends! Here’s to the laughs, tears, drama, drinks, and love! I love you all from past to present. If you’re an old coworker of mine, feel free to hit me up, let’s grab a beer and reconnect. If you’re not a former coworker of mine, I suggest you reach out to your old work friends. Make the connection, it’s worth it.

-Mikayla Olivia Orrson

No Filter on Me: A Raw Look at Anxiety and Stress

After Stress (Left) Before Stress (Right)

Fact: there’s no filter on either photo. Yes, one has better lighting and camera quality but no edits. And yes, one has make up and one doesn’t. But, let me just say, no amount of make up could help. And besides, when under extreme stress it’s hard to bring yourself to do make up.

Let’s talk about stress and how it effects, not only the way we live but the way we are. These photos were taken a month and 13 days apart. And boy, do I look different! These we’re taken at a time not too long ago that I felt like my whole life was crumbling; between losing my job, an injured pet, and countless other problems. I felt like I was losing my sanity. I couldn’t eat, I was oversleeping, I couldn’t emotionally connect with my friends. I felt so incredibly lost.

I wish I could say, “And here’s how I fixed it all! In three easy steps!” But, that’s not the case. I don’t have the answers to solving anxiety, stress, or depression. I really wish I did.

The reason I’m telling you all of this is because I don’t want you to feel alone. I can’t solve your problems but I can hold your hand through it. You’re not alone. I think it’s important to show raw anxiety. So much of our personas are made online, we only show what we want to show. All of a sudden, everyone seems happy and perfect but that means we’re missing out on the real conversations.

I hope this helps you feel more confident on your down days, because they happen and that’s okay. You’ve got support.

Life can be cruel, heartless, and cold. But, it can also be exhilarating, fantastical, and fulfilling. Don’t give up, because you’ve got someone in your corner (me, I’m in your corner).

Moral of the story: You’re not alone. I’m here. Let’s get a coffee or cry into pasta, as long as we do it together.

-Mikayla Olivia Orrson

The Power of Asking for What You Want

People who know me, know that I am notorious for emailing to get what I want. What do I mean by this? Here’s an example:

There’s this exclusive members only, women’s workspace called The Wing.

Memberships range from $200 to $250 a month. I unfortunately don’t have the money to afford that steep a membership for a workspace. So, I emailed! I sent a lengthy email about who I am, why I’m awesome, what I’m working on, and why they should sponsor me so I don’t have to pay.

How well did this work?

I’m currently at The Wing DUMBO, sipping on wine as I write this.

Here’s the secret, confidence. Confidence isn’t just ‘key,’ it’s the damn door too. If you confidently ask for what you want, people respond in a positive way. Confidence is a powerful asset that a lot of people are afraid to harness because they feel bossy or elitist. Let me tell you, it’s not. Confidence is strength. If you want something, go for it! What’s the worst that can happen? Realistically, if you do nothing, you don’t get what you want. At least this gives you a chance and puts it out there that you have a want!

Moral of the story: Email, text, and vocalize what you want! You can’t get it if you don’t put yourself out there.

-Mikayla Olivia Orrson