Thursday, March 15, 2012

Judgment Day

Today is tax day, the day I meet with the accountant and she waves her magic laptop and money moves like a whirlwind. Hopefully a whirlwind in the right direction. I love this day as much as I hate preparing for it.

I used to think it was about the math. What if I did the math wrong? What if the math was too hard? What if I couldn't figure out what equations to use?

It's not about the math.

My W-2s say I'm a secretary and I am. I'm also a photographer, a writer, an actress, a singer, a teacher, and maybe a couple of other things. I spend a lot of money on all these jobs. Some more than others. For instance I spend very little money on the whole secretary gig but it's also my least favorite job. Sadly also the most lucrative. When I haul out the tax forms and the receipts every January (February....March...) I have to add up all that I've spent on the other things. That's sobering sometimes ($1600 on voice lessons, $1100 on camera equipment, $[redacted] on hair and makeup) but it's not the tough part.

The tough part is admitting what I did to earn those expenditures. Did I perform? Audition? Submit? How many shoots did I have? Which means that this simple exercise in math turns out to be a complex exercise in commitment and self-esteem. Last year as we parted the accountant nudged me a little about all that. I said, "What do I need to do?" She replied, "Earn more money!"

Notice two things there. 1. She didn't say how I should earn that money. 2. I have carried that directive around as a painful admonishment specifically for not performing. I didn't go out and pound the pavement for a new office job. That would have earned me more money! I also didn't audition for a commercial or sing in a bar or submit my plays to theatre companies. She's not judging me, she's stating the facts. She's happy for what I have because, among other things, it means I can afford to hire her, and she'd be happy for me to do more because, I'm pretty sure, she likes me and she likes the artsy sort of client because she enjoys our successes with us.

The fact remains, though, that this time of year, more than January 1st or my birthday even, forces me to look hard at what I've done and what I've omitted from the previous year. I'd like to say it inspires me to go forth and do more with the current year but so far that theory hasn't proved out. Instead I've taken to writing down all my possible deductions and handing her a letter with the totals rather than speak them out loud. My goal for the meeting winds up being not to make the lack real by spitting it into the breeze. I would have gotten away with it today, too, except she was training another accountant and they had to clarify that I couldn't deduct the voice lessons because I hadn't made any income from singing.

Why, then, am I blogging it? What bigger breeze is there to expectorate into than the internet? Wasn't I trying to avoid that? Yeah, I was, but I know the truth. It's impossible to avoid. Even if I told no one else, even if I learned enough tax code to keep the trainee quiet, it would still be true and I would know.

I know.

Now what am I going to do about it?

*Photo from the site of, probably, my best performance of 2011.


  1. Well, this was an excellent start. Congratulations.

    I have always had trouble with the idea of figuring out what outcome I desire, and then figuring out how to get there. Sometimes (say, any time a desired outcome is clear in your mind?), though, that's a fine plan. I do believe in generating motion, though - if not toward the desired outcome, then toward figuring out the desired outcome. Shall we ask you about this from time to time, in a friendly manner?

  2. I think the best reminders for me are when people gently offer me opportunities like networking or audition or performance information they think suits me. I'd love as many of those as possible. If I know you're watching me it keeps me moving forward.

  3. Ummm... would it help if I sent you $50 for singing at my wedding? Would you then be able to claim some of those singing lessons?!? It was a stellar performance by the by... from everyone involved, especially considering the lack of rehearsal time.

    In a nod to pushing things forward, I'm having tea with Garry later this week and will find out more about his upcoming NY plans for April... might THAT be a push in the right direction to perform more?!?