I’ve written this post so many times in my head, but I’ve always stopped and held back. I’m not going to lie - this past year has been brutal. Being sick for months was exhausting. My final two semesters in school were beyond stressful. Getting my head around so many things that didn’t happen, and then suddenly school was done and I had to come to terms with some bitter disappointments.... May came and it was like my life imploded.
I had this weird hope (okay, let’s call a spade a spade and be brutally honest with myself here) that by going to school I would get out of my head - that I would learn how to set aside my fears and some of my trust issues. And maybe....just maybe....I would have the opportunity to meet someone special to share my life with. But instead, by the end as I realized that some “hopes” weren’t going to come true (meeting someone, fitting in with a new community of like-minded peoples, studying abroad in Italy), I spiraled down. I think part of that was exhaustion due to being sick since last fall, part due to the stress of having to pass that second semester of foreign language with no second chances, and partly due to working every free hour I had in order to try and financially survive (more on that in a bit), and finally negative thoughts simply breed negative thoughts. Hence....spiral. down.
Here I am, a little over a month later and I feel stuck in a life that really hasn’t improved from where I was before I started this journey - it's like I took a pause on my life before to attend school and have resumed my life just as before. Only now I’m $47k in debt, which adds a whole new element of stress to my every day. I was promised for over two years a full time job when I graduated. That promise disappeared a week before I graduated, and I’ve been scrambling to find a job ever since. Which one would think it would be relatively simple with my skills and work history, right? And I’m emotionally right back to where I was five years ago when I was then trying to find a job and it took me eight months to get an entry-level receptionist job. My lease was up at the end of May, and believe me I was more than ready to find a better place to live, one that hopefully had space for a proper art studio. Only how can I possibly look for a place to live when I have no real guarantee of income past the day I’m currently working? So I’m doing month to month at my current apartment...which is an increase of $180/month. Yeah, isn’t that something how a place can screw someone so thoroughly without any reservations about it. I get paid twice a month, which is roughly 2 1/2 weeks of work...I bring home $900 and $830 goes to this place in rent. Then I have to survive for the next couple of weeks on what’s left.... Yes, being continuously strapped financially stresses a person out.
I’ve been painting at my dad’s since last semester. But there are issues with that...I have to really plan for when I go paint. Like I have to schedule a day, and then paint in a very enclosed room with little ventilation and no a/c. So I have to limit my oil painting to once a week, during the heat of the day and I can only paint for a few hours at a time and hopefully once a week (sometimes not). This really screws with my creative process. There are times where I can't sleep and like to get up and paint. I’ve been trying to paint some watercolor here at the apartment, but it’s not the same. Yes I enjoy it, but there’s just something about oil painting.... Well, it’s what I really want to focus on. I’m trying to not be limited in my art endeavors, but because I feel stuck in my life, it’s impacting my art - regardless of how I wish otherwise. I’m also trying to pack my apartment up to (hopefully) move here soon - which there is nothing like getting into a project and you suddenly have to unpack and rummage for a supply you know you have (because you can’t afford to buy anything new)...this too interrupts the process. Yes I know it sounds like I’m whining, but seriously it’s all having an impact on my head-space.
I’m struggling here. It’s one of the reasons I haven’t blogged in so long. Trying to put on a happy face when I just don’t feel it, doesn’t feel right. I never thought I’d be here in this place post graduation. I really believed that doors would be more open for me... Yet, I seem to be stuck and unable to figure out a way to get from here to there.
And it's not all bad news either. I've been on a few job interviews in the past several weeks - several haven't panned out, but I was offered a full time position doing what I've been doing, only the Business Office has recently been restructured. So it's the same, but different. I'm back to the mindset of being good (really good) at a job, but don't feel any passion toward it. I recognize the value in doing it, because I need to survive in my life plus support my art practice. The question that keeps re-occurring "is this what my life has to offer"... Then I remember I must remain positive in all things. Because to be otherwise is to invite the doubt and negativity to take over my life. I cannot go back there. It's a daily struggle right now not to spiral down. I also had an initial interview with UA, for their new Occupational Health Department. This would be the difference between front of the house and back of the house in a restaurant - both I'm good at, one is simply more fulfilling to me than the other. My fingers and toes are crossed for this possibility.
I have to remind myself to be patient. Sometimes, it's a daily reminder (sometimes hourly). But regardless, I need to take baby steps and remember to work hard at my art, and those things in the universe that are important to me at this stage of my life. Having the expectation that all this stuff was somehow just going to come to me was very unrealistic. I set myself up for that disappointment. So now I need to regroup and make the next chapter of my life happen. Just like I did with school and painting.
And that's it. There's the whole entire update. I graduated, Cum Laude. I now have a pretty substantial debt that I will be starting to pay off here in a couple of months. I have a fledgling art practice that I'm trying to make sense of. I have no home and no job other than temporary at this moment. But I'm trying to not let all that define me. I'm working hard to find a place to live and a job where I can be a part of something and be proud of. And I'm still working on me. I don't think that will ever change.