Tuesday, September 05, 2006

So, after three months of intense stress, misfortune, and angst, things are slowing down. The wedding dress I had been upset about has finally left the house. Schrapnel has been showing signs of improvement. I'm able to eat again.

I can't say much for the lack of sleep in both quality and quantity however, and the fact that my back muscles are so tense combined with the fact that one of my legs has been falling asleep on and off when I'm trying to sleep is not really all that helpful.

While I do have a sense of relief that has settled in to an extent, I still have the lingering feelings of restlessness and general disenchantment that have been building all through the summer. I have been trying to find a new job to relieve me from working the soul sucking retail hell I have been in for a year now, which has been only one in the chainlink of unfulfilling meaningless jobs that have categorized my 16 year career of being a malcontent wage slave.

The fact that I am still looking for yet another job is perturbing in a couple ways. the fact that I have not stayed in ANY job for more than two years at most - the average being one, is telling. I have had a total of 2 out of countless others where I actually enjoyed the people I work with. Only one of those two allowed me to use the skills and talent I have been trained for/cultivated on my own.

My search for something else is halfhearted at best, though I am trying. I have only two strange prospects - really only one that I'm sure of- and I feel a bit defeated while searching craigslist and monster and the reader, and yes, I've even looked at the theatre job boards...because I realize that there is next to nothing out there being offered that I'd actually want to do. You can't send out a resume to someplace you don't even want to be, and you certainly can't interview for someplace you don't care about or believe in. I hate the shallow nature of the job seeking process as it is. Like Erich Fromm might say - I feel like I'm a commodity...that no one desires.

I really had hoped this job would be good enough that I'd want to stay for a few years, a place I could settle down. But, as i speak, other co-workers who I enjoy being with are also seeking work elsewhere, have already left, or are waiting out their last few days.

I have never been lucky enough to know people who could help me in my job search, and i can't say my timing has been great. But I am sick to death of helping self centered people with an over inflated sense of entitlement, selling things for a company that doesn't even believe in the needs of their customers.

So, here I am. I'm not sure that leaving is the answer, but staying isn't either.

I've come to a point where it's more than just my job situation that I am questioning, though the way onto this road hinges on that recurring circumstance.

I'm questioning what I really want. What do I really want to do. I know plenty of things that I don't want...but it has occured to me that maybe I've made poor decisions as to what I thought I wanted. And likely, I don't even know what I wanted at all. Perhaps I only thought I wanted some things because they were convenient or seemed to alleviate my problems at the time.

I've felt that throughout my life, what I've wanted was something that really didn't matter much. I had to concentrate on what was needed, like paying the bills, or providing for other necessities, or getting work done. I've felt that what I wanted also didn't matter in the face of what was available. if what I actually wanted didn't exist in a way that was attainable, what then was the point of wanting it?

I'm feeling the weight of that sentiment very much at the moment, so much so that I am not sure what I should be doing. What do I want? what should I want? Should I even care?

Maybe the real question to ask is what I need. So, what do I need? Maybe that will be easier to answer.

I need to feel confident about myself, because despite appearances, I struggle with it. I need to feel like I am doing something meaningful, or fun, or creative, - all of the above really. I need to feel like I'm not wasting my time, energy or talent and I'm not just paying bills. I need to feel like the work I do put in is valued beyond someone just saying "You've done a great job." Not that I don't enjoy the words, but I hear them said so hollowly so often as a response at work that it just seems rote and without real content.

I need to feel like what I want is relevant.

As soon as I figure out what it is i want.

You would think, that being an artist and creating things for other people would be something I would want and would make me happy. Art is something I not only want to do, it is something I NEED to do. I've barely done ANY real art over the last few months and it literally has caused problems. I get more depressed, angry, and despairing when I don't have access to the safety valve that art is for me.

You'd think that making clothing for other people would fulfill that need.
Well, it most certainly doesn't, which is why I'm done doing it for others, especially friends. It's always more time and effort and trauma than it's actually worth, and I am NEVER compensated for my time. My best friend from back home still owes me a LARGE chunk of the price of an entire 3 piece outfit. Because she's not well off, I can't exactly bug her about it. I made the thing a YEAR ago for her.

I'm glad that my friends and family seem to like what I do, but the problem is, none of them can really pay me, or get me connections, and there's the bias that they are all my friends and family.

What I NEED is for people who don't fucking know who I am to see what I do and find value and meaning in it. Once, at a portfolio day at school, there was a lady from some theatre company who approached me in the hall upstairs afterward and told me that I was a true artist. "I think you alreay know that," she said "But I thought someone in the business should tell you.

I did enjoy that comment, but it's a rare thing to get. And it's even rarer for someone to see that and say that and then still value you enough to give you a project that makes the use of your skills as well as pays your bills, and doesn't kill you in the process.

I've had this dizzy sensation in my head on and off when I think about all this (stress). I go round and round because I feel trapped and I have yet to find any hint of a sufficient answer.

Does it really matter what I want at this point? I'm 30, and I don't feel old, but the preprogramming of age that this society instills in us is certainly playing its part I'm sure. I'm 30 and I'm working a dead end retail job. I have 2 degrees that I'll be paying for until I'm 50, and I'm not using either of them.

I refuse to work jobs that take away from time with Mike, that cause stress, that want me to work hours that are inconvenient for other projects, that have commutes that eat up hours of my day, that make me so tired that I eat badly, sleep poorly, and feel crappy about myself.

Am I to sit here, continuing to build this useless chain of useless jobs around my feet until it's time to retire? (which according to this society, is the time you get to do what you actually want unless you were priviledged in some way beforehand)

I'd like to believe that there is something out there for me, and I have an odd feeling that change is already on its way, but part of me is afraid that feeling is only wishful thinking. I know that true change only comes from within, but it is certainly hard to catalyze change when outside circumstances allow for so little movement or hope, and when you don't even know where to look within to properly change the without.

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