I’m feeling a lot better about my career/life path, now that I have some additional information.
The most striking thing that I realized, today, was how much more easily I am able to get out of bed when I have the art practice (and blogging) to look forward to. I’ve been getting about 6-8 hours of sleep a night, as versus before, which was so dysfunctional that I hesitate to admit to it online. 😉 It hasn’t been easy — and I have been napping in the daytime — but I don’t feel like I’m wasting so much of my life, anymore.
I went to work today for the 8-hour shift that I’ve switched into. What I can say about working all day as versus working 3-5 hours at a stretch over multiple days is that…it’s really nice to be able to have four days off in a row, where I can go to school and not stress about work. I could easily draw the amount of pay I’m getting now, for example, by working two full-day shifts…though of course that would have to be at a time when my employer can accommodate me!
I picked up some books on career from the library today which focus on using Writing as a skill to make a living, and getting a job after having majored in a branch of English. My other class on communication is really validating now that I know that it ties into my art, my writing, and some of the identity issues I’ve had over the course of my life. In particular, the concept that I’ve gained over time — that no matter what I do, other people will still project their own meanings and messages onto me — is somewhat freeing, because then I don’t have to try to get people to recognize me “as me.” Because they will never see me as I see myself. That means that, within a certain range of safety, I can do whatever I want and not worry about what other people are seeing. This is the insight I’ve been leading up to for a while.
This is nice on the gender front, specifically, knowing that I am gender-variant, but in such an everyday manner that unless and until I say something, others don’t suspect my history and inner experience. And that is such a powerful thing to know — that I will have to say something if I want to be seen. And that, just wow — that I can present in a feminine manner and interact in a feminine way and it’s OK! And when I’m interacting with males, it doesn’t all have to circle around reproduction.
How long did it take me to get to that point?
Well, I’m feeling really good today, and I’m thinking and hoping it’s in a healthy way. And I’m thinking that it’s likely due to my classes and not being locked into a career path, and finding a potential path in which I could excel (Technical Writing). Also, I now have two first places to look for meaningful work, and I have two classes within the Art program that I could take which would give me work experience. If I wanted to pursue a Master’s, I’ve found a program. I could work at an QUILTBAG nonprofit, but I could also do more. If I learned to communicate visually, through text and also through speech (and possibly also nonverbally), I’d be in a really strong position.
And I’ve been told that if I do get a job which pays well and which I’m happy in, I don’t have to keep going to Community College. I asked about this the other night and was told, basically, that I don’t have to continue until I do get the Business certificate. I could learn on the job.
That in itself — prioritizing work and school — helped so much. Now I know that I don’t have to spend the next two years in a dance between part-time work and part-time college courses. Plus, I don’t have to stay in my present job permanently. It’s a stepping-stone job, not one I’d stay in forever. And if I were a Technical Writer, I wouldn’t have to deal with many people I didn’t know, all the time. Also, I have a good reason to stay in Art.
Art practice is in some way healing for me. It’s challenging, and it can be scary, but my professor is very good at easing the fears of judgment and failure. Neither have I had to deal so much with the scariness around the question of where my creativity is coming from, because I’m understanding it in the moment as play or as a visual representation of mathematical/geometric thought, or as constructing something nonobjectively, or as training myself to see more attentively, or as a visual way of trying to solve a problem. It’s working out to be really awesome.
And yes, now I want to take Watercolor. 😛
The pineapple drawing I mentioned in comment to the last post is dry now; I’ll see if I can transfer it over for you.