Fall semester 2014 is now over. I’m kind of having mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I get to do what I wanted to do during the semester, but had no time to do. If things go well and I am not pushed into doing things like household chores which I have prior-to been exempt from, I should be able to finish Bamboo and work on other projects, like that whole thing I started with the book, You Majored in What?
On the other hand, I think I’m really going to miss my classmates and my professor — for the Art class, I suppose I should make clear. (What the Communications class showed me is that I really don’t want to be in a primarily social job.) In addition, the structure that I got for two days out of the week is now no longer there, which makes me a bit apprehensive about where my sleep and work habits are going to go for (about) the next month, before classes restart.
I have re-checked out a bunch of books on trying to make it financially as a writer. But truth be told, a lot of these books seem to focus on people who live writing — not, writing and art, or writing and music, or any other combination of traits. Given that, the above book looks as though it will be very useful.
Of course, I should remind myself that one of my primary reasons for joining the Alumni Association at my alma mater, is the free career counseling (plus the library card). I just feel a bit torn, though, because — well, I don’t have just one easily categorizable thing I want to do. It would be easier if I hated Art or had no skill in it, because then I could devote myself to reading and writing. Or if I hated Writing or had no skill in it, because then I could devote myself to visual literacy and Studio Art practice.
But the thing is, I’m very versatile, and it takes a lot for me to get the point that “I’m not good at this,” or “I dislike doing this.” I see difficult things as challenges to overcome, not signs that I should try something easier.
I suppose the big exception to this has been my math classes, because prior to just recently, I hadn’t had a math class since 12th grade. Accordingly, it takes a lot of strain for me to try and understand, say, Calculus, because my last math class was PreCalculus — but that was over a decade ago. So jumping into things with teachers who can’t explain why they’re doing what they’re doing, and having forgotten simple bits of information like the Order of Operations, or what to do with fractional exponents…it makes things harder. I tried Calculus and also Accounting, but felt like they were so difficult to grasp that I was jeopardizing my GPA (and my sense of myself as a good student) for basically no reason. It would make sense to stick with the class if I were to become an Artisan Jeweler, because then I’d have to take costs and cost fluctuations and sales into account — but I’ve decided not to go that route.
My energies are also relatively unfocused, because I’ve been trying to work on things on so many levels at once. I’ve been trying to fill in my deficits and build on my strengths, when maybe I should just abandon what I’m not good at and use the time to build on that which I both like to do and which I’m good at.
I don’t even like to write or draw all the time, though. I guess that maybe, like any other job, there will be days when I don’t want to show up to work, but I have to do so anyway. If I look at it from a distance, I generally like to write and I generally like to draw — but the content of what I’m writing or drawing actually matters to me. It’s not like I’d jump at the chance at writing an instruction manual for a microwave oven, you know? I don’t love writing anything or drawing anything. I have limits, and I have ethics. It isn’t the process I’m in love with; the content matters.
It’s like I don’t want to read just any book I’m given because I’m amazed at how I can decode language…not really. I’m good enough at reading that, at least in English, I’m not wowed anymore that things can be communicated through symbols (though once in a while I do break words down into their constituent components and they cease to have intrinsic meaning). Japanese, on the other hand — that’s newer to me, and I’m still fascinated with the differences in grammar, the kanji, the rules as to when what pronunciation goes where, etc.
But that’s in an entirely different category, due to the massive positively-skewed bigotry I’ve seen going on in and around Japanese culture — which was the major reason I decided that getting up at 5 AM to go to Japanese lessons wasn’t for me. I didn’t want to deal with more people who thought it was “so cool” that I was part-Japanese. It’s not just that, either. But I probably shouldn’t get into it.
I really should have taken the opportunity to go, though. It’s possible that I would have had to wake up at 5 AM because the professors figured that if class started at 7:30 AM, the bigots wouldn’t care enough to come. I’m not sure what the reasoning behind it was, but fact of the matter is that I was getting to bed in the early morning hours as it was, anyway. And I didn’t see any great job prospects waiting for me after graduation, if I majored in Japanese — I’m female and nikkeijin, and I’d probably read to men in Japan as “exotic.” Ask me. Do I want to deal with that? I’m primarily attracted to women. Do I want to deal with that?
Now maybe it wouldn’t have been that bad, but seriously…I wouldn’t have wanted to be the one delegated to serving tea to everyone else. Especially not, when no protections exist against sexual assault or rape in Japan.
I didn’t want to get off on that leg, sorry. But it’s pretty, well, common for me to run across anime fans and the like. There isn’t anything intrinsically wrong with Japanese animation, or with liking it, but I’ve found a lot of anime fans to want to be Japanese, valuing Japanese culture over their own culture, and I personally find it a bit disturbing when they fetishize me because of my racial and cultural background. In that sense I feel like I’m being seen as an object, and no longer as a person.
I think, having worked in anti-oppression groups before (though granted, those were in relation to sexuality and gender) that this is actually a widespread problem (just recontextualize A/PI where “gender” goes). I also, from being related to other female-assigned people of Japanese ancestry, have seen the destruction and dysfunction that these views can cause.
That’s not even to mention my personal engagement with this — what happened before I knew how awful this can be (that is, when I made efforts to befriend people who loved me for my Asianness and not because they were actually interested in me).
Anyhow, I should get going. I’ll be back later — but there is hot food right now, and I don’t want to miss it. 🙂