Means of living, desire to live.

Nothing like an eight-hour working shift in a government institution to remind me of what most people consider “a real job.”

Being in Watercolor class — it really makes me want to work with this medium, more.  By which, I mean that I really want to continue on in the series of classes.  I want to do my best in this class…even somewhat more so than one of my other required classes.

But I can’t stay in community college, forever.  Right now I’m feeling a little torn between working at my art; and moving further towards becoming a professional in Library Science, restarting this Fall (which my Watercolor professor seems impressed with).  The major reason I’m after the Library Science degree is that, because of my disability status, I need to keep my health care, and I need to have some structure as regards work, and a stable job.  I would also like to have a source of income if and after my eyesight goes out.

Working in Information Science could also draw off of my previous Sociology training, and could be a good application of my mind — I’ve been told multiple times by multiple people that I’m capable of a lot more than I’m doing.  My intelligence is one of my strong points, but it’s probably also something that was indirectly responsible for the troubles I had in my childhood and young adulthood.

I’m still working on the kind of negative situation we had from before the Affordable Care Act, when I had to keep my health insurance or risk having to resort to State insurance which would probably put me on a medication which can cause irreparable damage to the neural system (that medication is effective and cheap, but also stigmatizing).

The art may be my reason to stay alive, but my job and career are my means to stay alive.  Making a living at Art is risky at best; and at least, working in the Library may keep me in line with my values…which would probably not be fully honored if I went into, say, Graphic Design.

Having entered into my capstone class as regards the AA in Art, I can see that there are a lot of ways to be creative, most of which (like Film and Sculpture), I’ve never seriously considered.  Prior to this semester, I hadn’t taken Watercolor seriously either, mostly because the class is located an hour away from home.  But…I really, really enjoy working with color, and Watercolor is a bit simpler (at this point for me, anyway), than working with acrylic paint.

I’ve never used oils, because of the fumes and the fire hazard aspect (the latter of which, I’m familiar with from wood shop — linseed oil is fairly hazardous), but my present professor teaches oil painting as well.  I just really can’t imagine what goes on in that class, quite.  🙂  As a teacher, he’s aware of the more dangerous aspects of the art, though.  I still remember my sibling coming home from oil painting reeking of chemicals and talking about how they could see their third eyelid (people don’t have third eyelids) — it’s very possible that they didn’t have a professor who cared about occupational hazards as much as this one.

What I can do is note down everything my prof is teaching the Continuing Watercolor students, and play with it on my own time.

Today…was a really quiet day at work.  I ran low on steam at around 5 PM.  I’m still trying to figure out what’s causing it.  Topping the list of possibilities are Vitamin D deficiency, anemia, and dehydration.

Of benefit to me, though — my supervisor is having us note down every cart we shelve, and — I didn’t realize it, but I’m kind of really good at shelving.  I keep seeing the newer employees who probably feel some pressure to work quickly and efficiently (I’m the most senior person in my position on staff right now), and I feel like I’m not working as fast as them.  When — I can’t even remember how many carts I shelved between 11 AM and 5:30 PM, but it was a lot.  Enough to fill up a 1/4 sheet of paper with my start times and the names of the carts.

Generally speaking, I’m at work for eight hours.  The first hour is sorting incoming holds and returns and checking in what’s left for us overnight and from the previous day; then there are at least two hours in which I’m normally staffing Circulation.  The last hour is basically a wash, because we’re closing.  This means that there are six “normal” working hours, two of which, I’m on desk — leaving four to shelve.  That is, minus thirty minutes for my two breaks.  I should be able to reshelve at least eight carts in three and a half hours (210 minutes).  That means an average of ≤ 26.25 minutes per cart.  Did I do that today?  I’m not sure, because I didn’t think to count them, but I think I did come in under that time.

I can check when I drop back in tomorrow.

Some of the carts are routinely fast, and take about 10-15 minutes to complete (the “New” book carts can take as few as 7 minutes); others can take up to 30 minutes or more, depending on how much repair the section needs.  (I’m generally kind of bad at leaving the shelves looking like a mess, and this is — so far as I know — my biggest fault in shelving.)

I am just not sure how it is that I will have enough time to make art if I’m working and taking 6-9 units in a Master’s program.  Though!  It’s very possible that I’ll be able to bury myself in my Library study like I’m working at in the Art program, right now.

Will I have to shelve the art practice (pun not intended) for three years while I work on securing a livelihood?  I’m not sure.  I hope not.  I’m not sure I would be able to stand it.  I should probably plan to set aside some time where I can blow off some steam and take care of myself, by doing something like the Art — and meditation.  What happened last time was a lot of stress-eating, which is one of the main reasons I withdrew (I gained 7 lbs).  That kind of stress is not worth it.

What I’ll need to do is take care of my time management, take time to loosen up and meditate, take time to write here, take time to work on my Art.  Even though I feel like I may eventually be held responsible for memorizing all of the things I’m supposed to learn at an A+ level, realistically, that probably isn’t going to be the case for most people.  And, it’s an unrealistic expectation for me to set for myself — although I probably really should revisit that reading I never finished in 2012.

I feel better, now.  I needed to get that out.  I’ve got to go eat, now…and maybe I’ll do some reading in my Library Management text that I left off of a bit ago…

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Haru ("Codey") is a third-year Master's student in Library and Information Science, hoping to find a way to fuse their desire to make the world a better place and to finance their art.

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