Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Why? Because, that's why.

Also because, as Gershwin put it, "things are looking up" -- I've had a couple interviews and am working on getting a third scheduled. Honestly, it's just nice to know I'm being noticed. Sitting at home all day, or driving around on various errands in town, is not all high heels and pearls and perfectly coiffed hair -- there's a distinct lack of purpose going on there, too.

More like the woman on the right, is what I'm saying.

Now, I know - in the grand scheme of things, I'm supposed to be setting up my art practice so I can one day be self-employed, and being self-employed would eventually mean spending a great deal of my time at home in my studio - but for now, the lack of a direct link between my making art and my making money (and my fears stemming from the threat of not making money) renders the whole process rather empty for me.

Nevertheless, just as I am starting to have some luck in the job market (fingers crossed!), I'm starting to see things turn around in the studio. I hadn't put pen -- or charcoal, or brush, or pastel -- to paper for over six months, and this past weekend, I went into the studio, hung up a sheet of paper, and started to draw. A big, giant, Christmas Card of an image -- not because I needed to do it for class, and not because I think I could sell it or gain gallery representation through it, but because I was feeling an emotion that I wanted to put on paper (maybe it's part of "risking my talent?"). I stayed up till three a.m. drawing, and as I shoved Mr. back onto his side of the bed before laying down, I felt better. Not automatically happier, but more like I'd just had a really good cry without smudging mascara all over my face. And it wasn't because I accidentally pulled his hair and woke him up as I fluffed up my pillow -- though that was pretty damn funny.

And if making art or tugging hair ever fails, there are always other options . . .

Thursday, November 24, 2011


It's Thanksgiving, and in a few hours Mr. and I will be joining first his parents, then my parents, for a Thanksgiving meal. Yes, you read that right: Two Thanksgivings. The trick is small bites -- very, very small bites, and reminding myself that even though what I'm eating right now is so very scrumdiddlyumptious delicious, I SHALL NOT GET SECONDS, or else. Or else the night ends in me hating myself, my stomach waging full-blown overstuffed war on the rest of my body. Having made it through four of these already, I am confident in my ability to avoid such an unpleasant fate -- but I had to suffer through the first two to learn.

Which brings me to today's topic: Thankfulness. I'm running a little further with the 'blessings' idea today, trying to take a realistic look at all the good stuff I've got going on in my life that I generally take for granted, or at least don't think about all that often. Which is to say: I still don't have a job -- but things could be worse!

Ah yes, I could indeed be an artist.
I first saw this painting in The Artist's Guide by Jackie Battenfield, a professional self-help manual for artists. The painting is by Jim Torok, who is, of course, an artist. Entirely non-P.C., Torok's piece is a great reminder for me to find humor in the stereotypes that surround my chosen profession, as well as being a harshly truthful reality check. No matter how many problems I'm having or how concerned I may feel about the future, things are really not that bad -- let's title this version of thankfulness (NOTE: The following link is probably, unless your office is super chill, NSFW.) "Schadenfruede."

Yes, Schadenfruede - the very emotion I will be feeling tonight if I look across the table and see Mr. wallowing after too many scoops of stuffing, mashed potatoes, and those yummy crescent rolls sold by the Pillsbury Dough Boy - happiness in recognizing that he is far worse off than me. Yet behind the Schadenfruede will be a true Thankfulness; a thankfulness that we have so much food we can stuff ourselves into oblivion, that I am not alone in my journey, and that as bad as things might look right now, I really do have an awful lot going for me. Happy Turkey Day, everybody!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Risking My Talent

No, not this Jesus.

Heads Up: The following post involves a Bible verse, a sermon, and some personal theological contemplations. Although by my writing this, I do not purpose to convert or contradict anyone else, I realize that many people come here for the swearing and the feminist-co-opted-neo-sexism and that religious talk can be a very touchy subject. Therefore, consider this your heads up that things are going to get a little Presbyterian in here. I'm going to talk about the Parable of the Talents (or Matthew 25:14-30, if you prefer to look it up manually in Ye Olde Good Booke).

This past weekend, I spent a lot of time soul-searching, and a lot more time looking around for a clue of what I should do. A quick explanation of my relationship to Faith: I believe there is something beyond the world we see and touch everyday, and I believe that conceptions of God(ess)/Allah/Buddha/The Universe* are all human attempts to comprehend something that defies comprehension. That said, I was also raised as a dyed-in-the-wool Protestant, which means I grew up with a lot of ideas about God being immediately accessible - if I want to talk to God, I can, directly and without a lot of hassle, although I might not always understand what I hear back. Therefore, when I say I was looking for a clue, I do mean I was looking for The Universe to provide an answer to all the questions whirling in my head - why did I lose my job? What does it mean? What am I supposed to do now? Where should I start?

Counting My Blessings

I've been thinking a lot about this song this week.

One week ago, I received some unexpected and rather shocking news - I was fired from the full-time position with benefits that I took five months ago, after I graduated with two degrees that I had always assumed consigned me to either a life in retail or food service until I "made it big." To have actually found gainful employment and a steady, good-sized paycheck was a source of tremendous pride for me, even as I struggled to find a balance between my job and my ultimate career as a writer and artist, and to lose that job meant a major blow to both my self-esteem and my sense of self-sufficiency. As I try to keep the job-hunting blues at bay, I've started counting my own blessings:

1) My long-time weekend job has graciously allowed me to pick up some extra hours to help fill in the gaps until I find a new job.

2) My family and friends have been nothing but supportive, and I can't stress enough how great it's been to have such a solid backing, especially when I have trouble hearing anything beyond that inner voice shouting, "You suck! You suck, you're never going to get another job, especially during this recession. You might as well sign up for unemployment now and just give up."

3)  I have a partner who still has a great job, and although it's not enough income to support us both comfortably, it's a lot of more than many people in my situation can count on.

4) I've turned in five applications to places that are hiring over the past three days, and just had my first interview today.

Ultimately, I tell myself that Mr. is right, that things are going to work out, and that I'm not going to be unemployed forever. That, and counting the blessings I do have in my life, is helping me sleep at night -- but I am not going to feel at ease until I've signed a hiring offer along that dotted line.

Friday, November 11, 2011

What Rejection Means, Part 2

First, a note from Mrs.: I know, you're probably thinking: "Wait, another downer post about not getting into grad school or something? Geez, what's with this broad?" You're probably right to question my choice -- after months of publishing silence, I really shouldn't kick this off with the kind of post with "rejection" anywhere in the title. But, I started this blog with the intention of writing from my heart, and that's what I'm going to do. Thank you for being willing to walk alongside me.

Coming to theaters everywhere.
Losing a job feels a lot like getting dumped. Sorry, not losing a job - getting fired from a job. Getting fired from a job feels a lot like getting dumped. There's the desperate need for closure, the endless loop of wondering, 'What did I do? How could I have made it last? What's wrong with me?' Because of course something must be wrong, if I didn't even see it coming.

Then there's the anger, the accusatory thoughts and sharp-edged feelings, the glancing around for something - anything - to blame. Outside the self, inside the self, everything becomes shattered glass. And then there's me, stuck in the middle and trying to find a way out without getting cut.