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Saturday, September 15

Just an update. Feel free to skim/skip.

I've been home for a little over a week, and already, things are getting better. When I left Penland, I was kind of a mess. It was the accumulation of a variety of things that happened within my last couple of weeks there, and they all left me feeling very overwhelmed about my future possibilities, confused about what I really wanted to do, and just generally emotionally drained.

Even after initially coming home, I was overwhelmed. Right after I decided not to take it, the job offer in Brooklyn improved. I asked for more money, and they were willing to give me more money. I heard back from a friend about an apartment available directly below his apartment, in a great part of Bed-Stuy for a good price. I almost, almost accepted the job.

And then I retreated. Sat by myself for a few hours and just... stewed. And I realized that I didn't want the job. I didn't need the job, and it for sure wouldn't be my only opportunity in Brooklyn. I think that the only reason I wanted to take it was 1) for the money, 2) to be in NYC, and 3) because everyone was like, "Whoa! That sounds like an awesome gig! How did you score that?"

But, friends. Those are not good enough reasons. My priorities right now are to, yeah, make money. But not for the sake of making money. For the sake of paying off my student loans and, most importantly, for the sake of making art. And what's the point of making an awesome amount of money in an amazing neighborhood if I wouldn't have the time or energy to enjoy either? 

So I've decided to stay on the West Coast for now. Enjoy my large studio/bedroom space, the nice weather, and being close to family. My older sister is getting married next year, my younger sister just went off to college, and my little brother goes to college in two years. I sincerely feel like this is a really critical transitional period in my family, and I want to be close enough to enjoy things as they are before we truly get caught up in our separate lives. We're all growing up, I guess. 

For the first few days after making the decision to stay at home, I was paralyzed. I didn't make any art. Actually, I'm still not making art. It had been four months since I had a real space to create (with the exception of the two-week class I took at Penland in July), and I didn't know what to do with myself. This realization reinforced my decision to not take the job in Brooklyn, where I would be working 60 hour weeks and wouldn't have time to create art for two years. If four months of being out of practice left me feeling so lost, how would I feel if I didn't regularly make art for two whole years?

My studio practice is a critical part of my life and identity. I like to spend at least four hours in the studio everyday, even after coming home from work, no matter how tired I am. It's what makes me feel most alive, most productive. It's what gives my life meaning. And I want to do something that allows to me prioritize that studio time in my life.

Now, after about 9 days of being home, ideas and focus is coming back to me. I am exploring new things (I stumbled into cake decorating a few days ago while bouncing around ideas with my sister for her wedding. I already love to bake, and I love the idea of making very simple cakes with haute-couture and elegant surface design that is informed by textiles and ceramic work), while playing around with ideas that improve skills that I already have (graphic design, photography). For the past couple of days, and for the better part of today and tomorrow, I have been reorganizing and rearranging my studio. I'm installing shelves along one wall today, and I'm already beyond excited to work in the space. Things are coming together for me, and I feel much more at peace with myself and my life now than I did even three days ago.

So that's where I am right now, I guess.  I still do want to move to Santa Barbara for a few months;  I just don't know when that's going to happen. I also still want to try to hike the PCT, but I don't think I'll be ready this April/May. Maybe I'll hike part of it this summer and thru-hike it next summer.

I really don't know, and I'm not worried about it. To me, choosing where I'm going to live and exactly how I'm going to fund my art -- those are details. I was at a crossroads, and I've chosen the kind of life that I want to live. I decided that I am going to put my faith into myself, into my artistic intent, my work ethic, my vision, and my ambition. I am not going to take a full-time job that does not allow me to focus on my art. To do that would be a cop out, and I'm not ready to give up on myself in that way yet. I have chosen to believe in myself. And maybe things won't work out. Maybe I will have to take a full-time, 9-5 job in a year or two. It's absolutely likely, to be honest. But at least I will do it after giving myself a fair shot. I will do it after giving myself the time, space and resources to really explore my art and ideas. And no matter what happens, the next year or two will be a huge learning experience, and I refuse to regret them.

Brooklyn and a grown-up job will always be there, waiting for me in the shadows. But this time and freedom to give myself entirely to my art and my dream won't. I refuse to turn my back on them just yet.

I realize that this was a really boring blog post, so I apologize about that. But now you know how I've been feeling, and so do I.

1 comment:

Grace said...

I love you.