When I think back to the first time I gave my vocational future any real thought–in high school–I was all over the place. But not really all over the place. I mean, I never wanted to be an astronaut. Space just didn’t do it for me. Or anything having to do with being in the sky. Science didn’t do it for me. Sure, I liked stuff like Pop Rocks and Zotz candy but that’s as far as my scientific self stretched.
Forget about math.
Math was always, always akin to snake pits or firey furnaces. Total head bashing. I think I would get nauseaus on the way to math classes through junior/high school. Once I think I ended up in the school nurses’ office. I may even have put my head on her lap. And I wasn’t faking. I.LOATHED.MATH. Trigonometry, calculus and geometry were pure evil to me. Just couldn’t handle protractors and square roots and formulas. I think I wept once in the back of a math class. This was a big deal for someone who was uber concerned with being cool. Tears had no place in school. EVER.
Then there were so many subjects and fields I simply knew little or nothing about. Like commerce or technology, which when I was growing up the latter wasn’t even a word used anywhere near as frequently as today. To a teenager in the 80’s it was like saying “yidshinbach.” Meant nothing, really.
Medicine? You mean blood?
Education? I thought of female teachers as pale women who wore big blow-out skirts, ugly brooches and flat Maryjane shoes who sat alone in the evenings with their cats grading papers. Nope.
Military? Again, nope. Combat and me already had a too-close relationship having grown up in a dysfunctional childhood.
So what was left?
Yep. THE ARTS.
Well, it wasn’t so much left as it was just who I was and still am. But when I was growing up there wasn’t much emphasis placed on making careers out of anything art or right-brain related. Artists (which includes writers, musicians, painters, sculptors, etc.) were considered near losers except for when they reached success. Artists were mostly considered sociological misfits who generally were lazy and didn’t want to work “real jobs”, perhaps couldn’t adapt to real life. (Not that artists weren’t always looked upon this way.)
I mean, Daniel Pink hadn’t written this yet.
And also, a lot of people still view artists as whatevers.
I mean, my own 80+ year old godmother said to me once “Well, Jennifer, the only way artists make it big is they have to die first.”
So there I was (and still am) trying to navigate being a semi-tragic right-brainer. A person who doesn’t fit a whole lotta places yet fits everywhere because of my right-brain adaptability and both-sides-of-the-fence grasping powers. I’ve never been pointed in the right direction; I’ve always had to discover the right direction.
Discover the right direction.
Do you know how many detours its taken?
Most detours look like this:
Nope, mine was/is more like this:
And to make matters “worse” I wasn’t merely a painter/illustrator. I was a writer, a cartoonist/artist, a bedroom stand-up comedienne, a singer, a hopeless crafter, a…
A flitterer. One who flits. A person with no solid ground. One dictionary’s recent definition of a flitterer is: “An empty-headed, silly, often erratic person.”
The last thing my head is is empty.
The tragedy of a delayed artist is a tragedy of delayed beauty, of delayed peace. After graduating college and working for just a handful of years I realized that there was no way I could ignore the gifts I’ve been given, a mandate of sorts. So now as I do something as hideous as job hunt (including interviews where I hold my breath during inquiries of gaps on my resume when I was flittering) I have a plan, a Master Plan.
The plan is to not give up on my gifts, to work them until they bleed, if they need to bleed, to die doing what I have the gifts to do. If I leave a legacy, great. If I don’t, still great. At least I lived inside of my gifts. There’s a quote from one of my favorite movies A Bronx Tale: “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.”
I won’t be wasting mine anymore. Every thing I’ve got to give, there is an audience for it.
This is new thinking. Yet old information.
Another rambling from the Cubicle Rebel.