Monday, March 5, 2012

Go. Stop. Return. A stream-of-conciousness post

It has happened. My guy and I are renting a place with his mother because if we did not make this move we would not be able to make ends meet. After so many ups and downs and two instances of almost-had-a-job-until-small-business-owner-changed-their-mind, in one year, a tutoring gig that fell through after 6 months because the parents thought their son could somehow understand all 5th-grade-American-Coursework after coming over from Taiwan, in an instant, and it didn't happen. So they took him home. And I am left with no income and am approaching 3 years without true employment.

I have held odd jobs. I tutored at the junior college for a semester. I temped for an e-store, doing data entry for the accounting department. I did event planning and marketing for a small cafe for two months before that opportunity dried up. I did something similar for a pet-food store, though that lasted for less than a month. In both small business opportunities, I counted on doubling the roles in sales, as a barista for the cafe or a sales rep for the pet store--but I think my degree put me at a disadvantage for both those things. The owner of the pet store told me point blank "You need a college degree job."

And I tutored the kid for 6 months.

Wondering, right now, what is a college degree job?

If you're an aspiring something-or-other-- take my lesson to heart. I paid to much attention to my mother's high-minded whimsy. I did what I loved and I am still waiting for the money to follow. There is no back up plan. My work history is wide ranging as I took work to pay the bills.

But the back-up plan should not be something that you see as doing instead of your art, but in support of your art.

I didn't. I saw my mom, the poet, mired in corporate work, relegating her art to the sidelines. It never occurred to me that it wasn't the job that got in her way of realizing her ability. She chose where she put her energies.

I always viewed, because of her, the full-time-job as a threat to art. But plenty of authors have done it.

Perhaps I excused my perception with the belief that I was a a "low-energy" individual, because I need a lot of sleep, and after 3pm I'm puttering rather than working in a dedicated fashion.

Now, looking at my clothes, furniture, excessive everything and trying to assign a monetary value to it, to get it out of the way and have some sort of income to pay off credit cards, I don't see jobs the same way.

I don't see my degree the same way. I don't see what I need to live the same way as I used to.

Everything is paring down to the essentials. I'm hoping to be on my feet again as soon as possible. I've returned to beading, jewelry making and am hoping to open an etsy store in a month, after my products are sufficiently stockpiled. The applications for jobs, from customer service to administrative assistant keep going out. Like clockwork, I'm imitating the motions but lacking any more expectations for results.

At least with this move, I can cut out some time to read and write. I need to read and write, keep myself sane in this spirit-degrading chaos.

Money is my motivation now, about as strong a calling as the art. I don't like using food stamp tickets to pay for my farmer's market shopping. I don't like my poverty being worn so openly. So right now, I will do what I can to get out of this hole.

I just find it funny that writing has been where I've put my time in for the past decade, but I haven't published anything but a handful of articles.

I know I'm to blame for this. But now I can't be picky. I have to produce--jewelry, stories, content, whatever--because I need to sell it, and this is what I can do. It might be hard work for pittance, perhaps, but so too was being a Starbucks Barista. I can live off of pittance. I just can't live off of debt. But this is where I, at least, know what I can do.

So it's a place to start.

This move is putting other stresses on hold and permitting us a little more time to summon the funds to get rid of credit. So I'm taking what control I can in the situation.

It's a humbling the backdrop of growing ever older. The Girls, my best friends from High School have revolving birthdays that kind of help me track the year. This weekend, we're celebrating Ha's 29th. Our 20's are all almost gone, and I feel that I haven't really had a chance to surpass that college-age-period. Graduating in '09 has meant that I am behind getting the job, getting on my feet. I've been hovering between college and working-adult with no means of backtracking to to the college experience and no admission into the "adult" world. And I'm turning 29 this year, falling back on crafts in an attempt to make ends meet.

Mind boggling, really and truly. This isn't the world I was told to go to college for, the world where a BA would guarantee a little work to pay the bills. I had more luck finding work without the college degree.

I have to do it myself, work for myself--because I'm running out of options.

So here's to another stream-of-consciousness post :P


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