I've quit my share of jobs. I've walked out during breaks. I've given notice. I've just not shown up. This being all during my teens and twenties. When in the mid 80's I started my massage business and worked for no one but me, I stayed with it for almost two decades. It was the pain of repetitive motion that finally pushed me to quit. How odd that it didn't seem at the time like something I would have done [quitting] without being forced to but in retrospect I see how ready, how overdue I was for quitting.
And then dear readers, most of you know I then quit my life in Arizona, hit the road and camped, travelled around. I worked a bit more at massage but always quit, pain being a big reason but I was done giving. I finally felt I had given enough. I was tired of trying to make other people feel better. It was time for me to just give to me. My life. My self.
So I ended up staying in Vermont. The art started pouring out of me. And yet many times I wanted to quit only because I didn't see how I could keep going on financially, physically, emotionally and so on. But I didn't quit because I felt as if the trail behind me, the ground behind me was literally disappearing after each step and I couldn't go back. I had to move forward. And even though it felt/feels hard, even though I am sometimes like a battery operated toy that has hit a wall and is moving but not going anywhere, I wont quit. Not until or unless I understand what, if anything, else I am to go towards.
I guess I am learning to respect the process and the synchronicity of life. I had to get a job this year and I've hated it. I haven't quit yet because I need the money and since it really doesn't take much right now to get by I don't have to work much. It's still slow and I haven't worked more than a few days the last two months. Somehow I sell just enough art to make it and leave those credit cards alone. In my mind I have quit the job, I don't see myself working 6-7 days again like I did when it was busy. I try to keep focused on art and not let the energy that it takes to be in that place, get ignored.
There have also been behaviors I've quit. People I've quit. Lifestyles I've quit. Quitting sounds negative, we are told to never give up, don't stop at nothing, don't quit! And I guess I have that attitude about art even though I'm going to contradict myself and say quitting is usually a positive thing. I don't think you should push yourself to the limit and mow down every obstacle. You can still get what you want in life, sometimes, by quitting the way you are going about going after it and trying something else. Duh. Easier said than done. Tell me that when I'm hell bent on fixing something on my computer and sit here for days and days, my eyeballs red and watery, panting like a rabid animal. Tell me that when I've made a shit load of art and have no new places to show it. Endless memories in my mind of pure tenacity superseding reason. It is exhausting and uses up more resources than it is probably worth in the long run.
So. I guess I have no point. It always just boils down to trying to be in the moment. Letting the babbling brook of a brain dissipate. Trying not to get too far ahead of yourself. Remembering now is all you have so try to be in that moment and enjoy it. Keep following inclinations, hopes, dreams and heart. Quitting to me kind of equals freedom. You quit something when you have had enough and it isn't working for you. You move on. Find another route. Learn. Live.
I have adapted, as do most lefties. As a child the school tried to get me to write with my right hand but it didin't stick. I played baseball and would hit left handed but throw right handed. I caught better right handed. I played tennis right handed. Threw darts/arrows, shot BB Guns...all right handed. Who is to say it was natural to do most things right handed or part of my survival skill since I was always anxious and just copying everyone in order to learn. Paranoid thing that I was, I decided to learn how to write right handed as I got older in case I ever had my left hand amputated or suffered a stroke. I got very good at it but over the years stopped practicing.
Everything is for right handed people. So I comply. Shooting a camera, bowling, just about anything I can think of I do with my right hand save for playing pool and eating. Now I see that doing thing with tools with a left handed attitude might be part of the reason I am so screwed up when it comes to all that stuff. My brain feels split, I see as a left handed person but have automatically been trained to use my right hand. Try switching your mouse over for a left handed person and drawing with that hand in a Paint program....thats what life feels like when you are left handed.
My first job was a paper route. I was thrilled to be delivering newspapers, I had a large route and it took quite awhile on my bike to get them all delivered. In the winter I believe I pulled them on a sled, it took hours but the tips were great then. I will never forget a house I had to deliver to, it was the furthest point from my delivery start. Raymond. Raymond was one of the fattest little boys I've ever seen. I must have been in 5th grade and he was either a year younger or older, either way he was the meanest ugliest kid I'd ever seen. He was out of my school district so in real life I never had to deal with him. But every day after school I would dread having to ride past his house. Him and his posse would chase me on their bikes and the boys would all scream 'kill her Raymond, kill her!' I was terrorized to say the least. It was bad enough that a few houses before his I had to deal with the other worst house, the doberman house. Two doberman pincher's that jumped the fence and went for blood if allowed. The house was creepy, stinky and had I known anything back then would have realized it was probably a drug dealers cove. Between the dogs and Raymond and the after school punks that harassed me, I was constantly anxious and feared for my life. I always out rode them, sometimes I even had to skip the next house after his because if I slowed down to throw the paper god knows what they would have done with me. I got to be real fast and could sling a paper like nobodies business. One of the last houses on my route had little evil chiuwawas. Those little bastards also went for blood, nipping at ankles so I would have to ride fast and then put my feet up. Adrenaline was a daily drug coursing through my tiny body.
The worst job: When I left Arizona a few years ago to do this art journey thing I spent a winter in MN. I needed to work and since no one called me back for the odds jobs I applied for I resorted to massage. In Arizona I worked for myself and had wonderful clients. Families, normal people. Husbands, wives, moms, dads....regular people. In MN. I got all the perverts. I worked at this little massage place and was shocked by the customers. All men. Not a day went by I wasn't exposed creeps. It was the most disgusting job I have ever had. I learned how to deal with it and thankfully never had anything untowards happen. Not surprising I wasn't as popular as some of the other massage therapists, (they got dressed up and I kept myself sterile and plain looking) god knows what they were doing in those rooms, all I know is when they asked for a massage from me that's all they got and a piece of my mind if they tried to push the envelope.
Oh, there is a tie for worst job: the other worst job was right out of high school. I worked at the University Bookstore as an accountant. ME. Miss right brain. I was in a 4 x 5 room, no windows, basically a closet, doing the daily books. Every single day I had to get up early, dress up and sit in a hole for eight hours. My sheets never came out right and I was always pissing the other two secretaries off because they had to do it for me. The boss was a large Greek man who didn't understand anything I said, I was always in panic mode. I think I lasted a few months before they put me out on the floor where I became a better t-shirt maker and greeting card organizer.
Dream Job: I'm kind of already doing it since I'm working as an artist. The dream part would be to have a nice studio with windows so I could see the mountains as I worked. To have some assistants help me with fabricating things, and to be a mentor to others. Pretty boring for a dream job, but hey I live low.
a) admit any eccentricities you may have, or wish you had, or any you might choose to cultivate;
I don't think I have any of course, but some would say otherwise.
b) write about eccentric people you know or have heard or read about;
ah, this one would be impossible, everyone I know is strange.
or, the most fun:
c) devise a bunch of eccentricities for yourself, for fun -- either for your old age, or now. Imagine you've inherited a mansion and a fortune, and now it's your job to become an eccentric. You know, like having a pet pot-bellied pig that goes with you everywhere, and always wearing jodhpurs and riding boots (I had a boss that did that, though he owned a restaurant and didn't ride horses; he looked like a male Yoko Ono in riding attire).
I would have an artists commune in the desert/mountains. It would be a wood and steel home with several rooms. Each room would be set up with its own stereo, high speed computer, and art supplies for a given medium. One large 'garage' structure for machinery, scrap, dirty work (welding etc) Most if not all of these rooms would be mine with different art projects going in each. A few would be for other artists who are visiting. (I am guessing I would have four or five rooms for myself and two for other people). I would have a raku area and kiln set up as well.
There would be a large round kitchen in the middle with a sky roof, perhaps the entire home would be elevated but the kitchen would be at the highest spot. Actually forget the sky roof, I would have the entire kitchen made out of glass/windows so I could see for miles in the desert mountains. There would be a deck for outdoor tea and meals.
Ideally I would have one room that is for sleeping; one office; one main bathroom and the other art rooms/kitchen each with their own sink/toilet. The bedroom would have the ability to be totally dark and sound proof save for open windows. (when workers are helping with art projects I would not hear them if I took a nap). One large bed, no box springs and headboard but raised slightly via a steel or wood slab; great sheets/pillows and night lamp for reading. Some plants and storage for clothing (out of site). I would want weekly massages so the room would need to be large enough to set up a table but not any larger than necessary.
I would wear the same clothes all the time (they would be clean, but I just would never have to deal with style). The majority of my clothes, as in real life, are all 'shit clothes' that I wear. All previously owned. I would never buy new clothes and just as Hugh Hefner can walk around in his pj's and be accepted into the finest of establishments, I too would be accepted anywhere in my strange garb.
One 'fun' room, nothing large or eccentric, but where I could think/read/relax.
The bathroom would have a huge sunken tub with jacuzzi next to windows. There would be no shower, that would be outdoors, a concrete structure that is its own area and I could jump in there after a long hike or doing things outdoors when its hot.
The kitchen would have state of the art appliances, all industrial with metallic tiles/granite/steel. I would have a chef 3 days a week to prepare just a late midday meal and finger food for a few days in advance. I would also have built a nearby store that sells high quality farm raised animals so I could eat lamb, exotic meats, freshly made cheeses and eggs. They would also tend to my own personal herb garden on the property. I would, of course, just eat off of the same one glass plate, bowl and glass that I use in my current 'real' life.
I would have guest pods for artists or writers that are staying to work on their own or with me. The pods would be away from the main building.
The whole house would be more of an art studio than anything. I would have little to no personal belongings. Only the bare necessity of furniture. No shelves, no stupid nick knacks and all the crap that collects dust. No carpeting, only some beautiful rugs (nothing grotesque or expensive). Minimal, simple. Clean.
I would somehow have managed to find a dog that is unlike any other dog. He will be a large animal with short, soft hair. He will not leave dirt or hair in the house and will love to hike with me. He will be the sort of animal that doesn't make me more neurotic than I am...in other words, he won't constantly follow me and wait to see what I am doing or where I go. He will spend time alone out in the wild but join me often. He will love to wrestle and cuddle but be perfectly content when I am working to busy himself.
I will have one small hybrid car that gets me where I need to go with minimal energy usage (I'm not ecological per se but I loathe spending money on gas and being dependent on a resource that this world managed to get so obsessed and out of control with) I would also have one large truck or van that would cart my work and carry large supplies in.
I would have my roommate living right next door. We would be connected via a tunnel (though not an underground tunnel). We would have intercoms and video screen to be able to talk. We would spend days and days together looking for more scrap and he would be my assistant, helping me find the people I need to accomplish this and that.
I would be living away from towns and cities, but not so far that it took forever to get supplies. Five miles away from my home I would want a shop that is my gallery. I would have wine tasting and appetizers with the occasional surprise meals that I prepare when I have the time and urge (a few times a week). People would sit, be wined and dined while looking at art. A few days a week the gallery would be open and my roommate would run it while having access to his work online in a comfortable setting within.
My days would be spent learning things, making art, creating designs (even homes or buildings that although I am not an architect, someone would work with me and be able to make it after I have drawn it out), hiking, camping and spending quality time (in limited quantities) with other people. I would like to be a wise caring woman who never stops learning from others and can have a life filled with sharing and helping. I would be able to take time from art to go out there, and like a Hollywood talent scout, when I see someone that has 'it', I would be able to spend time with them and help them in any way I could. I would want to live in such a way that at certain times I am always being mentored and interchange that with being a mentor. The perfect balance of complete solitude for months on end mixed with interaction from new people and great friends.
Oh! And once every few years I would rent an RV and just travel with my camera and dog. My room mate would meet me here and there and travel with me at times as well.
*gee, so far the two comments both say none of this sounds eccentric. I guess that tells you how bland my normal life is if I think this is over the top. Or worse yet, maybe it shows how little I feel I will ever get in life. God.
Moved to a huge city soon as I was old enough to get the heck out of dodge. Good for a young adult on some levels but horrid on others. I got exposed to more but never felt like I 'fit' in. I had a small city mind. I was naive. Is it the city or the parents? Or life experiences? Or all of the above?
I once again live in a small town. VERY small. No stoplights small. I feel safer here but its harder here on some level. You have to have a car to get anywhere and getting one thing done that could take no time at all in the big city can take twice as long if not all day. As an artist it feels great to make art in an atmosphere of beauty and quiet, but since its a small area trying to sell the art becomes a mathematical koan.
I think people on an unconscious level get drawn to things in life. To people, locations. There is energy wafting around out there that we cannot see, and like the aroma of a delicious meal, we are drawn to those situations or people to get the nutrients in life that will carry us on or build us up in order to experience the next thing. Stop and think about what led you to where you are now, I'm sure many people are living in places they never imagined they would but one day they landed there and that's where they 'took'. The food, the terrain, the weather and yes, the people...all have a collective energetic field that either draw us in or repel us so we move onward. (I think I ended this awkwardly...kind of had two things going on at once, so forgive my straying)
Sunday Scribblings #62
Every puzzle mask I have made has felt like a living being that I have given reiki energy to. My hands rest on them, cupping the cheeks, passing over the forehead. I often turn the piece upside down and instantly feel I am working on a client. My fingers holding some of the puzzle pieces for minutes at a time when placed in strategic areas that need to 'set' completely before I let go or else they totter off into my lap or the floor. When I am at an impasse, afraid or unsure of the direction and shape to give it I will hold it. Rest my palms on it and feel a love and connection. Yes, to old jigsaw pieces. I connect to it and feel as close to it as I have a person. I have yet to experience that with any of the other mediums I work with. Its a loving feeling and it is give and take. The Mystic was the first piece that had a hold of me. It felt powerful and insisted I take my time with it. It called to me often in the middle of the night to work on it. Up I would get...3 or 4 am...work near the upstairs window when no visitors were here and watch the sun rise and feel tears of joy come to me as I slowly glued one piece at a time.
This might sound hokey or even nuts, but I kid you not about any of this. The other piece that had even more power was 'The Birch Geisha'. I could almost hear her hissing at me for attention once she was completed and up in the tiny hallway in the staircase (my only place to really hang work and see how it looks). Currently my three dimensional puzzle sculpture holds the record for the most amount of heat I have felt coming from my hands when I rest them on the head. Sometimes I just hold my hands there, not even gluing or working on it in any way. It just feels good.
My masks are mysterious to me and even though I know there is no one behind them, I truly believe there is an energy within them ~ these are warrior masks....they are made up energy from the previous puzzle puttertogetherers (huh?) , thousands of random jigsaw pieces from various puzzles touched by untold hands that are lastly and lovingly caressed by me.
Second chance. Just saying those words conjures up all the jobs and relationships I've ever had and how I needed several chances ~ if I only had a second chance I probably wouldn't be here right now.
Second chance. Those words also bestow a feeling of grace towards self and life. Most of us are so hard on ourselves, I know I am my own worst enemy. I scream at myself if I need a second chance. Anxiety has riddled gaping holes into my brain because what if I don't get a second chance....what if this is truly it??????
Second chance also seems dismal. Of course then you get the three strikes and you're out. But whats after that? Its a cliche that doesn't bode well in my mind. You get a zillion chances over and over. Each moment is another chance isn't it? That's all life is. My little dictionary says this: Chance: A possibility of something happening. An opportunity. The way in which things happen without any obvious plan or cause. A second chance is just the beginning, if someone or some situation doesn't give you a second chance then get the hell out of there!
It has been said many times, in many ways that we are all but a drop in the ocean. We are all the same, made up of the same things yet remain unique droplets in one large body of 'life' ie 'ocean'.
It wasn't until I started making art a few years ago that I began to realize that I was indeed a part of the ocean. I thought I was lake water at best, at worst, part of the sewer system. The ocean was 'out there' and made up of people that I didn't like, didn't trust and certainly didn't feel I would ever be a part of let alone accepted by. Large bodies of water scared me, you could get lost in there and lose your place couldn't you? You could sink, drown...disappear into darkness. I prefer mountains. I can hike in them and see where I have been, I don't get sea sick and the terrain changes often, while the ocean carries you where it may and you seemingly have little control.
Water is water. People are people. You cannot separate yourself from the whole. I have been hearing this but never comprehending or feeling it. I feel like I dunked myself into the ocean the first time I showed my art to people. I can connect to people through my art. It is my raft in the ocean that moves me through it, in it, and allows me to float and relax somewhat. Everyone is out there...holding on to whatever it is that gives them connection. They float by on their own unique rafts...some sink or get eaten by sharks...some get stung by jelly fish....some ride the waves and seemingly leave the ocean on their surfboards...but they too come crashing back into the water because all waves end at some point in time.
Life is a huge ocean filled to the brim with every imaginable thing ~ the impossibility of ever swimming through it all and seeing it all can sometimes be overwhelming. I guess all one can do is enjoy being in it and stop trying to get an aerial view and control where you want to go. Let the current take you where it will and just make sure you have the proper equipment to aide you in your journey. We are in the ocean, of the ocean and forever a part of what makes the ocean so full and vast. We are it and it is us.
In the Fall when the Monarch Butterflies came into town our backyard was filled with thousands of them and I would spend hours creeping up on them and ever so quietly, delicately grasping their seemingly weightless wings with my thumb and index finger and placing them on my arms or fingers just to watch them walk around. A shimmering chalky substance would be left on my fingers after having touched several of them in a day.
But I always noticed the torture a bug seemed to experience when you held it by its wings or when a wing was damaged. Seemed to me back then the bugs that had the hard shells as opposed to visible unprotected shells were able to recover magically when something happened to them, it might take awhile but sure enough they would disappear given time. The butterflies and moths were more exposed and obviously more vulnerable, their damaged wings eventually did them in.
I think people can fly too, it seems the ones that are 'lighter' in spirit go the furthest. Most people don't know how to fly or that they even can. Not everyone is encouraged to take flight into the world, but we are all capable once we realize we do have wings and can travel far once we learn how to use them.
So I left the midwest and went to Arizona. I had never lived on my own and before I yanked out my roots I made sure I had a u-haul full of seedlings to grow my new roots. The ground was dry. Roots were hard to grow. It took me almost two decades before I felt as if any of the roots 'took'. I moved half a dozen times to varied neighborhoods and never felt like I liked the soil around me. Maybe the point wasn't to have the roots grow and 'take'. I liked the sky. I wanted to be free and not have to yank out my roots anymore. Roots to me meant family. Possessions. Owning too many things. Establishing hearty relationships with people. Joining groups, having coworkers. None of that applied to me, or if it did, not for very long.
I yanked my shallow roots out again when I left Arizona (yeah you've all read it 20 times by now). I like to keep my roots in a glass water filled bowl. I don't want to plant them anymore. I want to be able to carry them with me without all the trauma of digging up the earth and severing delicate limbs. I don't even want to be buried when I die...I just don't want to be under the ground. Its heavy. Its dark. Old thick roots can strangle you down there.