Ruminations

Venus Revisited
“Duo” Oils on Canvas board

I got an email today from someone with whom I’d collaborated on a project, who mentioned that she lived for the weekend. She purchased a home two hours away from her work place, so her week nights were pretty much toast. I know what she means about living for the weekends. I’ve done it for many years, and may yet have to do it again. Certain circumstances have enabled me to cut down on my hours and let me give a massage practice a go, but I’m not generating enough of an income and will soon have to look into other alternatives (i.e., a ‘real’ job). I’ll admit that I’ve perhaps not been as pro-active as I could have been in developing my business(es), whether it’s my fledging massage business or my art biz aspirations… somehow it all seems so overwhelming, and I barely seem to muster up the energy to get through the week. Pretty sad, considering I’m only 40! I can’t figure out whether it’s a lack of motivation or a lack of know-how, or a combination of both. Well… factor in the ever-pervasive anemia, and that could explain the lackadaisical results.

I did the commute thing for a very long time, and in the end it took so much out of me that I wasn’t even able to enjoy much of the ‘fruits’ of my labor. I was constantly tired, deflated from a lack-luster job within a department that was rife with ‘personality conflicts’ (and some majorly psychotic people!), and was dealing with the stress of being the major bread winner as well as the “caretaker” of the family, because my husband couldn’t (or wouldn’t) contribute to the upkeep of our household in a consistent and meaningful way, which led to 2,000 square feet of home I began to resent being responsible for. I let finances slip and filled my ‘void’ with stuff. Once all was said and done, we proceeded with the forced sale of our home (to avoid foreclosure) which resulted with the loss of the home and my 10-year marriage, as my husband decided to bail. Irony of ironies, I now earn about half of what I used to then, pay about $700 more a month in combined rent (the apartment and storage unit) than I did then, have half the “real estate” to live in, and don’t own any of it. Am I ahead? I wonder.

My family is back together again, which is the most important thing, as far as I’m concerned, and I only have 1,000 square feet I need to worry about cleaning, instead of 2,000, which for the most part, my husband tacitly ignores, unless he happens to spill something (or run out of underwear) but I am once again largely responsible for the maintenance of our living quarters and everything that that implies. Granted, my commute is now only a maximum of 7 minutes long, and while, added up, I only work what would total three work days a week, I actually go to work four days a week, and on one of those days I do a ‘double shift,’ getting up at 5AM and sometimes don’t get home until 10PM.

In a perfect world? I’d have a perfect job (if there is such a thing) in which I would put to good use all of the administrative and organizational skills that I’ve accumulated over the years, and combine those skills with my art skills, whereby I put to use all of the latent creative gifts that I have, and produce some sort of ‘product’ that will either be marketable (i.e., someone will want to buy the product or service) or work for someone who will value all of my skills, and will be able to provide me with a position that enables me to exploit them, and will compensate me fairly for it (and by fairly I mean something that will allow me to live above the poverty line in the State of California, without having to resort to a heinous commute and cheap housing in BFE).

I’ve dabbled around in all sorts of mediums–paint (acrylic, oil and watercolor), sculpture (plaster, polymer, paper clay), jewelry making (Precious Metal Clay and various metalsmithing techniques), working with all things paper (rubberstamping, scrapbooking, bookmaking, book altering, drawing using various mediums (watercolor pencils, pastels of all kinds, charcoal, pencil, markers, pen and ink), collage (on paper and on canvas as well), printmaking, fiber arts (embroidery-silk ribbon, pulled-stitch, cross-stitch, hardanger, quilting, sewing), photography, and writing (poetry, prose, short stories and an attempt at a novel). I’d say that other than ceramics and more extensive glass exploration (I’ve taken a glass fusing workshop, and am now set up to do enamel on metal), I’ve pretty much run the gamut. There’s a voice that’s screaming to get out, but I just can’t seem to figure out HOW to liberate it. I like doing it all, mind you, which is probably why I stagnate, because I don’t spend enough time in any one medium to become an expert, but spend enough time in each to become conversant.

While I keep striving toward achieving a happy balance between a viable and satisfying career, a happy and fulfilling family life and a quality of life that will enable me to someday once again own a home close to where I work, plan for a secure retirement and not have any financial worries (doesn’t this sound an awful lot like “the American dream”?), I question if it will all fall into place at some point and become a reality. Am I aiming too high? I hear my mom’s voice echoing inside my head, saying “Be glad you have a hole in your butt.” Hmmm…

P.S. I *did* pull out my oil paints today. I’d purchased some Holbein “Duo” watersoluble oil paints a while back and hadn’t tried them. I haven’t painted in oils in many years (9 years, I’m guessing) and even then I had only painted two paintings, which were done in a class in which I had learn to paint wet-on-wet as per the guy on PBS with the big fuzzy hair (Ross something-or-other). Anyway, I didn’t like the consistency of the paint–it was dry and difficult to lay down on the canvas board, as well as hard to mix. The only good thing is that it did in fact wash off the brushes with water, and that it seemed to dry much faster than I remember. Okay, I’ve all but decided that I’ll be painting my three Women of Juarez contributions in acrylics. Now if I could only finish up my croquis.

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