This spring I decided to operate under the premise of "Nothing ventured, Nothing gained". Which is a good motto for pushing yourself to try new things. Of course you can't get seated if you don't even put your name on the list. So, I put my name on the list.
Should I apply for an enormously large art show in December? One for which I'll have to travel to Chicago? Sure, why not. Bam! I got in.
Should I write a proposal and apply for a Jerome Project Grant even though I've never even written a proposal before? Yeah, I'll go for that. Why not. And again, bam! I got it.
I started to get cocky and began to feel that I could get anything I wanted if I just asked for it.
I discovered a part-time job opening with an intriguing description. I polished my resume and cover letter. I was certain that this job was perfect for me. The more I thought about it fitting into my life, the more I convinced myself that this job was Meant to Be.
But it was not.
I bombed the interview. Which I suppose can happen when it's been 15 years since your last job interview and you didn't prepare enough since you thought you had it in the bag. I waited for the call anyway, sure that it was going to happen. Everything was lining up for me. All I had to do was ask.
I waited and waited and finally got the call. But it wasn't the answer I wanted.
I had convinced myself so thoroughly that this was The Next Step in my life that when it didn’t happen I went through an incredibly emotional rough time. I felt rudderless and I floundered. What am I doing? Art and making are not a career. I need to get a real job. I need structure in my life, the feeling that I'm contributing to society and my family. I had always planned to be a working professional, after all. But I can’t get a job; I've been working for myself for too long and no one wants me. I must be a failure. I must be worthless. I'm never going to amount to anything.
For weeks I didn’t work. I stayed off of social media. I felt numb and had no energy; I slept a lot. I had a hard time picking myself up again and brushing myself off.
And then, I got another kick. The art piece I entered into the Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts competition didn't even make it past phase one of the selection process. And another: The oh-so-interesting job I applied for next didn't even call me for an interview. Oh man.
I discovered that getting a job (at least one you really want) isn’t so simple. And if I’m looking to get a job only because I think it’ll provide stability, I need to remember: making art takes bravery. It is about stepping into the unknown. And the only way out of the fear of the unknown, is through it.
I’m back to working in my studio again (in between summer camp drop-offs and managing three kids who are home for the summer). Some days it’s hard, but it feels good to be working. I've started researching for my grant. And I'm making items for my show.
Perhaps a new job isn't meant to be. Perhaps, instead, I’m meant to push myself through the hard times and create new art.
For now anyway.