The last few days have been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me. I’ve been on two dates which didn’t go anywhere, I’ve resigned from my job, I’ve started the Writing101 challenge, I’ve been to an Emerging Writers’ Festival event about writing the mind and body and that totally blew my mind and now I feel kind of limp and vaguely annoyed.
I don’t know quite how to describe what’s going on inside me at the moment. I feel like all of the work I’ve been doing on myself through this blog, through my life changes, through working with my psychologist, all of it is just spinning my wheels. I suppose I should give myself credit for stuff, it’s not likely to feel as though I’ve changed, from inside my own head, but I have made some pretty big steps towards a totally different life.
Occasionally I wonder what I’m doing, and by occasionally I mean all the time. Oh, and I just remembered I sent a piece on the Isla Vista killings to a big Australian newspaper group, who were very courteous but still rejected me, and to the university newspaper where I study who said they’ve already done something on the subject and the treatment was very similar (I didn’t think it was but who am I to say) and they suggested I take it to the campus magazine for one to the other campuses in Melbourne.
I feel like I’m in this transitional phase all the time, like I’ve made enough progress, I’ve changed enough that my old life seems wholly unsatisfactory, but haven’t been able to make enough in roads in my new life, writing, blogging, photography and the rest, to actually be able to live off that. But maybe it’s less to do with where I’m at and more to do with the industry. It’s highly competitive and supremely difficult to get any sort of regular paid work. As frustrating as that is, there’s not a lot I can do about that.
So now, well in a month, I’ll be floating without the secure tether of a permanent job in the ‘real world’. The concept is frightening. I hope that I’ve made the right decision. I mean I’m sure I have, the work I was doing and the organisation I was working for was creating a space in my brain were I was very unhappy. I felt like all the nurturing I was trying to do of my creativity and of other aspects of myself was being undermined by the fact that I had a job where I was underutilised, underdeveloped, undervalued and generally unhappy. And I won’t starve, I live in a country with some relatively good welfare payments (at the moment anyway) and it’s not that hard to get casual work (right? right?).
Trying to take a deep breath and just calm the fuck down after screwing myself up, after trying to build up the courage to leap from the safety of a job that was stable, but awful, to no job at all, is going to be hard. I’ve booked myself a trip to India in July and hopefully that will enable me to gain some perspective on things. Perspective on life, on Australia, on work, on art, on writing, on everything. I remember coming back from my last trip to the United States feeling renewed and hopeful.
The sad thing is that that feeling is so fleeting. I mean I should be grateful that feelings are as changeable as they are because it means I’ll never stay in a really dark place forever, but it makes it hard when that feeling of renewal is so temporary. Chasing that feeling starts to become like work.
I think a lot of people fall into the trap of thinking they’re unhappy because they’re bored. Or thinking they’re unhappy because it’s fashionable. They want to be someone they’re not; artists wish they were accountants with stable incomes and marketable skills, accountants wish they were artists, with the freedom to work for themselves and do whatever they felt like doing on any given day. There’s a lot of ‘grass is greenerism’ in our/my world.
I hope that I don’t spend my time feeling like that. I hope that what I’m doing with my life, this path I’m following, or attempting to follow, is something that brings me genuine enjoyment. I suppose it must be because I’ve been doing it for two and a half years without getting paid and I still do things like signing up to this daily blogging challenge.
I’m excited about the stuff that’s going to come out of this challenge. I’m almost finished uni for the semester (one essay to go, which I haven’t started but I have more than a week so it’s cool, maybe). It’s almost time to leave my ‘grown-up’ employers after two years. I have all of these plans for the future. All of these goals I want to achieve. I hope I can make a life out of the things I do here in this blog, even if I don’t make a living from them. I’ve even been applying for jobs that I would really love to do, writing and journalism type jobs, which I’m not really qualified for but which I certainly won’t get if I don’t even apply. I’ve applied to speak on panels at festivals, I’ve been performing my writing in front of audiences (which I’ve loved so much), I’ve been networking furiously and trying to make new contacts in the art world who will, if nothing else, nourish my mind and soul and allow me to exist in this world more authentically and with much more joy.